Choosing the Right Time of Year to Buy a Home
If you’re ready to buy your first home, or upgrade to something that’s a better fit, you’ve already thought about some of the most important questions: Where do we want to live? Have we saved enough for the down payment? Can we handle the monthly mortgage payment?
Here’s one more question that should be on your mind: Is now the right time to buy?
While you may have a clear picture of your budget and ideal home, it’s not always clear how well the local housing market can support both. The market is constantly changing. Getting the law of supply and demand to work in your favor requires good timing.
HOW THE SEASON AFFECTS THE MARKET
There are many factors that influence the selection and prices of local homes, and this includes the time of year.
In the middle of winter, demand typically goes down. Fewer people want to go house-hunting during the busy holiday season, and parents don’t want to move their child to a new school in the middle of the school year. Plus, who wants to move when it’s freezing outside?
On the other hand, decreased demand can lead many sellers to lower their asking price or be more open to negotiation.
There is a reason that the spring and summer are called “homebuying season.” With nicer weather, more homebuyers are looking, and more homeowners are selling, making this the busiest time for home sales.
The warmer months offer more than an opportunity to avoid house hunting during a blizzard. You’ll also have a greater variety of homes to consider. Plus, if you have kids, the opportunity to close on your new home and move during the summer lets you avoid interrupting their school year.
The bigger selection is great for those with specific needs – like a large backyard or certain number of bedrooms – but the higher competition also drives up prices.
Ultimately, the answer to “when is the best time to buy a home?” depends on both your personal situation and market factors like the season and overall economy.
But whether you’re ready to dive into a busy homebuying season or wait until things cool down, there are some important steps you can take to make homebuying as successful and stress-free as possible.
Do Your Research
Think about what you want in a new home. Is a certain school district important to you? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Can you live without a backyard, central air conditioning, or a two-car garage? Look at online listings and check out open houses to get a sense of the market and typical prices. This part of homebuying can be fun, but it can also help you set realistic expectations and figure out which features are most important and which ones you can compromise on.
Find a Real Estate Agent
If you have bought a house in the area before and were happy with your agent, then you have this step taken care of. But if you are a first-time buyer or new to the area, you want to find a real estate agent early in the process. Here at American Heritage, our members can work with an experienced local real estate agent through our full-service real estate agency, First Heritage Realty Alliance.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval means that a lender has reviewed your finances and confirmed, in writing, how much they would be willing to lend you, and under what terms. This crucial step shows you how much house you can afford, and it shows sellers that you are a serious buyer, potentially giving you a competitive advantage when you make an offer.
WE’RE READY WHEN YOU ARE
Knowing when and how to buy helps you find the right home at the right price. Just as important? Working with the right local team.
If you’re preparing to buy a house, American Heritage Credit Union has everything you need to make it happen. We offer great rates on a full range of mortgages, a special program to help first-time buyers with their closing costs, and our exclusive Home Connection Program to make homebuying easier and more affordable. Speak with our friendly team to learn more and get your free pre-approval today.