The Best Time of Year to Buy A Home
Pros and cons for each season.
The best time of year to buy a home is dependent on many factors. The market may be bigger in summer, but it will be cheaper in winter. There are also personal factors, such as wanting to get into a new home before your kids go back to school or needing to move closer to a love one as soon as possible. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of buying a house during each season, so you can decide when the best time of year is for you to buy a house.
- Price – Winter is often the cheapest time of year to purchase a home. It’s slower than other times of the year, so realtors and sellers are more open to negotiating costs and benefits in your favor in order to make the sale.
- Quicker closing process – Since there are fewer applications to process during the winter season, real estate professionals are more accessible, lenders process fewer applications, and inspectors have less backlog. This all leads to an overall quicker closing process than normal.
- Fewer options – Homes are cheaper in the winter because there are fewer on the market and fewer people are looking. Many sellers suspend their listings from around Thanksgiving to after the New Year. This means you may not have as much of a chance to find your “dream home” given the fewer options available.
- House-hunting conditions aren’t ideal – Depending on what part of the country you’re in, the winter means you’ll be searching in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Your inspector may have a harder time determining the condition of the roof if it’s covered in snow and they may not be able to test the AC unit. There are fewer open houses and it’s harder to gauge how the home will normally look in certain areas, such as the amount of natural light the house will get and how the landscaping looks.
- Plenty of choices – Once the weather starts to warm up, sellers and buyers come out in droves, creating a healthy market. This means there are plenty of options, allowing you to be picky in your wants for your future home.
- Ideal schedule – Once you find your dream home, you’ll have plenty of time to settle in before your kids start the next school year. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of spring furniture sales, such as Memorial Day sales, to furnish your new home. And you’ll be able to spend the warm summer months in your new home, rather than still searching or packing your old house.
- Homes look great – Springtime is when homes look the most beautiful and you get to see them at their peak. You’ll get a feel for how the yard looks during the warm months when you’ll be spending a lot of time there. The days are getting longer, so you can get a good idea of how the natural sunlight hits the house at different times of the day.
- Competition – The real estate market tends to meet demand, so when there are lots of sellers, there are lots of buyers. This means there will be competition when searching for your dream home and you’ll need to be strategic to ensure you secure the home against other applicants.
- Higher prices – With more competition, sellers are allowed to raise the prices to get the most for their homes. Spring is normally when sellers will price their homes the highest, with the anticipation that they’ll lower them as the year goes on. Since spring is such a popular time to buy a home, bidding wars tend to break out and you may even pay above market price to get the home of your dreams.
- Good timing – Summer is still the busy buying season, which means if you need to sell your current home before you buy a new one, you’re more likely to be able to time your sale and purchase together and make a seamless transition from one home to another.
- Price – Towards the end of summer, the market starts to slow down. Kids are heading back to school, so not as many people are buying homes, forcing the sellers to lower their prices. Late summer is also a great opportunity to find deals on homes that may have been out of your price range originally. Buyers back out all the time, leaving the seller to lower the price in the less competitive market.
- Price – This season has differing pricing within the season. If you’re able to wait until the end of summer, you can score some deals. But if you’re trying to move before your kids start school, you’ll be in the same boat as the majority of other buyers, meaning you’ll pay top dollar and need to move quickly with your offer.
- Location matters – As with winter in other parts of the country, summer can be a miserable time to go house hunting in places such as The South or Arizona. Temperatures and humidity will be at a high, making open houses a dread and potentially making you let some things slide in an effort to just get the process over with.
- Price – With the threat of winter coming, sellers get nervous that they won’t be able to make a sale before the cold weather arrives, prompting them to make more drastic price cuts in order to secure a sale. You’ll be more likely to be able to bargain with the seller since they’re getting desperate to close the sale.
- Still plenty of options – You’ll be able to find plenty of homes still on the market, plus less competition! Since most people wanted to buy a home before school started, waiting until after school is in session eliminates a lot of buyers that could potentially take your dream home. But it’s not quite winter, so sellers haven’t started suspending their homes yet.
- Timing isn’t ideal – There’s a reason why the prices start lowering after school starts; you don’t want to have to move and uproot your family just as they’re getting settled into the new year. Your kids won’t be able to take time off school, so the move will most likely occur over a weekend and leave you and your family to unpack slowly over weeks or months as you find time after school and work.
Best Days to Buy a Home
Even within the seasons, there are better days to buy than others. During a given week, Mondays and Fridays are the best days to make an offer, according to a study from RealtyTrac, because those are when buyers see the greatest discount offered (around 2%) compared to other weekdays.
Holidays are also great times to submit an offer on a home since most people aren’t thinking about making a purchase on Christmas or Mother’s Day. This means the competition is very low and you’ll have a better chance of closing the deal with little to no other buyers competing.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are pros and cons to every time of the year to buy a home. If you’re looking to get the best bargain, then the Winter months will be your best time. If you want the widest selection of homes, Spring and Summer will be the optimal times. Whenever you choose to buy, Galaxy Lending Group is here to help you finance your dream home.