When’s the Best Time of Year to Buy?

The home-buying experience changes vastly from season to season. Depending on when you're looking to buy, you'll face different levels of pricing, housing inventory and competition from other buyers.

For veterans and military members, the challenge is you don't always get to choose your home-buying timeline. Active duty service members often move every two or three years, meaning military families relocate 2.4 times as often as civilians.

While most people buy in spring or summer, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best time. Each season has its pros and cons, and the best time to buy depends on your own circumstances.

Greg Hanner, President of the Eastern CT Association of Realtors® explains the four seasons of real estate and what veterans and military families might encounter during each.

Winter

The good news about buying in the winter is that there is less competition. With fewer people looking for houses, it may be easier to land a better deal. It's also a nice time to make an investment. If you're looking for a home for investment potential rather than a place to live forever, the off-season is a smart time to buy.

On the flip side, if you thought the pickings were slim in fall, the number of homes going on the market usually reaches its lowest point in December.

It can also be a hassle. Bad weather makes it difficult to get around, holiday obligations can slow down your search and homes become harder to inspect. "The cold weather and snow can hide aspects of the home that wouldn't be as easy to miss if the inspection were conducted in warm weather, like the condition of a swimming pool or deck" says Hanner.

Spring

Spring thaw makes it easier to spot potential problems. Also, there will be fewer buyers in early spring so buying frenzies and multiple bids aren't as plentiful.  Unfortunately, there may be less to choose from than during the summer, when inventory hits its peak.

Summer

Summer peaks for the housing market in June, July, and August. "On average, a buyer is going to have more choices in those months," says Hanner. If you're looking for specific features or want to live in a particular neighborhood, you'll be more likely to find your dream.

Of course, with families wanting to settle into their new home before school starts, there's more competition and you can expect firm asking prices. "You may not be able to negotiate, as someone else may swoop in and offer more," Hanner says. Sellers may reject any lowball offers or any offer that comes with specific contingencies or requests.

Fall

Fall is normally the prime time to negotiate. With fewer buyers, sellers may be more inclined to entertain lower offers or pay for needed repairs. "Although in Eastern CT, the market has been steady", said Hanner. The down side for buyers is that in the fall, there is less inventory.

Ultimately, the best time to buy a house depends on your own specific needs, and helping you through your moving season is where a Realtor® can be invaluable.

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