When it comes to buying a house, timing can make a big difference on several levels. The time of year when you start searching can impact things like house prices, available inventory, and competition for that inventory. There are also personal factors to consider to make your move at a good time for you.
The Spring Rush
Many people will tell you spring is the best time to buy, because it’s when the market picks up and the inventory improves. It’s true that spring does tend to bring much more selection to the market, as many people prefer to move in pleasant weather, and families with children look to time a move in between school years.
However, the rush to buy in the spring months can increase competition and raise prices. There are more homes to choose from, but also more buyers looking at those houses, which can result in bidding wars and the frustration of houses selling fast. That means spring isn’t necessarily the best time to get in the buying market, particularly if you want to get the best price.
When Prices Are Lowest
The real estate market slows in the late fall and through the holidays, as people are busy and don’t often want to move during this time. This means that there are fewer houses to choose from on the market. It also means that sellers who do choose to put their home up during this time are likely very motivated, and that can mean a better deal on the home of your dreams.
With fewer people looking to buy, fall and winter can also mean less competition, giving you time to consider before making an offer and a lesser likelihood of bidding wars. That makes the colder months a good time to get the best price on a house.
What Works Best For You
The most important factor in choosing the right time to buy is what works best for you and your life. Consider things like the school year if you have children, and what times of the year are busiest for you at work.
Remember to consider the length of time required to complete a sale as well—an offer made in November could have you moving over the holidays. If you want to move before the kids go back to school, make sure you are making offers well in advance of that deadline, as the time from offer acceptance to move-in can vary.
The best time of year to buy a house depends on you—decide whether the best selection or the best price matters most to you. You can then try to find a balance with your own personal timeline so that you move at a time that’s convenient.