When you think about the most popular time people tend to move, late spring and summer are the seasons that immediately come to mind. The reasons for seasonal fluctuations in the housing market are varied, but weather, school, and holidays no doubt play a large role.
Because so many buyers are 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.
Buyers prefer to shop for houses in the summertime for a whole host of reasons. For example, they can move without worrying about interrupting their kids’ school or dealing with bad weather. However, these buyers might be missing out on the perks of buying in the fall or winter. Seattle has relatively mild winter seasons, so the colder months shouldn’t keep you from moving. You might also benefit from a slower-paced market in the hottest area for real estate in the country.
Regardless of when you’re looking to move, experts have opinions on what are considered the “best” and “worst” seasons, months, and even days for purchasing a home. Let’s review these pros and cons and figure out what will work best for your home-buying journey.
If you do decide to buy during the busiest real estate transfer months of the year, you have a lot to consider.
[Related: Guide to Buying a Home in Seattle]
Pros of Purchasing a Home in the Summer
Although it is the busiest and most competitive time to look for houses, you’ll have more of a selection to choose from in the summertime.
Say you’re looking for a particular style of home, in a specific neighborhood — you will definitely want to house-hunt during the time of year that gives you the most options, so you don’t have to count on being lucky.
If you’re willing to spend more, purchasing a home during the summertime might be more rewarding.
Cons of Purchasing a Home in the Summer
Remember, during the summer months, you’ll be going head-to-head with other eager buyers. Most of Seattle’s homes for sale go onto the market between April and July, kicking off the summer with plenty of options, but plenty of buyer competition as well.
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.
Purchasing a home in the summer can bring up some other expenses that are highest during these busier months. 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.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Moving to Seattle]
Pros of Purchasing a Home in the Winter
If you’re looking at the winter months to make your home purchase instead, here’s what to think about.
Prices Are Lower
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 also 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 seasons 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
Unsold Homes Have Reduced Prices
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 overpriced 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.
[Related: Guide for Renters Curious About Owning in Seattle]
Agents Need to Meet Their Goals
Real estate agents are going to be scrambling to make their sales goals by the end of the year, especially during these slow seasons, so they may be more open to negotiating closing costs.
Additionally, savvy buyers can purchase everything from new window installation to furniture more cheaply during seasonal winter sales, whereas these service and supply providers may hike their prices during summer.
Cons of Purchasing a Home in the Winter
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. If you’re looking for something particular, such as a certain style of home or one in a specific neighborhood, your options might be limited.
[Related: Guide to Closing Costs in Washington State]
What We Suggest: The Best Month to Buy a Home
Although January and February might give you the cheapest prices when purchasing a home, your options may be scarce. Choose a month in between peak seasons, such as September or October, when the market is cooling down cost- and competition-wise, but varied selections are still available.
The Best Day of the Week to Purchase a Home
We have the information that will help you decide what season, and maybe even what month might be the best for you to purchase a home — but does it matter which day you choose to make that purchase? Let’s just say you might want to change your attitude about Mondays.
According to RealtyTrac’s 15-year-long study of residential sales, Monday seems to be the best day to close on a home purchase. RealtyTrac reports that, “Out of 5.5 million single family home and condo sales over the last 15 years that closed on a Monday, buyers realized an average discount of 2.3 percent below full estimated market value at the time of sale.”
When it comes down to it, the perfect time to purchase a home ultimately depends on your personal circumstances, and of course local housing trends. Right now, Seattle’s housing market is strong and interest rates are low, so if purchasing a home is on the horizon for you and your family, start planning it out.
Seattle Mortgage Planners can help you with all aspects of completing your home purchase, from neighborhood research to applying for a loan as a first-time homebuyer, and everything in between. Contact us today and let’s get started!