Most residential real estate agents regard the spring and summer as the prime home-buying seasons. In fact, it is not uncommon for sellers to take their homes off the market if they have not sold by September, the logic being that they do not want to incur having a “stale” listing.
Contrary to these commonalities, however, fall can be an excellent time to buy a home.
Market advantages for buyers
In autumn, buyers can take advantage of many market-related changes that occur during this season. For example, because spring is the ideal time to sell a house, the onset of fall can mean that a home was initially overpriced, thus the reason why it hasn’t sold for months. As a result, the seller may be more flexible in the price in order to sell it quicker. A seller may also be motivated to book a gain or a loss by the end of the calendar year for tax purposes or to deduct the entire amount of real estate taxes paid through year-end.
Additionally, if you are shopping outside the traditional spring and summer buying seasons, there are fewer people to compete against. With fall being the start of the holiday season and the mark of colder weather, many people are preoccupied with other priorities. Many sellers may not want to sustain the inconvenience of showing their home during the holidays either.
Autumn shows home flaws more
Besides the marketing aspect of the buying and selling process, there is a maintenance component that makes fall an excellent time to buy a home: The colder months reveal home flaws more readily than the spring and summer. Without the cover of shrubs, leaves and flowers, it is easier to carefully inspect a home for flaws and to look at sills, soffits and under eaves.
Drafts, leaks and cracks become more apparent during the wet and cold months as well. Combined with the more subdued appearance of landscape that is not in bloom, autumn and winter are simply drearier and homes do not command the same value they do during sunnier times.
More attention from agents and moving flexibility
One corollary to having fewer homebuyers in the market is that agents are far less busy and are hungrier for your business. An attentive, committed agent is more likely to focus on motivated sellers and achieving the best result for the buyer (unless they are a seller’s agent). Getting more attention from agents can unearth pocket listings and help you stay updated on price changes so that you may get an off-market opportunity before it hits the MLS (multiple listing service).
In the fall, a buyer might also be able to negotiate a more flexible schedule for moving in. This might come in handy if you have a house to sell or if you want to push your move-in date out past the holidays so you don’t have to be concerned with packing and storage during the busy season.
Holiday sales on furnishings
Aside from all the extra attention you’ll get from your agent, buying a home late in the year allows you to shop year-end sales for deep discounts on home furnishings. Furnishing a home can be very expensive, particularly if you are transitioning from an apartment or a smaller home, and the expense is often overlooked by buyers. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are eating noodles on the floor and sitting on milk crates for months after you close! To avoid this fate, timing your home-buying in the fall will allow you to take advantage of sales and help you save more money.
At First Centennial Mortgage, we provide home loans of all types to new and experienced borrowers alike. We are dedicated to you regardless of what season you plan to buy a home, and we look forward to working with you.