Although spring and summer come with homebuying benefits, fall is the best time to buy a home. During autumn, buyers can take advantage of a less crowded market—and they often end up paying less than their spring-buying counterparts as a result.
With this in mind, there are a lot of benefits to starting the process early. If you’re thinking about buying a house this fall, here’s what you need to know about getting the ball rolling in the summer.
Autumn advantages when you buy
Generally speaking, the best time to buy a house is whenever you’re ready. That said, each season has its pros and cons. If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner in the fall, you have some great advantages to look forward to:
- Sellers are motivated. Fall isn’t often seen as the ideal time to sell a home, which means people who list a house in the fall are probably in a hurry to sell—for instance, because they have a new job or house waiting elsewhere. Whatever their motivation, you’re in a good position to make a deal.
- There are fewer buyers. Because fall is viewed as the off-season, there will be fewer buyers out there trying to top your bid.
- Home prices may be lower. On average, fall homebuyers pay less than buyers who seal the deal in spring or summer. In some cases, this is because the houses on the market are inventory homes that didn’t sell earlier. In others, it’s simply because fall is perceived as a season during which sellers need to tempt buyers with lower prices. Either way, buyers tend to come out ahead.
- The focus is on you. The slowdown that typically happens in the housing market when fall rolls around means you’ll get a lot more attention from your real estate agent, not to mention your homebuilder or seller.
Summer steps to take now
Now you’re primed to buy a house in the fall, remember that the best way to succeed is to start early. Use the summer months to take these first steps toward homeownership:
- Start your research early. Browse websites’, newspapers’ and magazines’ real estate listings to get an idea of what you’re looking for and where to find it. Compare prices, neighborhoods and amenities, then start working on a list of your must-have home features.
- Assess your finances. Before moving forward with buying, check your overall financial health. Make sure you have a sizable nest egg tucked away (the general rule is enough to live on for six months), are relatively debt free and have good credit. Your credit score will have a big impact on your ability to secure a mortgage, so take the time to clean up your credit report if necessary.
- Determine your budget. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford. Most experts recommend keeping your mortgage, taxes and insurance at no more than 25 percent to 30 percent of your income.
- Get pre-approved. Securing pre-approval for a home loan not only lets potential buyers know you’re serious but gives you a better idea of exactly how much you can afford.
When you’ve decided it’s the best time to buy a home for you and your family, contact us! We’ll help you learn more about using the summer months to get a jump on the fall homebuying season.