Spring and summer are traditionally thought of as the busiest times in real estate. For-sale signs crop up like daffodils on lawns across the country. But buying or selling a home during the autumn and into winter can carry many advantages, too.
After all, people are always moving and deciding to buy or sell, no matter what season it is. The National Association of Realtors has found that fall is the best time to purchase a home. Sellers during this time may be weary if their homes have been on the market since summer and willing to take an offer.
“Homes sell every month of the year,” said Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “I continue to think fall is the greatest time to sell, and that means it’s also a good time to buy.”
And that’s particularly true in today’s inventory-challenged market, in which month after month for three years, numbers of homes for sale has declined. This trend has taken place while low interest rates and positive economic trends have made homeownership attractive to many buyers.
Larry “Boomer” Foster, also president of Long & Foster Real Estate, said fewer buyers are looking after the traditional start of the school year, and that could work to a buyer’s advantage.
“You don’t have as many people out there competing with you,” Foster said. “There’s still competition, but not as many people are out there vying for the same house, so you have a better chance of getting what you want.”
Sellers might have an easier time finding the right buyer during this time of year, because home shoppers are typically more motivated, and there are fewer who are looking just to look. “It’s a great time to have your house on the market, even after Thanksgiving,” Foster said.
In any season, buyers and sellers should rely on the expertise of a skilled real estate agent to handle all of the details and promote their clients’ best interests. During the fall and winter, it’s just as crucial to get a professional to position your home correctly in the market.
Foster said the perfect time for someone to buy a home is as soon as they are ready. Home prices are trending up, and so are mortgage interest rates. Therefore, the longer you wait, the more expensive your dream home could become in the future.
“If prices are going to continue to appreciate, and interest rates are going to continue to go up, which we think they will, now is a great time to get in,” Foster said. “In aggregate, you’ll pay less than even if you waited six months, because of price appreciation and rising interest rates.”