When is the best time of year to buy a house? That depends on your priorities. Are you hungry for the best selection? Would you rather avoid the competitive craziness that comes with so many aspiring buyers shopping at once? Are you hoping to strike a bargain with a seller who is eager to make a deal? The timing of your foray into the real estate market will likely have a major impact on your shopping experience, so why not choose a time that will suit your preferences?
When Is the Best Time of Year to Buy a House?
Every housing market has its quirks. In addition, locales that experience all four seasons are far more likely to be affected by the time of year than areas with more consistent climates. However, real estate pros have noted certain trends. When is the best time of year to buy a house? To answer that question, think about the type of shopping environment you favor. Then, choose accordingly.
For the Best Selection
Few homeowners just want to buy a house. Most want to buy the house that fits their unique list of wants, needs, and preferences. When there are more homes on the market, you have more homes to choose from, which increases your odds of finding a home that ticks all the boxes on your personal list.
For the best selection, spring is the best time to shop for a home. As Good Housekeeping explains, sellers of single-family homes are often parents who want to be resettled before school resumes in the fall, so listings typically start to pick up in February and March. Ultimately, the largest selection of new listings will be found in the period stretching from March to July. However, this healthy selection and the accompanying warm weather (which makes the work of shopping for homes more pleasant) means that there will be lots of buyers shopping during this period. You’ll get a great selection, but you’ll face a lot of competition, and finding a bargain is unlikely. In fact, the percentage of homes sold for at or above their asking price tends to be at its highest in the spring.
For the Best Bargains
Are you a bargain hunter who shudders at the thought of paying full price for a home? Do you prefer to have a bit of time to think things through before making big decisions? In that case, you may find winter a more appealing time to shop for a home. Yes, the selection may be more limited. However, as Mashvisor reports, shopping for a home during the cooler months offers some fantastic perks:
- Sellers are motivated. People who put their properties on the market during the winter often want a quick sale. Many are willing to negotiate.
- There’s less competition. With fewer buyers actively searching, there’s less pressure to act quickly to snag a home. It also tends to be easier to secure a lower price.
- Realtors aren’t as busy. With fewer clients to juggle, your real estate agent has more time and energy to devote to guiding your home search.
- Lenders aren’t as busy. As home sales slow, the demand for loans falls. These slower periods can sometimes translate into lower rates for borrowers.
- You’ll be able to see how the home handles bad weather. Issues that are invisible under sunny skies often become obvious when the weather turns cold or snowy. Buying during the winter gives you a chance to see how the home handles climate challenges.
For a Balanced Approach
If you want both a healthy selection and a solid chance at a bargain price, your best bet is to shop in late summer. As MoneyWise notes, the inventory of homes for sale will be lower, but it still tends to be sizeable at this point in the year. Meanwhile, the number of buyers has generally dropped, so there’s less competition. Plus, many sellers are growing worried that their home won’t sell before the holiday season and winter cold slow home sales. If you shop for homes while students and their parents are hitting the back-to-school sales, you’ll likely find several properties to choose from and sellers who are willing to consider a reasonable offer.