Seasons affect the real estate market in more ways than one. From weather to holidays to the best time to buy a moving truck, there’s factors to consider when selling or buying a house in certain seasons.
Simply choosing the right season to list or buy a home can put you at a great advantage.
What’s the best time to sell a house? Let’s walk through the seasons—and determine the best time for buying, too!
Buy your first house with your eyes wide open
Outsmart the world’s most common financial trap! From BiggerPockets CEO Scott Trench and podcast co-host Mindy Jensen, learn how your home purchase can destroy your wealth… or generate even more.
From October through January, people are focused on the holidays—not buying houses. In fact, based on an ATTOM Data Solutions’ analysis, October is one of the slowest months of sales. This might drive you to lower your price, leading to less equity for you to walk away with.
However, people are always buying houses, especially serious homebuyers. If you find a serious homebuyer, you could close at a quicker pace than usual.
There’s also something magical about a house during the holidays. Think of the possibilities to decorate it for potential buyers—tastefully, of course.
If you are one of the few prioritizing moving over the holidays, then you might catch a deal! There’s less competition for you as the buyer. Plus, desperate sellers might lower their price in winter.
This all comes with the risk of attending showings and signing the papers in inclement weather.
Spring and summer
These months are some of the hottest—so whether you’re buying or selling, buckle up.
Many sellers wait until the spring to list their properties. This might mean more competition for you as inventory increases, but there’s also more buyers.
And more buyers can lead to competition for your individual property! Negotiations and bidding wars drive prices up, and that’s great for the seller. Chances are you won’t have to say yes to that first offer.
But this might mean buyers are pickier because they know there’s more houses they can buy during these seasons. In the summer specifically, buyers are extremely motivated—especially families with kids. Most moves happen during summer months since it’s the easiest time to move. Kids aren’t in school, you’re able to take off work, and it’s warmer weather.
With spring and summer, there’s more houses available for you to choose as the buyer. You won’t have to compromise as much on your wants. Plus, the weather will be beautiful—perfect for picturing yourself on the porch of your future house!
You won’t be the only buyer though. As listings increase, so do the number of potential buyers, which means competition can be fierce. You might find yourself in bidding wars or moving the process along more quickly than you anticipated.
Houses look beautiful against the changing colors of the leaves, but fall comes with fewer homebuyers as school starts back up and families settle into their routines. It’s less convenient for people to move.
Similar to winter, the lack of buyer interest might lead to you decreasing your property’s price. That being said, buyers in the fall are eager and motivated to finally settle their routine into a new home.
So what if you are the buyer? Does seasonality affect you, too?
Without a blazing sun or a snowdrift, fall can be a great time to move boxes and furniture into a new home.
The competition can be less because many families bought their homes in the summer market. You can find great deals as sellers lower the price from not being able to sell during the summer. However, there are fewer options for houses in the fall.
How to know when to sell
There’s two main questions to ask yourself when deciding if it’s the best time to sell your house—going beyond what the weather is like.
What’s your home equity?
The ability to walk away with equity in your pocket is one to be proud of! The changes in seasons could lead to you lowering your listing price (think: fall and winter).
On the flip side, seasons could lead to an offer higher than you originally thought, such as summer bidding wars over the perfect school district.
If you would make more money selling the home versus staying in the home, then it’s a great financial decision!
Consider also what your next step will be. Are you selling your current home to purchase another? Will you be able to quickly and easily find a new home to buy? Or is the market saturated with buyer competition? You don’t want to sell your house for a huge profit only to take out an even bigger mortgage than you planned.
Can you afford to sell and move?
Moving costs can range from $1,000-$3,000 when you hire professional movers. (Maybe more if the move isn’t local.) That’s a significant cost to consider when making the decision, especially if you aren’t walking away with as much equity as you thought.
Spring and summer months also come with higher moving costs because it’s the peak season for moving companies. Consider shopping around and planning your expenses ahead of time when considering moving your family.
Additional factors to consider
What if you’re buying an investment property and not a home for your family? There are additional factors to consider regarding seasonality.
Buy a property with a tenant(s)
You can often get a buy and hold property with a tenant and lease in place at the time of the purchase. This way it won’t matter if its winter. You already have a tenant and can start building equity on the home.
Don’t buy new construction
The temptation to buy new constructions exists in any season, but with spring and summer markets there’s more options, which could deter you from buying new.
With new construction, there’s potentially no costly repairs. But what if you go months without a tenant? You would still lose money. A rehabbed property would likely be just as updated, so significant repairs may not be a factor.
Plan ahead for the unexpected
The big takeaway is that you need to crunch numbers and look at job growth, location, and comps in relation to the season. Don’t just assume one season is the best for buying or selling. No one has a crystal ball, but the more educated you are, the better you can navigate your investment purchases.