Buying a house is a major investment that every person should seek in life. It’s the milestone of a true independent life that brings along security, satisfaction and serenity. It also relieves you from the tiresome annual relocating which requires adapting to a new neighborhood, not to mention, a new landlord.
It has nothing to do with your horoscope; you don’t need to be picky about the specific hour to make the deal. Yet when it comes to buying a new house, the time of the year plays a vital part in how good or bad your deal can turn out. Also, there are other factors to consider. Without further ado, let’s see what is the best time of the year to buy a house.
Table of Contents
The Defining Factors to Consider When Buying a House
As you might already know, certain non-seasonal factors affect our decision-making with respect to buying a house. Before discussing the best time of year to buy a house, let’s look at these equally important factors together.
Market status and pocket report
No one, in their right mind, goes fishing in a thunderstorm because, in the best possible scenario, they would end up all soaked with no fish to brag about. Likewise, buying a house in an unstable market situation would leave you with regret and grief. You must always assess the market status and proceed only if you find it safe and stable.
Your empty stomach is a good reason for you to consider going to a new restaurant, but what really takes you to the restaurant, instead of your usual kitchen, is the amount of money you have in your pocket.
Rather have an empty stomach than an empty pocket!
Similarly, you can’t buy a house unless you are certain that you won’t face serious financial issues somewhere along the way.
Rather live in somebody else’s house and have a half-full pocket than live in my own house with a completely empty pocket!
You can never trust your own sense of estimation when it comes to assessing the true value of a house. To make sure that you purchase a good house at a reasonable price, you’d better find an experienced and trustworthy realtor. This is a must, as realtors have a good understanding of the ins and outs of the housing market and know how to act in your best interest.
Not only can they help you find an ideal house, but they are also excellent bargainers and wonderful “fault-finders” who can convince the sellers to subtract from the original price of the house, making it more affordable for you.
Mortgage rate and credit score
Unless you are a real-life Jay Gatsby, or to give you a more modern example, an Elon Musk, you are more than likely to need a mortgage. If so, you should ensure you’re fine with the mortgage rate, as it will stay with you for somewhat of a lifetime. Your monthly income and expenses are the two defining factors that help you decide if you can handle the mortgage rate. So, one answer to the question “What is the best time of year to buy a house” Could be the time when you can get the lowest possible mortgage rate!
One way to get a low-rate mortgage is to increase your credit score, which is, nonetheless, a rather lengthy and wearisome endeavor but pays off quite well. Seek advice from your bank to learn more about increasing your credit score.
After discussing the non-seasonal factors that you must consider when buying a house, it’s time we looked at the seasonal factors as well.
Seasonality in the Housing Market
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of seasonality in the housing market is its effect on the so-called “inventory,” which refers to the number of for-sale houses in a given time. This inventory thing, in return, affects the ongoing competition among the buyers and the pricing policies that sellers adapt. Now let’s see how each season affects the housing market and if any of them offer a golden opportunity to the buyers.
Winter: fewer options, affordable prices
Buying a house in winter is less time-consuming. Realtors are easily accessible, inspectors are not that busy, and getting the mortgage is much easier. Apparently, it looks like a window opportunity for house buyers; however, it’s not!
Even though we humans don’t hibernate during winter, we tend to be less active nonetheless. The short cold days of winter are not moving days for many of us as we’re not in the right mood. But there are other reasons why many choose not to buy a new house in winter.
For one thing, roofs are generally covered in snow or soaked in rain. This makes it more difficult for your inspector to assess the condition of the roof. Also, you can’t determine the actual situation of the surrounding area regarding noise, pollution, and population. Last but not least, relocating during winter is not in the best interest of school children.
This, in turn, forces house sellers to lower their prices to tempt the few buyers who have selected to look for a new house in the freezing months of the year.
So, is winter the best time to buy a house? Only if you don’t mind the health of the house and the true nature of the area around it.
Spring: choices abound, prices doubled
After the inactive period of winter, now both buyers and sellers have good reasons to rush to the party. As the weather changes and the sun uncovers its forgiving face again, the market flourishes like “The Magic Bean.”
Sales inventory grows fast because houses generally look more appealing in the spring than in any other season. Trees blossom, flowers open, and the grass around the house is greener than ever. Thus, sellers decide to let everyone in.
Buyers also prefer to settle before the new school year begins. So they start looking for their ideal house in the hope that they could relocate in the late spring or early summer. Moreover, moving in, except on rainy days, is much easier in the spring as the warm weather proves to be a great help.
Yet, there is a problem here. With so many buyers and sellers in the housing market, fierce competition starts. Buyers enter a relentless bidding war while sellers enjoy receiving many offers in a single day.
As you can see, there is no great thing about house buying in the spring as well. Perhaps the luckiest buyers are those who conclude a deal before the market becomes overcrowded.
Summer: buyers on the hunt
The housing market in the summer is not much different from that of the spring. Buyers are busy visiting one house after another, and sellers keep an eye out for the ones who pay good money.
What is special about the summer market is that sellers begin to go soft on buyers as September approaches. This is when the housing market slowly prepares for a recession, and sellers don’t want to have many unsold houses on their lists.
As a result, in less-crowded cities, late August and early September provide an opportunity to make good deals, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that this period is the best time of year to buy a house. In my opinion, stick to the old saying, “Make hay when the sun shines.” If you wait all year long for September to arrive, you may find yourself hopeless, if not homeless!
Fall: enter the late comer
By the arrival of fall, most home seekers have made their purchases and moved in. Realtors are once again accessible and more open to negotiations. They wish to make the most out of fall as winter is even less promising, but there aren’t many buyers around.
This is a reverse situation of the spring market. Fewer options and fewer buyers. One could argue that another good opportunity for buyers is the last two months of fall when sellers are more agitated than ever to make good deals before winter strikes.
Evenings are perhaps the best time to go to the movies, but not for the poor nurse who is on a night shift. Similarly, we could say that there is certainly the (a) best time to buy a house, but you should realize that this “best time” doesn’t apply to everyone in the same way.
Each of us has our unique situation and must hence act accordingly. Therefore, the best time of the year to buy a house is when you are financially ready and well-informed about the market situation. Plus, you need to have enough options to select from. So, the name of the game you’re playing here is “readiness.”
Before wondering about the right time to buy a house, check your credit score and estimate the affordability of your mortgage. After that, learn about the market status and see if it is stable enough to let you make a good deal. Then find a seasoned realtor who can show you some nice houses that meet your expectations. Next, ask a certified home inspector to take a good look at those houses and help you decide which one is in a better condition and suits you best. At this point, you can think about buying the house no matter which season or month it is. After all, the longer you wait, the more you’ll have to pay.