Many variables determine what the real estate industry considers the peak buying and selling season. It varies by geographical region and is also affected by the economy. Generally speaking, for home sellers, many real estate experts have traditionally considered the “peak season” to be around late January to early May. For homebuyers, the reasons varied from wanting to close late spring or early summer when school ends, to moving during good weather, to not wanting a move to interfere with summer breaks and vacations. The negative impact on homebuyers during this peak time can be more competition resulting in higher prices and lower inventory.
Benefits to Buying or Selling in the Off-Season
Times have changed and there ARE benefits to buying and selling "off-season." Many of today’s buyers AREN’T shopping around school schedules, many are single or first-time homebuyers, couples with grown children that are ready to downsize, job relocations, as well as investors in income property. Today’s buyers are savvy and use the internet to preview listings year round, which means real estate can be very active outside the peak months. A serious buyer is always looking. With fewer houses on the market in the fall and winter, sellers have less competition. Also, selling in fall or winter could allow the seller to take advantage of the coming new spring inventory for buying a new home.
Additional off-season benefits for buyers and sellers can be a faster turnaround for services such as lenders, appraisers, settlement attorneys and inspectors. In many areas, the weather is better and scheduling is easier for showings, as fewer buyers are coming through the home.
Once summer ends, many sellers whose listings have stayed on the market will be more desperate for offers. They may have purchased a home contingent on selling their old home. If you are a buyer and are having difficulty finding the right house, ask your agent to look at listings that were recently taken off the market and request a showing if the owner is still motivated to sell.
To attract serious buyers, it is important to price your home to sell. Consider including a home warranty to add value to your listing and give potential buyers more confidence. Staging a home with the colors of the season can create a warm and welcoming feel. Keep it simple, clean and uncluttered. When selling a home, you need to make the best first impression, no matter what time of year it is!