There are two age-old questions that have perplexed home buyers since the beginning of time: what time of year is best to buy a home, and which is the worst? Statistically speaking, there are two days out of the year that are without a doubt the worst days to finalize a home sale, one month during which you should do your best to avoid closing, and two days that are so ideal for buyers that they might as well be the winter and summer solstices of home-buying.
There’s no feeling that quite matches the disappointment of buying something only to later learn that you could have gotten it at a reduced price or with greater ease. For some types of purchases, this type of buyer’s remorse may not be such a big deal; but when you’re purchasing a home it’s an entirely different story.
With this in mind, today’s article is going to deal with timing. Specifically, we’re going to be telling you how to avoid paying too much for a home or going through a needlessly troublesome closing process. By buying at the right time of year, you can save yourself a whole lot of money and a whole lot of trouble!
Buying a home during the spring
Spring is the biggest home sales season, but this also means greatly increased demand and thus limited supply. Due to the fact that the end of the school year is right around the corner, many families take this time to relocate to a more appealing school district. There are plenty of listings available, but competition is fierce for the best homes. Does this mean spring is the best time to buy a home? The answer is no. In fact, one of the worst months is in spring: May.
Many home buyers end up finding the home they’ll buy before the end of April, which means that May is often swamped with paperwork. With Memorial Day looming on the horizon, inspectors, mortgage clerks, title companies, and other officiaries are buried in work, which is made worse by the interruptions imposed by vacation days. This often results in postponements that can push back your closing day, messing up your loan paperwork, interest rate, and more.
The worst month also includes one of the worst days to buy a home: the last Friday of May itself. This dark day can be unbearably hectic, and the chances of closing on your new home are slim. Even if you do manage to get all of your paperwork “in a row”, every single person you interact with will likely be stressed out and substantially more difficult to work with.
Surprisingly, one of the best days for home buying is also in the spring: Easter! Easter is a good time to buy a house, and your chances of getting lucky and beating other homebuyers to market is greatly increased due to the vacation day! Easter falls sometime between March 22 and April 25, more specifically, the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical moon after the vernal equinox. Find out more real estate agent tips on Spring real estate marketing strategies.
Buying a home during the summer
The summer months are typically when residential listings start to plateau, as demand for homes in good school districts peaks. This can make it a difficult time to try and buy a home, especially if you waited for summer with the intention of moving while school is out. If you thought you were the first to think of it, we’ve got bad news for you; hundreds of other families had the same idea before it even entered your head.
Fourth of July is the second worst day to buy a home, as it’s another major holiday and many real estate agents will plan vacations for the early part of the summer as a reward for having made it through the insanity of spring home selling season. This will leave you high and dry as you desperately try to find a real estate agent to no avail.
While it may not be a primary concern, summer can also be a less-than-ideal time to buy a home due to the weather; as anyone who has moved during the summer can tell you, few things are as unpleasant as carrying box after heavy box in hot, sweaty sunlight! The bottom line here is this: if you find a good deal during the summer, go for it; if not, don’t over-exert yourself!
Buying a house during the fall
One of the best months for home buying is in the fall. October is actually surprisingly good for home sales, as homes that hit the market during this period are typically being put on the market by highly motivated sellers. By this time, most of the competition has dwindled to embers, and the market has usually shifted to favor buyers instead of sellers.
During the fall, curb appeal is at its peak in areas with appealing roadside scenery, and you can get an idea of normal traffic patterns once summer is over and done with. The fall is actually a great season to get a feel for a neighborhood and how it looks during the colder months and the warmer months alike.
The fall is also a good time to buy a home due to its proximity to tax return season. With a guaranteed windfall in the form of a check from the IRS, you’ll have a somewhat larger budget to work with, helping you with any unforeseen expenses or costly mishaps. Even if it’s not a particularly big return this year, extra money is always a positive in the world of real estate!
Buying a house during the winter
The very best day of the year to buy a home is Christmas Day. If you can find a motivated real estate agent, getting an offer in before the day is over is not outside the realm of possibility. If you pull it off, you’ll be well on your way to a successful closing day before New Years Day. People are in good moods, more inclined to be generous, and looking to sell before the end of the year.
Others may be busy “celebrating the holiday”, with their “family and loved ones”, but this just means that there’s less competition for you! Due to the fact that fewer buyers are out looking for real estate, you might even be able to put in a lowball offer and snag yourself a home for far below market value, netting you a much better Christmas gift than most can hope for!
If you’re thinking of buying a home during the winter and are planning to move your belongings with a rental truck, keep in mind the fact that roads in chillier regions will often be icy, dramatically increasing the danger of moving your belongings. If you aren’t confident in your ability to drive under these conditions, hire a professional!
On a final note, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that the information provided in this article is heavily generalized. While everything written in this article is based on thorough research, you will have to take into account inevitable variations from region to region. Ultimately, buying a home is entirely your decision; it’s up to you to decide when you do it!