One of the most common questions we are asked is when is the best time to buy? The truth depends on your specific circumstance and goals. For those wanting the best “deal” or the instant equity Fall/Winter are typically seen as the best times to get a deal. There are, however, several downsides to buying in the Fall/Winter market. We’ve compiled a pro and con list below. If you’re having a hard time getting off the fence, call an *honest* professional realtor or lender and talk through your specific scenario. Having all the fact’s is key to helping you make an informed decision.
Pro’s To Buying in the Fall/Winter Market:
- More days on market equals more motivated seller’s. Typically properties sit longer in the fall and winter market due to less buyers, which allows for a better position for the buyer to negotiate closing costs.
- Better time to find investment/homes that need work. Seller’s in the fall and winter are not selling at an ideal time, which typically represents a higher level of motivation. When someone needs to sell for a certain reason (personal, financial, etc) they won’t always have the time or money to put towards renovations and upgrades. This can allow for not only a better deal, but also a home that can be personalized to your taste.
- Less competition. So many buyers have a tough time even competing for a home in the spring, especially if you’ll be utilizing FHA or VA loan programs, which a lot of times can be passed over for a Conventional loan during a multiple offer scenario. The fall and winter can allow for not only less buyers, but more time to make decisions, do inspections, making a better (and less stressful!) transaction overall.
- Plenty of time for remodel. For those clients buying an investment or sweat equity home, contractors will have more availability during this time of year as opposed to the spring and summer which is prime time for renovations. This can result in better pricing, and overall savings.
- Less inventory. The number one complaint of our fall and winter buyer is less homes to pick from. While this can be true, use this time to go through a lot of inventory, and help narrow the field. Once you’ve focused on your ideal area and must have’s, spring will be right around the corner and you will be poised for the market pick up.
- Fewer turn key properties. Turn key properties are those seller’s trying to maximize their return on investment, and therefore will be usually selling in the spring to get the most out of the market. A lot of clients have specific design idea’s for their new potential home, so use those out of date kitchen and bathrooms to get a better deal and hire a contractor to do the updates yourself. We have plenty of great contacts to recommend.
- More stressful time of year -Weather, Holidays, Moving. Hard to find a silver lining here so I’ll just give it to you straight- moving during the holidays and winter months is not ideal. Snow, ice, and wanting your home to be in full holiday decor but needing to pack- it’s a lot. I would make plenty of plans with family and friends and use their place to bring holiday cheer! Know that the sacrifice is worth the thousands you are saving from the spring market chaos.
- Tax returns. A lot of clients use their spring tax returns as part of the down payment or closing costs for their purchase, so buying in the fall and winter doesn’t allow for that extra cash on hand. Although this can be frustrating, you can always allocate those funds to a spring home project or your much needed furniture.
Since everyone’s specific situation will differ, do not hesitate to sit down with a professional and run some hypothetical’s with them. Most clients take months to save and search before buying, so it’s never too early to have these conversations. We always have time to grab a drink or coffee and help you get started on the journey to buying a home 🙂