Why Fall May be the Best Time to Buy a Home

October 18, 2017

The Spring/Summer real estate buying season is over. Does that mean that it’s time to abandon your homebuying plans, and wait for the next buying season next Spring? It could be a mistake if you do. That’s because fall maybe the best time to buy a home.

Here’s why.

The Spring/Summer Buying Season has Passed

During most years, the busiest time in the housing industry is spring and summer. There are good reasons for this. As the weather warms up in the spring, people are more interested in shopping for a home. After all, the long winter is over, and it’s finally safe to go outside.

The other big motivator during the twin seasons is the end of the school year. Since the school year ends in late May or early June in most areas, people are anxious to close on new homes during June, July, and August. A move during those months will avoid disrupting children’s school calendar.

And at the opposite end of the season, it also enables buyers to be in a home before the next school year starts. Perfect!

The twin motivations of warmer weather and school year concerns tend to bring out the largest number of prospective buyers than at other times of the year. After August, the buyer traffic dies down considerably.

And that’s when the housing pendulum starts to swing in your favor.

Sellers are Getting Nervous

Sellers are not unaware of the seasonal cycles in the real estate market. But this is even truer if they’ve had their home listed on the market during that busy season. If they come out of it without successfully selling the property, they start to get nervous.

If the home has been on the market for several months, it’s probably seen a price cut or two. It’s also just as likely that the sellers will be motivated. When you put in offers on homes, you’re likely to find sellers more receptive to lower price offers. They may even agree to terms, like seller paid closing costs, which they would never have considered during the busy season.

You can Take Your Time Looking

Since much of the buying public is beginning to settle in for the winter, you’ll find the market a lot less crowded. For that reason, you can take your time. You can look at more properties, and you can spend more time scrutinizing each one of them.

The timing factor also comes in handy when you want to put an offer in on a home. That’s because it’s much less likely that the property you are making an offer on will have multiple buyers lined up, also submitting offers.

If you’ve been through the multiple offer process, you know how frustrating it can be. Three or four buyers bidding on a property at the same time, which does two things – neither of which are in your favor:

  1. It increases the sale price of the home, as multiple buyers try to outbid each other, and
  2. It holds a strong possibility that you won’t be the winning bidder.

We can also throw in that multiple bidding situations are incredibly stressful. Either way, it’s a situation that’s best avoided. Now that the busy Spring/Summer buying season is over, you’ll have that opportunity.

You’re No Longer Competing with Summer Weather and Vacation Season

One of the complications that occur particularly during the summer season is vacations. Even though people are selling their homes, many still go away on vacation. This raises the possibility of complicated negotiations. After all, if the seller isn’t even in town, the entire process will take longer.

It’s also likely that sellers are less motivated around vacation time. For example, even if a person goes on vacation for just one week, the entire vacation process likely takes up at least three weeks. There’s the week before they go away when they’re preparing for the trip. Then there’s the week they’re away. And finally, it usually takes a full week after a vacation to get back into circulation.

If you’ve recently taken a vacation yourself, you’re probably well aware of that drill.

But what it means for a buyer, looking for a home during the summer months, is that each property seller is likely to be out of commission for vacation for about three weeks each. That can complicate the buying process, particularly in a very competitive market. Home sellers may not be interested in entertaining bids during that prolonged process.

Sellers are Anxious to “Get out Before the Holidays”

We’ve been talking so far about the Spring/Summer busy season in the housing market. But there’s another season that comes at the tail end of fall, and that’s the holiday season. From late November through early January, there are three consecutive major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

This is an extremely busy time of the year but in a very different way. Because it is so busy, at least on a personal level, people usually like to complete major transactions before the holidays even hit. That means that sellers are likely to be even more motivated in late fall, out of a desire to make their move before the holidays arrive.

Many will also be concerned that their home is sold by the holidays, fearful that it will continue to sit unsold during the long winter months.

This is a major advantage for you as a buyer. The holiday season tends to be the slowest time of the year in the real estate market. Both real estate agents and property sellers know this. If you’re qualified buyer, and you are looking for a home going into the late fall, you will have the upper hand in negotiations with many sellers.

So while everyone else is taking a break from the housing market, use the slower fall season as the time to make your move. There’ll be more property selection, less competition from other buyers, and a real opportunity to get a better deal on price.

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