Monday, October 26, 2009

It's the Buying Time of Year Again

Our agents have heard me say this every year, but it's time to say it for this blog: The best time to buy a house is between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Sellers are ready to sell, as they start to pay heating bills, think about plowing, and head into the holidays. Buyers are mostly settled into new homes or forgetting about buying until spring. It's hard to show houses in the winter. There's snow and ice, not to mention cold. Parking and driveways can make open houses and showings tricky. Although many homes show well when they are decorated for the holidays, most families are busy at that time of year and don't want to have to keep their homes clutter-free and ready to show. Most buildings look better in light, and there isn't much of it in the dead of winter. All of that adds up to the realization that, if you haven't sold your home within the next three weeks, you probably aren't going to sell it until the spring.

Despite that chilling thought, there are sellers who want to move at this time of year. For one thing, some have tax reasons for wishing to close before year end. Some have jobs or commitments in other places. Some are tired of the selling process, and some have another home waiting for them. Some just want to spend the winter in a warmer place. All of those people are competing for the buyers still looking when winter comes. Therefore, if you are an eager seller, you are most likely to compromise on the price at this time of year.

Buyers can capitalize on these factors to negotiate for a better price as the weather gets cold, especially if the home is empty and sellers are worried about freezing pipes and empty oil tanks, or even just heating and plowing bills. This is the time of year when a month of expenses can easily become six months of expenses, and sellers will take that into account.

If you are a buyer, particularly a buyer with cash, here's your chance! Don't waste it--buy now.