Happy almost Fall!
For those not familiar with the cyclical nature of real-estate, home sales pick-up early in the calendar year and peak mid-summer. September typically sees a steep decline which drops to a low in January, only to start all over again. Folks usually want to sell in the spring when the weather is nicer, moving is easier, and families can make a move between school years.
Now this doesn’t mean that if you are looking to buy, that you must wait till Spring. In fact, buying during off-season months can give buyers the upper hand. Here are some reasons to consider a house hunt in the fall and winter months.
1) You have more time. We saw an incredible seller’s market in the spring/summer of 2019. Inventory continues to remain low, making buyers compete against one another for homes. Waiting till the off-season months may allow a more relaxed / non-competitive buying experience. Well-priced and nicely updated homes will continue to sell, but likely move a little more slowly and with less competition.
2) Sellers are more willing to negotiate. Fall and winter is when sellers start to feel a bit more desperate to sell their home. Any home that has sat on the market for over 30 days may have some wiggle room in price and even more so as we enter the slower months. Get comps of similar homes that have sold in the area (I can help with that!) and put together an offer. If at first you don’t succeed, you can try again!
3) Exterior flaws are more noticeable. It’s easier to pick up on foundation and other exterior issues as landscaping withers away. Obviously, this is only easier as long as there is no snow! Also in the colder months you can get a better sense for window and heating efficiency as well as see how well the utilities run in harsher conditions.
4) Less inventory = less to look at. Some would consider this a con, but you can also look at it positively. Making a decision on a new home can easily become an overwhelming experience when there are 100+ homes that match what you might be looking for. Obviously, if you have a very refined and specific set of criteria, and what you are looking for isn’t available, don’t settle for less… But in the fall, lower inventory could make your job easier when selecting from a possible list of 50 homes vs. 100 or more.