Spring and summer have long been considered the best time to buy a house. Their seasonal sibling, fall, is usually hidden under a mound of leaves. After all, potential buyers are thinking more about spooky houses and houses filled with the aroma of roast turkey; they aren’t thinking about house-hunting.
According to Margaret Heidenry in an article for Realtor.com, “The best month to snag a deal when buying a home? October. This isn’t just some random guess; it’s based on RealtyTrac’s analysis of more than 32 million home sales over 15 years. The resulting data showed that on average, October buyers paid 2.6% below estimated market value at the time for their homes.”
For a $300,000 house, that’s a savings of $7,800. “Those savings are nothing to sneeze at,” Heidenry writes, “so bargain hunters should get hopping once autumn rolls around.”
Szwed lists the following six reasons for buying a home in the fall:
- You see a house’s exterior issues better.
Green grass and plant life around the house may look fantastic in spring or summer. “In fact, you may focus on the beautiful landscaping and not see the deck’s deteriorating wood or the rain gutters hanging precariously along the eaves,” noted Szwed. “Viewing houses in the fall, you can spot exterior flaws and even landscaping problems, setting you up to deal with these issues before you buy the house.”
- It’s easier to get your agent’s attention.
In spring or summer, real estate agents are busy. They have long lists of things to do for many more clients than in the fall. “If you are one of their clients, you may get lost in the agent’s scramble to get too many things done for too many clients,” added Szwed. “In the fall, when things are slower, your agent may be able to devote more time and attention to your house-buying needs.”
- Pressure to buy is lower.
You may feel pressured to buy too quickly when houses are selling like hotcakes in the spring and summer. “If you don’t rush, you can carefully consider and compare houses,” stated Szwed. “You can work your way through the home-buying process at a stress-free pace.”
- You may find a better deal.
Fewer buyers may mean sellers sometimes lower their asking price, especially if the house has been on the market throughout the spring and summer. After waiting for months, a seller may be ready to take less money for the house just so they can move on.
- You may have a better chance of avoiding a bidding war.
Buyers can take advantage of a seasonal hiatus, like when the kids go back to school because sales slow down at that time. “When the competition for homes weakens, there’s less of a chance that you’ll be outbid by someone else,” said Szwed.
- You have time to get a tax break.
“You can deduct certain expenses, including mortgage loan interest and property taxes, on your tax returns,” concluded Szwed. “You’ll have up to December 31st to close on a home and still write off qualifying expenses for a spring tax filing. It may only trim a few hundred dollars off your tax liability but every dollar counts.”