The post Labor Day housing market signals to many would-be home buyers to table the home search until spring.
Housing inventory in our area tends to be lower, the days get shorter and colder, and for buyers out there with children, a move mid-school year might not be desirable.
As with any time of year, there are pros and cons of buying now. For some, it may prove to be difficult for the reasons listed above, while for others it may mean a reward with big dividends.
Houses that are listed in the fall tend to be owned by sellers that are more serious, and might be more motivated to sell, otherwise, most would wait until spring.
With motivation also comes a tendency to be more flexible during the negotiation process. Listing and complying with showing times and open houses can be stressful at any time of the year, and is even more amplified as we get closer to the holidays. Seeking an offer, buyers can capitalize on an urgency of the sellers to sell and complete the sale cycle, and use it to their advantage during negotiations.
In the fall, there typically proves to be less competition from other buyers. People's lives tend to get caught up in kids' sports and the holidays, meaning less time for house hunting. A cocooning effect comes over many people as the days get colder and shorter and going out looking at houses in the pouring fall rain proves undesirable. With daylight waning, it means getting out of work early, or seeing houses on the weekend. Before making a decision to make an offer, a buyer will have to see the home in daylight, which may mean several trips to the same property. The kids may have just started school, and a move would impact their newly acquired routine.
For the buyers that stay in the market, however, this means that there will be more time to look and the ability to have the time necessary to properly negotiate a great deal - as it relates to price and terms that fits their needs. In addition, there tends to be less likelihood of multiple offer situations in the fall, motivating a seller to work with that one buyer, instead of hoping that a "better" offer may (or may not) come along.
Move in dates are (likely) more flexible. Most people do not want to move during the winter, or on a holiday, or on the "eve" or the day after. This will mean in many cases that both sides are more flexible with dates and deadlines.
Inventory tends to be lower in the fall than it has been over the last several months. Since the supply of listings shrinks, for many buyers, they find that it narrows down the list of their top priorities, and helps them to make an offer on a house that best suits their needs - and in their price range.
With fewer buyers looking at homes, there will be fewer showing requests on a seller's home. With fewer showing requests, there will be fewer offers for a seller to choose from. With every showing that is requested on their home, a seller is hopeful that they will receive an offer that will be successfully negotiated to the closing table. Knowing this, the fall can prove to be a great time of year to buy.
The only way to take advantage of the fall market is to participate in it, so if you're serious about buying, work with your real estate agent to get really clear on your wants and needs on a home, and get looking.
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