When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Home?

Generally speaking, spring and summer are thought to be the best times to buy a home. Conversely, the prime time to sell a house is in the fall or winter. But is that truly the case?

Does that ring true for every region in this vast country? When the numbers are evaluated, the facts reflect that not all home purchases can be categorized in such simple terms.

Perhaps the better question is: What is most important to the buyer: variety, time, or price?

Variety comes with a price

If variety is the main focus, spring wins hands down in every part of the country. There is one major contributing reason for the huge influx of homes on the market in spring and that is summed-up in one word: school. Families shun moving in the middle of a school year. Besides not wanting to disrupt classes and activities, there is more time in the summer for packing and moving in a busy family’s schedule.

Unfortunately, variety comes with a price. People who buy in spring pay at least 1.2% more than the current market value of a home. With multiple buyers looking at homes, there are often bidding wars for that one desired house. This puts the seller at an advantage while putting all the stress on the buyer to get that home quickly while it’s still available.

Time is on your side

The time factor can be played out in a couple of different ways. Do you have a deadline to purchase a home? If your home purchase is due to a job transfer or some other life-changing event, then you would be at the mercy of the season, unless you were able to rent temporarily.

On the other hand, if you are simply ready to buy that home, but you don’t have to be in it on any certain date, then you clearly have the advantage. You can simply wait for the house in the area you desire for the price you want. The only factors that would dictate your decision would be interest rates and market fluctuation.

Galaxy Lending Group is an excellent resource to help you make that determination. With decades of combined experience, their counselors are on top of the current market changes and can help you to lock into the best rate prior to finding that home. Having a strong pre-approved mortgage going into a house purchase can give a needed edge even when the competition is furious.

Wait for the price to be in season

If your top priority is getting the best deal for the money spent, then region, season, and preparation come into play. The region of the country where a home is located does make a difference as to when you will get the best price. For instance, Arizona’s slow season is in the summer since snow birds head to the cooler climates; yet, in the northern states, fall and winter are the months with the least amount of inventory. When the local market is slow, the choices may not be available, but homeowners are more willing to work with the purchaser.

Off-peak season listings do not necessarily translate to undesirable properties. Many wonderful homes go on the market due to some urgent event such as a job transfer, divorce, or family death. These sellers would be relieved to know a viable buyer is interested, and are often more than willing to negotiate for a quick sale.

Recently, Realty Trak reviewed 32 million home and condo sales over 15 years and found that, in October, a home-buyer will pay about 2.6% less than the current market value on a house. In fact, October 8th was the best day overall to close. For a $300,000 house, that is a $7800 savings. Yet only 8.4% of closings are in October, showing that significant savings are waiting for those who are willing to hold out for the best deal.

Closing the deal

When closing that deal, there is no greater significant detail than being able to close quickly. No one likes to add more stress onto an already cumbersome ordeal. This is where preparation comes into play. Delays incurred due to financial shortcomings can easily be avoided with some mortgage counseling done well before looking at the first listing. Knowing what your financial threshold is and avoiding some of the pitfalls that are made when in the process of buying can save everyone involved a lot of stress.

A few things a buyer should keep in mind are:

  • Get a pre-approved mortgage
  • Understand what your payment will be with taxes and insurance
  • Have an insurance company lined-up
  • Don’t spend a lot of money prior to closing
    • For example, resist the temptation to buy the new furniture prior to buying the house

If you’re purchasing in Arizona, Oregon, or Washington, Galaxy Lending Group, with our excellent team of advisors, will be happy to help you get on the road to successfully closing on that perfect home.