If you are a homebuyer, the best time of year to go house shopping is when demand – and prices – are lower. If you are a seller, the best time of year to put your home on the market might be during the months of high demand. However, exceptions can exist for every rule, and the overall demand for housing, average home sales price, and the rental housing market in your specific area can cause fluctuations in demand and options.
Best Months for Selling a Home
The busiest time of the year for home purchases is typically in the spring or summer months. School is out, weather is nice for moving, and most people find making a major change in location easier during this time of year. This means demand goes up, and sellers have a chance of seeing competing offers for their homes.
Average home sales prices typically peak in May, so trying to put your house on the market right before the jump is probably your best option. Your home insurance agent can help you determine the best starting price, and advise you as to how much wiggle room you have to negotiate. An open house or two can spark interest.
If you are selling in the spring or summer, make sure you focus in on curb appeal. Be vigilant about pest control, and look for ways to increase the attractiveness of your home for those who may be moving because of the desire to be close to schools, work, or medical facilities. Highlight public transportation and other amenities to sweeten the pot.
Best Months for Buying a Home
Winter months can be optimal for home buyers, especially if there is flexibility in final exact location, and there is no pressing need to finalize a purchase and move. It’s a buyer’s market when demand for homes is lower, and prices tend to slide during winter months when sellers become motivated to get out from under a second mortgage.
Since many buyers will be waiting until spring or summer to look for a new home, you’ll see less competition for the house you want and there will be less chance of a bidding war starting that could inflate the price, you’ll be able to come in with a counter offer and have a higher likelihood of it being accepted. In addition, it’s easier in some areas in the winter to spot small imperfections in a home or its landscaping, and that can bring prices down as well.
You may also be able to reduce moving costs by making your home purchase in off season – many moving companies and brokers become overloaded in the spring and summer, and prices go up. In the winter, you can negotiate a fairer rate for moving trucks and assistance.
Whether you are buying or selling, knowing the local neighborhood and the current state of the real estate market can help you in your mission. When it comes to home sales or purchases, timing can be everything.