When is the Best Season to Buy a Home?

Keep reading to discover the best season to buy a home.
Graphic Copyright : Alapon / 123rf.com

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may have read our latest Real Estate Market Report and been intimidated by what you saw. Prices are going up, up, up, and inventory keeps sinking lower every year. The strong buyer’s market of the Great Recession has come and gone, and now we’re sitting squarely in a market that favors sellers at nearly every price point.

Phew! That’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. 

The truth is, if you have your finances in order, you’re ready for a home, and you know how to make your offer stand out, this year could still be a very opportune time to buy.

Even with the conditions we’re seeing right now, the real estate market follows seasonal fluctuations each year. If you’re not ready to get in the game today, it could be worthwhile to line yourself up to jump in next season (or the one after), when the conditions are optimal for you. Keep reading to discover the best season to buy a home.

Buying a House in the Summer

According to Zillow’s research, “Late summer is the best season to buy a house if you want a shopping experience with enough inventory to find a home you love, while benefiting from sellers lowering prices before the fall.” For that reason, they say August is the best month to buy a home.

As we’ll see below, there’s a boom of houses entering the market in the spring, which carries through summer. Home sellers take advantage of the warm weather and long daylight hours to show off their homes’ outdoor features at their peak. Plus, summer vacation time can make it easier to tour properties at your ease. However, there are some challenges to buying in the summer, too.

PROS of Buying a House in the Summer:

  • If outdoor entertainment space is important to you, summer is the best time to see a home’s features in action. Curb appeal, patio space, and swimming pools are all great to view during the summer months.
  • With long days and warm evenings, it’s easier to view a home after work hours and still get the full experience.
  • If you’re moving, you can use your summer vacation time to explore your new city and find a home in the process.
  • With spring sales behind us, your agent can use that data to help you make the most competitive offer for that neighborhood.
  • Do you have kids in school? Summer is the best season to move with minimal disruption to their routine. Start your home search early in the season (or even in spring) to find a home, make an offer, and go through the closing process before the next school year begins.

CONS of Buying a House in the Summer:

  • We always look forward to slowing down during summer, but does that ever really happen? With vacations to plan and kids out of school, it could be difficult to see a home and make a competitive offer as quickly as is required in the current market.
  • After spring, summer is the busiest season for home buyers. Sure, there is more inventory on the market, but you’ll also have more competition for a home.
  • More competition also means you have less negotiating power. Sellers who have multiple offers to consider are less likely to accommodate your requests.
  • Professionals are busy with other home buyers, and they take vacations, too. You may end up paying a premium for home inspectors, surveyors, or other service professionals.

Ready to buy a home this summer? Read more: 

Buying a House in the Fall

Fall in the mountains is a magical time of year! Our mountains transform into vistas of red and gold, beckoning visitors to stay forever. Are you one of those out-of-town buyers who was wooed by the siren call of our leaf season?

Even if your purchase is less dependent on the scenery, fall offers many benefits for home buyers. Sellers whose homes have been on the market since the spring are more inclined to negotiate. There is still plenty of time to find a house and move in before the holidays. And competition is generally slower (in WNC, after the leaves have peaked). But depending on your needs, this could also be a tricky season to buy a home.

PROS of Buying a House in the Fall:

  • More buyers shop for homes in the spring, and fewer in the fall. Less competition means less pressure when making an offer. According to Zillow, “in November, just 15% of homes sold above asking price. The window between late fall and early winter is the best time for buyers on a budget.”
  • Sellers may be more eager to sell in the fall. According to MoneyWise, “Sellers are more willing to cut their prices … because they get nervous that they won’t be able to make a sale before the cold weather arrives and buyers go into hibernation.”
  • If the property you’re looking at has a lot of trees and landscaping, fall is a good time to assess the amount of care it will need.
  • In early fall, there is still plenty of daylight for after-work showings.
  • If you start early in the season, there is still plenty of time to find a home, buy, and move in before the holidays. 
  • The schedules of service professionals in many industries slow down in the fall, so you may be able to move quicker with any inspections or repairs needed.

CONS of Buying a House in the Fall:

  • Colder, wetter weather and busier schedules mean home shopping conditions are less ideal.
  • Even with fewer buyers, fewer homes on the market means you may still have heavy competition for good listings.
  • If you wait until later in the season, you won’t get a good feel for the curb appeal or outdoor entertainment features for the property. Plants will have lost their verdancy, and swimming pools will be closed for the season.
  • As the season progresses, there is less daylight for home viewings, and the probabilities of moving in by the end of the year decrease, as well.

Ready to buy a home this fall? Read more: 

Buying a House in the Winter

Winter is a complicated season for many industries, real estate included. Consider the way retail sales change in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day versus the winter weeks after. While real estate doesn’t follow that pattern per se, it is clearly impacted by the holidays. 

Many buyers who did not find a home in the fall will stop looking during the holidays when other activities become more important, meaning the least amount of competition all year. On the other hand, you’re also looking at the least amount of available options. And pending sales become more urgent if you need to finalize the purchase and be in the house in time for Christmas morning. 

PROS of Buying a House in the Winter:

  • Many buyers who had been in the market found their house earlier in the year. Others have temporarily stopped their search for the holidays. That means competition for homes is the lowest during these months. 
  • Extra days off around the holidays could give you the time you need to search, view, and lock in an offer on your ideal home.
  • Sellers whose homes have been on the market since the summer may be eager to sell quickly. This could give you negotiating power.
  • The single best day to buy a home is December 26, according to Attom Data. Almost no one is on the market, and sellers “are willing to give discounts below market value averaging 1.3%—potentially worth thousands of dollars.”
  • If winter-readiness is an important feature to you, this is the best time to see the property in action.
  • After New Year’s, you may want to take advantage of the new tax year (or last year’s year-end bonuses and payouts) by buying quickly.

CONS of Buying a House in the Winter:

  • Most of the houses that were going to sell listed earlier in the season and are now off the market. Some have come down temporarily for the holidays. New sellers are likely to wait until spring to list their home. Low inventory means considerably fewer choices.
  • Buyers who remain in the market are more serious and may be eager to buy. With fewer listings available, that could mean your offer needs to be more competitive.
  • Corporate relocation is most popular in January and February. If you are buying in a community that attracts those buyers, you could face more competition than you expect. 
  • Weather is at its worst during winter, which could make it difficult to see listings quickly. Once your purchase closes, moving in could be its own challenge.
  • Houses don’t tend to look as nice in winter. If you want to see what kind of landscaping is already in place, it may be better to wait until spring. In addition, “snow or ice could make it difficult to … do a thorough home inspection of some elements, such as a roof.”
  • Financing can be delayed by the holidays. Be prepared to build extra days into your closing.

Ready to buy a home this winter? Read more: 

Buying a House in the Spring

Across the nation, and especially here in WNC, the housing market blooms in the spring. After long, cold winter days cooped inside, it’s exciting to get out of your current home—permanently! 

Spring is a great season to buy a home, and sellers know this. According to Zillow, “Most listings hit the market in a short window between the months of April and June.” However, most buyers enter the market during that time, too, so your available inventory is tempered by the increase in other buyers. Competition in the spring can be fierce! Zillow research indicates that homes listed in the first half of May sell around 18.5 days faster and for 1% more. Have your finances in line so you can make an offer quickly.

PROS of Buying a House in the Spring:

  • If you expect to be a picky buyer, spring is the best time to find the perfect home. You’ll have the largest inventory of the year to choose from.
  • If you need to time your move with the school season, start your search now. Finding your home in the spring means you can close in time for summer break.
  • Good curb appeal is more evident in the spring.
  • If you are moving up, this is a great time to sell high and quickly. That leaves you in a good position to also find a new home while there are many listings available.

CONS of Buying a House in the Spring:

  • The largest number of buyers are looking for homes during the spring. With warmer weather and longer days, they are eager to get out and explore the market. This means more competition for you.
  • If price is important to you, spring is the worst time to buy. According to a Zillow analysis of 2016 listing and sales data, 26% of buyers paid above list price in April.
  • A busier real estate season means busier real estate professionals. Your agent, home inspectors, or any service professionals will have a full plate. You’ll need to budget additional time for any services you require during your due diligence period.
  • Spring is a great season for home renovations. If neighbors around a property take on major renovations or have spring events (like graduation parties), that may make it more difficult to park and view a home.

Ready to buy a home this spring? Read more: 

So, When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?

When it comes to buying a home, there are pros and cons for each season. Ultimately, the best time to buy a home is when you’re financially ready to do so. 

Your Beverly-Hanks agent will be able to help you find the right house for you and walk you through the closing process. If you’re on a strict timeline, he or she will help you make the quick decisions you need to stay on track. No matter the season, your agent will be by your side during the entire home buying process. 

Are you ready to begin? Start your home search today! 

All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, it’s important to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about buying homes and land in Western North Carolina.

One Response to “When is the Best Season to Buy a Home?”

  1. I think it’s great that you mentioned how sellers may be more open to negotiating with buyers during the winter if their home has been on the market for a long time. My wife and I have been interested in moving to an area that is close to where we work, but we need to find a home that is affordable since we plan on having our first child this winter. Maybe we should consider finding a seller that is willing to negotiate the price of their home.

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