When is the Best Time to Buy a Home and When is the Best Time to Sell?

When it comes to housing, three major factors tend to influence the best times to buy or sell a home. Time of year, local conditions, and geographic location help determine when it's the best time to buy and sell. Unique houses and individual circumstances often dictate otherwise, but in general, these rules apply.

How Time Influences the Housing Market

Supposedly, everything has its season. It's true for the housing market. For the most part, spring and summer are the best seasons to sell your home. Houses often show their best during these seasons. Attractive landscaping helps curb appeal while the backyard extends living space. Typically, more buyers are out in full force during spring and summer.

Another good time to list occurs briefly in the fall. After vacations are over and children return to school, moving into a new home before the winter holidays can be appealing. The downside for homeowners is the prospect of selling during the slow winter months.

It makes sense that the best time to buy a home contrasts with the best time to sell. Buyers usually get the best deals during the winter months when sales are slower. With fewer buyers searching for a home, sellers are more likely to negotiate and make concessions. For the same reason, holidays are also a good time to buy a home. When most families are home celebrating, the number of active buyers is reduced. A seller can also benefit during the winter holiday season. If a home is already decked out for the holidays, it probably looks its best.

How Local Conditions Impact Sales

Other factors affecting the best times to buy or sell, can be erased when local conditions overpower the market. If a large new company opens in a community or the population is growing rapidly, it makes sense to list. Supply and demand usually dictate a good time to buy or sell a home. If the housing market is inundated, it's a good time to buy. On other hand, if there is a shortage of homes on the market, it's an ideal time to sell.

It's common sense to examine factors in a particular area. If a city is experiencing a high rate of unemployment, there could be few eligible home buyers due to the local economy. If a large factory closes or a natural disaster impacts a town, obviously the pool of buyers is drastically lower.

Financing is another factor in buying or selling a home. In general, low interest rates can help both parties. Buyers are more optimistic. Low interest rates translate to lower mortgage payments. In contrast, sellers are encouraged due to more house hunters. In the long run, whether it is a better market for buyers or sellers depends on specific locations and the circumstances of individual buyers.

How Geography Factors into Home Sales

Location almost always influences home sales. If a home is located in a popular spot, it's always a good time to sell. Geographic areas offering warm weather and temperate conditions generally tip the market in favor of sellers. Places with extreme weather conditions are often less desirable places to live. For that reason, those locations tend to favor buyers. But geography doesn't really matter if a good job offer, friends and relatives, or life changes occur. If a person gets married or divorced, a home can prohibit or entice relocating. Again, individual circumstances overrule other conditions.

Other minor factors can impact the best time to buy or sell a home. For example, if a home is over-priced, there is less room to negotiate making it detrimental to sellers. If a seller needs to move quickly and sets the price below value, a buyer can often get a bargain.

Similar to other things in life, there is a right and wrong time to take action. In general, the best/worst time to buy or sell a home does exist. But, personal circumstances, along with supply and demand, can create a fine line between the two. If you can't decide if it's a good time to list or look for a home, consult with a real estate sales professional.

Daniella Aitken

Daniella Aitken

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
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