A new home is the biggest purchase that many Americans will make, but when to buy is often as important as what you’re buying. Like almost any commodity, whether it’s automobiles or fresh produce, the housing market changes seasonally throughout the year. Although your house hunt may already be underway, there are many reasons you should consider waiting until the fall season before signing that purchase agreement.
As someone who unintentionally ended up buying a new home in the fall, I was able to take advantage of the season without even realizing it. Like many buyers, I had planned on buying in the summer, eventually settling on a home in early August. As luck would have it, our offer was declined, and the house I’d had my eyes set on was pulled off the market. Dragging on into September and October, I stumbled onto a great home in Lenox, MA which was selling at an incredible price.
With the closing happening in November, I found myself astonished at the final price and the lack of competition. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that Fall is almost always an off-peak time of the year for home sales. Not only are the majority of homes are bought in Spring and Summer, Forbes magazine recently recommended that sellers put their homes on the market even earlier than that.
Because there are fewer buyers in fall, there’s less competition for those seeking to buy a new home. That means less chance that your dream house will be snatched away at the last second, or that you’ll be outbid if someone else makes an offer on the same home. It also means that sellers, who typically want to sell their house as soon as possible, may be willing to drop prices in order to attract the few buyers who are still actively seeking to purchase in the fall.
So why are there fewer home sales in fall anyway? Winter is likely a big factor. Moving from one town to another during chilly November and December days in New England, the season put an extra strain our transition. I can attest to the difficulties of winter moving, from dealing with less available contractors during the holiday season, to the hassle of extra heating costs. Of course, moving heavy boxes in the snow is no picnic either.
Although making the big move may not be any easier in the fall or the cold months which follow, the benefits of home buying in the fall outweighed the drawbacks in our case. The home we bought had been on the market throughout that year’s summer and spring. Homes which aren’t sold during those peak seasons may see reductions in price by motivated sellers, leaving incredible bargains to be found for fall buyers. The money you’ll save buying in the Fall will make it all worthwhile once winter comes.