Pros and Cons of Homebuying in Each Season
The housing market, like most things, is influenced by cyclical changes. It's affected by the job market, financial markets, interest rates, and the local economy. But there are also seasonal shifts that impact the home buying process, including the price you pay for your new home. Here's a look at the potential pros and cons of house-hunting in each season.
PROS OF BUYING IN THE FALL:
- While home inventory isn't as high as in spring, there's still enough selection. And sellers are more motivated as the year draws to a close. You might score a real deal.
- You can take advantage of homeowner tax breaks. Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year's worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December.
- The weather is great. With a mixture of warm and cool days, you'll see a home under a variety of circumstances as you journey through the buying process.
CONS OF BUYING IN THE FALL:
- Fewer hours of daylight means less time to view properties before dark obscures the exterior. You may have to block out time on weekends for house-hunting efforts.
- Cooler weather can bring higher utilities bills. With all the other costs associated with buying and moving, you may also experience the first of your new home's highest expenses of the year. And, if you're buying a fixer-upper, the investment curve on improvements could be steep. A new roof really can't wait until spring. Be prepared to continue spending for a few months after you close.
PROS OF BUYING IN THE WINTER:
- With impending holidays and poor weather conditions, people take time off from house-hunting, resuming again in Spring. Less competition means sellers are motivated. You'll get more focused treatment, and a more flexible price, if a house remains on the market over the holidays.
- This is the slow season, so REALTORS® have more time to dedicate to you. You'll get more attention and better service.
- In dark days of mid-winter, you'll see a property at its worst - which has a hidden upside. If you love a house in February, you'll seriously love it the rest of the year. You'll also get a realistic view of the home's major systems, like the heating system, roof, gutters, and plumbing. Any exterior and landscaping issues will be evident when they leaves are down and snow is on the ground.
CONS OF BUYING IN THE WINTER:
- With sellers also taking a holiday break, there's a lack of inventory. What's on the market may be leftovers that didn't sell earlier in the year.
- Bad weather makes it difficult to visit prospective homes. It also makes it harder for inspectors to do their work. And some aspects of the property, like the grass, might be completely hidden. You could be buying them sight unseen.
So, which season is the best for home buying? It really depends on your circumstances. Each season has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Plan ahead for your 2018 and explore the remaining seasons here.