When I bought a house more than 10 years ago, I started searching during the summer months for a good deal. I struggled, regularly bringing homes to the attention of my real estate agent only to find out there were multiple offers already on the property.
It wasn’t until autumn arrived that I was able to find a home at a price that was right for me.
As you look for a home at this time of year, be aware that summer comes with its own homebuying challenges. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
1. More buyers search during peak season
Summer is peak season for homebuyers, according to Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, the brand editor at real estate trends website House Method.
“Many buyers have more time to hunt for houses and move during the summer,” she said. “So you end up with high demand for homes, and supply can’t keep up.”
There’s no reason for a seller to cut a deal with you when another buyer — especially one who’s willing to pay the asking price — probably is waiting in the wings.
2. Bidding wars can drive up prices
During active demand periods such as summer, when more people are buying homes, you’re more likely to find yourself in a bidding war, said Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. You might put in an offer on a house, but find that someone else is promising more money.
In June 2017, Paul Deangelis put his home on the market. Within days, three buyers were fighting to pay him more than his asking price.
“I sold my house in a matter of days,” De Angelis said. “With motivated buyers, it was easy to come to terms.”
While that scenario might be great for a seller, it doesn’t help you find a good deal on your dream home as a buyer.
3. Close ahead of the holidays for best results
The best time to buy a house is when you’re ready to make the purchase, according to Randy Mintz, a real estate agent at R.E. Shilow Realty Investors. The next best time is just before the holiday season.
“Inventory might be much lower in winter, but these sellers are probably highly motivated,” said Mintz.
McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza and Kelczewski said winter can provide some of the best opportunities for the budget-conscious homebuyer. “Find sellers who want to close before the holidays,” suggested McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza. “It’s a bargaining chip you can use in your favor.”
4. Pay attention to local seasonality
Even though summer typically is considered peak season for homebuyers, that’s not always the case in the warmer areas of the United States.
“In my market, the South Bay area of greater Los Angeles, summer is the second-best time to score a deal,” said Richard Haynes, a real estate broker and the owner of Manhattan Pacific Realty. “Don’t assume anything is a rule in real estate.”
“No one wants to go out there when it’s 110 degrees,” he said, pointing out that winter is the peak season in some places, making summer a good time to find deals.
Tips for getting the best deal on your home purchase
Seasonality matters, but it isn’t everything. Here are some ways to save money on buying a house — no matter the time of year.
- Be ready to move: Get a mortgage preapproval so that sellers know you can close the deal faster, suggested De Angelis. He accepted the second-highest offer on his house because the buyer had lined up a mortgage while the highest bidder hadn’t been approved for a home loan. De Angelis didn’t want to take the risk of waiting on a bidder who might be unable to get a mortgage.
- Look at the days on the market: “The longer a home has been on the market, the more the seller may be willing to negotiate,” said Mintz. Homes that have been on the market for six months or longer present some of the best opportunities. This tactic works especially well if you buy after September, according to McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, since homes left unsold after summer are likely to drop in price.
- Consider the type of property: Sometimes, it’s more about the type of property you want. “Single-family residential property parallels the school season,” said Kelczewski. “Town homes and condominiums geared toward young professionals have a different cycle.”
- Work with an agent: Talk to an experienced real estate agent who knows the market. The right professional understands the quirks of the local market and can help you navigate the waters so you can get the best deal.
No matter when you buy your home, getting a good deal is about research and opportunity, according to Haynes. “All real estate is local, and different markets have better times to buy according to the season,” he said.