Why You Should Buy a Home in the Fall or Winter

There’s no question that late spring and summer are the seasons when people start looking to move. There are many reasons for the seasonal fluctuations in the housing market, but weather, school and holidays no doubt play a role. Because there are so many buyers interested in buying their first homes during this season, demand goes up. Sellers can charge a premium price, even for properties in less desirable neighborhoods or questionable physical condition.

There is a host of reasons why buyers prefer to shop for houses in the summer. They can move without worrying about interrupting their kids’ school. There’s no concern about winter weather or tracking snow into houses. However, these buyers are missing out on the perks of buying in the fall or winter. Seattle has relatively mild winters, so you won’t have to worry too much about weather keeping you from moving. You can also benefit from a slower-paced market in the hottest area for real estate in the country.

Summer Sales Sizzle, but Winter Prices Are Nicer

If you decide to buy during the busiest real estate transfer months of the year, you have a lot to consider. First of all, you’ll be going head-to-head with other eager buyers. In a highly competitive market like Seattle, that can mean many weeks or even months of viewing homes and making offers without having an offer accepted. You should also be thinking about whether you want to pay a premium to move in the summer. Chances are, you’ll be paying more for a summer sale. Prices don’t seem to climb as much during the winter, although you may face some of the increase from summer.

Research looking at fluctuations in home sale prices over the seasons bears out this belief. In Dallas, for example, there is as much as a 12 percent difference in the price of similar homes between prime selling season in the summer and fall or winter sales. That 12 percent price difference could change how much money you can put down on a property, whether you need to buy mortgage insurance or even if you can afford a home in a particular neighborhood.

Sellers in Fall and Winter May Be More Motivated

Sometimes, sellers list their homes in the spring or summer, asking an offensively high price. They want to turn a great profit and move at their leisure. However, buyers may just pass over an over-priced home, leaving sellers to stew for months at all the showings but lack of offers they’re getting. That can mean that the price will end up slashed, allowing you to purchase a previously overpriced home for a more reasonable sum of money.

Of course, not all the homes on the fall and winter market are stuck there due to high prices. Studies have found that prices are lower in the winter and fall, but so is supply. Sellers who can wait for spring to list generally will, so buyers may have a harder time finding the perfect home. However, people lose jobs, accept new positions or even have a birth or death in the family that make moving necessary. Some people have to sell in the winter.

Other Perks to Fall and Winter Home Purchases

There are other expenses involved in moving that can get pretty high during the summer. From securing temporary housing to hiring movers, pricing tends to be premium when demand is at its highest. If you need repairs to the new home or to hire a crew to remodel certain spaces, you could end up waiting longer or paying more in the summer.

Savvy buyers can purchase everything from new window installation to furniture more cheaply during seasonal winter sales. Overall, waiting until winter or fall to buy and move could save you a lot of money.

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