Summer may be the busiest home buying season, but it’s not necessarily the best time of year to buy a home.
Sure, there are lots of houses on the market in the summer. But if you spent your summer sipping iced tea poolside instead of house hunting, or if the hustle and bustle of the summer real estate scramble left you without a place to call your own, you’re in luck: autumn isn’t just for cozy sweaters, apple-picking, and pumpkin-spice lattes. As it happens, fall is an excellent time of year to be looking for a home.
Starter Home Inventory Goes Up
Looking for your very first home? Then fall, not summer is the time to be house-hunting.
Housing inventory for lower-priced starter homes increases in the fall by about 7%, according to the folks at Trulia. In most places in the US, you’ll see more starter homes on the market in October than you will any other month of the year.
So if you spent the summer months scurrying from open house to open house without finding anything you liked and could afford, don’t despair. The best time of year to find an affordable home is usually not in the frenzied heat of summer, but in the cooler months of autumn. You’ll have more choices and more time to make your decision.
Home Sale Prices Begin to Drop
A funny thing happens when the weather begins to cool. While the listing prices for homes remain steady, the actual sale prices for homes start to go down.
On average, homes sell for about 2.6% below asking in October. While that may not sound like a lot, saving $6,500 on a home that would have cost $250,000 a few months prior is nothing to sneeze at.
Turns out, falling leaves and falling home prices go hand in hand. So that home you’ve had your eye on all summer? The one that’s just out of your price range? Now that the weather—and the harried summer real estate market—is beginning to cool a bit, you just might able to make a deal.
With nice weather, relaxed work schedules, and families hoping to settle into their new homes before the start of a new school year, summer months keep real estate professionals extra busy. And that means that by the time the calendar flips into autumn, many of the homebuyers who were shopping for homes over the summer have purchased a home already.
Many of the people who didn’t buy this summer will decide to sit out the fall and winter and resume their search in the spring. So if you’re willing to keep up your house search as the days shorten and the temperature drops, you’ll probably find fewer homebuyers competing for the listings available in your community.
Less competition means more leverage for homebuyers. You could get a lower price, a few extras included with the sale, or a more flexible move-in window. And as a bonus, your real estate agent will be less busy with other clients, which means she will probably have more time to offer you personalized attention as she guides you through your home search.
Sellers whose homes didn’t sell over the summer are usually exhausted. It’s stressful to sell a home. After a few months of running around and trying to find a buyer, many home sellers are very ready to make a deal once fall rolls around.
For fall homebuyers, that means chances are good a seller might be tempted to accept a lower offer if it means finalizing the sale before the end of the year. If the seller isn’t able to find a buyer this year, there can be some pretty significant tax ramifications come springtime.
Waiting longer to sell could also mean dealing with foul weather and upending holiday plans to meet with potential buyers. No one wants to be worried about showing their home and planning Thanksgiving dinner at the same time if they can avoid it.
We don’t suggest making any major purchases before you finalize your mortgage.
But once you’ve purchased your new home, chances are good that you’ll have a few things on your to-buy list. Luckily for fall homebuyers, Black Friday and Holiday deals on appliances and big-ticket items can mean serious savings for your new home. That washer and dryer combo or new refrigerator would cost much more if you needed to buy it in April than it’ll cost if you buy it at the end of the year.
Business slows down for contractors at the end of the year, too. So if your new home requires some professional TLC, you may be able to get a good deal on any needed home remodeling projects. Material costs are often lower in the fall and winter, and with fewer clients to service, contractors may be able to complete projects faster than they can in the spring or summer.
So don’t let the cooler weather slow down your home search: fall really might be the very best time of year to buy a home.
Ready to buy a home this fall? Getting pre-approved for your mortgage now can save you time and show sellers you’re a serious buyer. With Morty, you could have a mortgage pre-approval letter in-hand in less time that in takes to carve a pumpkin.