You’ve got your financing in order, and you have an idea of what you want. Now all you need is to find your dream home and you’ll be set to move. But when is the best time of year to buy a house?
SPRING AND SUMMER
Spring and summer are considered the best time to buy a house when it comes to the number of listings on the market. However, there are a variety of factors to consider when buying during these seasons.
Pros of spring home buying
- Curb appeal at its best
Yards tend to look their best during spring and early summer, putting most homes’ curb appeal at its peak. Gardens are in bloom, trees have new leaves and everything outside looks wonderful. You’ll see your potential home in its best light.
- Best time to switch schools
Families with young children generally like to move after school lets out for the year. Putting a house on the market in spring or summer helps facilitate this desire. If you have children, moving during this time gives them the advantage of avoiding the “new kid” label at school.
- Large number of homes for sale
Generally, this is the time when the market is flooded with homes for sale. If you want a selection, this is the time to buy.
Cons of spring home buying
- Don’t blink or it’s gone
Homes tend to move quickly in spring and summer. Buying a home is a big decision, but if you’re in a hot market where homes are moving quickly, you’ll have to be prepared to move quickly or you might lose out on some homes.
- Selling a home can be difficult
If you’re selling your home in tandem with making a home purchase, your home will be competing with many other homes for sale, which puts added stress on the sale. If your new purchase is contingent upon selling your home first, the stress is even greater.
- Competitive home prices
An influx of houses on the market creates competitive prices. You may find yourself in a bidding war for a home if it has wide appeal.
While spring and summer are undeniably the best times to find the most homes on the market, “off-peak” times (usually November through February) have their own benefits as well.
Pros of winter home buying
- Lower selling prices
Because most people do not want to make purchases during this time of year, listings tend to be cheaper. In fact, houses tend to be 8.4% cheaper during January and February.
- Higher bidding power
On average, houses are on the market the longest in January. Eager sellers will be more likely to accept lower offers.
- Lower moving costs
Not only does the winter usher in lower home prices, but in many cases, it offers lower moving costs as well. The price for professional movers tends to be cheaper in the winter months when business is slow.
- Good time to make school transitions
Families with children will find that transitioning schools during winter is the second-best time of year to make a new start. January marks the beginning of a new school semester and is a good time to make an appearance.
Cons of winter home buying
- Fewer homes on the market
A homebuyer’s choice of homes can be half of what it is during the spring and summer months. This can be a deterrent for picky buyers or those who want to have a wide selection.
- Holiday blues
A new home can be a nice holiday treat or it can be a nightmare. Some homeowners see a new home purchased during the holidays as a wonderful present. Others cannot see past all the unpacked boxes or the fact that holiday decorations may have to be put on hold because of the upheaval of moving.
- Curb appeal at its worst
While some yards look good year round, most don’t. Those buying in the winter months – when trees and gardens are barren – will have to use a bit of visualization to picture the homes full potential.
Knowing the pros and cons of each real estate season should help you evaluate your needs against what the market has to offer. However, considering the best time of year to buy a house is just one factor. Other points to consider include the current status of the housing market and your financial stability.