Home buying tips

The Time to Get the Best Deal When Buying a House

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The time to get the best deal when buying a house is - drumroll please - NOW! And by now, I mean the late Fall market into the holidays. If you’re scratching your head and wondering why this is true, here are the three primary reasons that sellers are extra motivated to sell at this time of the year:

  1. The real estate market virtually goes on hiatus for three months. In early-mid November when Thanksgiving comes onto the horizon, buyers tend to get into holiday mode - not only for Turkey Day but also for Hanukkah, Christmas and the start of the New Year. And then once the New Year has begun, it takes a bit for buyers to focus on real estate again especially if the weather is cold, snowy, icy and yucky. This translates to a very slow market for most of November, December, most or all of January and sometimes even into February*. There is no other time in the year when the real estate market activity slows for this amount of time. And for those who are anxious to sell and can’t afford to wait at least another three months to potentially do so, they will accept the price that allows them to move on and sell now. 

  2. Many sellers don’t want to carry their homes through the winter. They don’t want to deal with some of the damaging and costly issues that can come up during the winter months, i.e. pipes freezing, ice dams, heating problems, shoveling/plowing snow time and time again, etc. I have found that this can be especially true if the sellers are elderly as home care-taking in the winter can be quite taxing for them. I also see this with sellers who no longer live in the house and can’t monitor the housing issues/situations that tend to arise in the winter months. Therefore these sellers are especially motivated to get the deal done before the harsh weather comes and potential ensuing issues emerge.

  3. Sellers know that they will be competing with fresh, new-to-the-market inventory in the Spring. During the Fall market, the sellers’ homes have accrued days on the market (DOM) - often significant DOM. In addition, their homes have been on the market and haven’t sold which often leads buyers to wonder what’s wrong with the properties. So not only are these sellers stuck with homes that have a prolonged market time** but also that need an explanation for why they haven’t sold. The bottom line is that these properties often have a hard time competing with the fresh, new-to-the market inventory in the Spring. And knowing this can make sellers more motivated to accept offers that allow them to sell now instead of waiting to do so in the Spring market.

There are two caveats to getting a deal at the end of the Fall market. First, not all sellers are motivated to sell their homes despite the reality of the three issues outlined above. And if you end up negotiating with one of these un-motivated sellers, you probably won’t end up with a great deal. Second, the downside to buying at this time is that the inventory is sparse. And so you may be able to get a great price on a house, but you might have problems finding a property that fits your needs and desires.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation - looking for a deal on a house at the end of the Fall market? Were you able to find it? If not, what prevented you from getting a great deal? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* The start of the Spring market varies depending on the town or city in which you live.

** Although there are tricks to making market time less apparent, there is no way to erase it.