The Often-Overlooked Perks of Low Season
As the temperature cools off, so does all the heat generated by the summer selling season. But, just because it’s no longer the busiest time of year in the housing market doesn’t mean your best chance to buy or sell a home has passed. Each season offers its own advantages to buyers and sellers, and fall and winter are no exception. For example, one of the biggest and most obvious benefits to buyers is a drop in home prices as the year closes out.
"Over the last decade, the median home price on average falls close to 10% from its peak in June to its seasonal low in January of the following year,” says Ruben Gonzalez, Keller Williams Realty International’s chief economist. “On a median-priced home, you could be saving more than $30,000 if you're willing to deal with less choices in the second half of the year.”
Whether you’re selling or buying, there are plenty of reasons to enter into the less competitive market of fall and winter. Here are two benefits for buyers and three for sellers.
Two Reasons to Buy Your Home This Fall or Winter
1. Lower Prices.
As the mercury dips, so do home prices, which typically reach their lowest point from their summer highs in January. When median prices are lower, it’s easier to get a better deal if you’re buying a home, and your purchasing power extends further too. For example, if a home outside your price range didn’t sell this summer, its listing price might decrease come fall, dropping it into your budget. As long as you’re willing to search for a home during this time, you can end up saving big time on your new purchase. And, for first-time home buyers, the house hunting process might seem less intimidating without the premium price tags the summer market supports.
2. Less Competition.
Many buyers time their purchases to take place over the summer so the family can get settled into their new home before the next school year starts, which is a big reason you’ll be facing fewer fellow buyers in the fall and winter. And since multiple-offer scenarios seem to have become the rule rather than the exception, fewer buyers means you’re less likely to run into a situation in which you’re wrangling against others to offer the best deal – and also more likely to have your first offer accepted.
Three Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall or Winter
1. Motivated Buyers.
While there may be fewer home buyers overall in the fall and winter, the buyers who are shopping around this time of year are typically more motivated. Maybe they’re ending a lease, starting a new job, or relocating to be near family, but whatever the reason, these buyers are probably not just window-shopping, and therefore more likely to make an offer on your home – and a compelling one at that.
2. A Chance To Showcase Energy Efficiency.
Frosty temps offer you the opportunity to show off how your home can become a warm haven in the middle of winter weather. Today’s buyers prioritize energy efficiency, so make sure to demonstrate how your house holds the heat in. Does your home err on the drafty side? There’s an array of fixes to improve your home’s energy efficiency, from shoring up insulation to running fans clockwise to installing a smart thermostat. If you’re worried your home isn’t up to snuff in this regard, chat with a real estate agent for expert advice on what improvement might work best for your home and market.
3. A Quicker Closing Timeline.
Fewer homes on the market translates to fewer transactions overall, so mortgage brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, and title companies are typically less busy this time of year. With more breathing space on everyone’s calendars, all the paperwork and steps that make up the financing process can be completed more expediently, which means everyone reaches the closing table sooner. And, crucially for sellers, this also lessens the chance that the deal could fall apart because the lender can’t close on the loan by the deadline.