Best Time of Year to Buy?

Every consumer item seems to have its optimal buy time. You know–new cars in August and September, bedding in January…What about real estate? Many people ask me: When is the best time to buy a property? I interpret that to mean: When can I get the best deal?

The obvious answer is the best time to buy is when you need to move. Maybe it’s a job change, a divorce, a new baby or whatever…If you need a new home, the time you need it should dictate your move. The “high” season for these kinds of buyers comes in the late spring and early summer, mainly, I think, from families trying to get re-situated in time for the new school year. These days, of course, the traditional school year is gyrating crazily from all-year-round to August to traditional September.

For those buyers who have a choice about when to buy-elective buyers, so to speak-will find the best buys at the end of the year and the beginning of the next. Halloween is the opening day for the annual Great Real Estate Sale. The reason?  The majority of the population turns its attention  toward parties, celebrations, trips, holidays and festive events. Buying property takes a back burner to buying presents.  The sale peters out around March or so as buyers return to the market tax refunds in hand.

Even at Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, some sellers still have to sell. Toward the end of the year as the river of buyers slows down to a trickle,  sellers become more desperate or more realistic, depending on how you look at it. At this time of year, fewer properties are on the market, that’s true, but sellers are more motivated to sell. And, buyers are fewer, too, as so many have dropped out of the market to concentrate on holiday-making.  More motivated sellers and less competition–what’s not to like?

This year offers even better opportunities than usual. Why?  Right now, with foreclosures and short sales representing half of all sales, bargains galore are out there. “Regular” sellers must price their homes to compete with bank-owned properties or face pointless months on the market.  That means the bargains are out there. If you want to buy,  now and for the next 2 to 3 months is by far the best time to do it.

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