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Fall Real Estate Buying Tips

EXPECTED READ TIME: 4 MINUTES

Have you've been thinking about purchasing a new home for a while? If so, you're probably wondering, "What is the best season to buy a house?" Although spring is known as peak season, there are disadvantages to shopping in that busy time. Today we're going to discuss the fall real estate season along with fall home buying tips. Read on to see if the autumn months are the right time for you to find your new home.  

Is fall the best season to buy a house?

There are dozens of benefits of buying a home in the fall. First of all, there's less competition. Because of that, sellers are more flexible on moving dates. Plus, if a home has been on the market for a while, sellers may be more willing to negotiate the price.

Autumn brings cooler weather and kids back in school. The overall vibe has a much slower pace. Many home buyers that aren't in a hurry avoid the sometimes frenzied spring and summer real estate market. Instead, they take a vacation and rest up for their upcoming move.

When you save your home shopping for the fall, you'll also get more attention from real estate agents. And if you have the right agent, they'll have a better chance of negotiating a good deal for you. Plus, if everything falls in place — you'll be in your new home for the holidays.

Is it cheaper to buy in the fall?

Traditionally, August and September can be the best time to buy real estate. When you're buying a house in late summer or fall, you'll still have plenty of homes to view because, in most areas, the inventory will still be high. Of course, that depends on your particular location. It also has to do with whether you're shopping in a buyer's or seller's market.

If you're holding out for a deal — September, October, and November bargains are almost as good as the ones you'd find in the colder winter months. Most sellers don't want to move during the holidays. They're motivated to sell and get into their next home.

Make sure not to ignore older listings. Sometimes a home has been on the market a long time because it fell out of escrow through no fault of the seller. One of the main reasons a home falls out of escrow is because the borrower's financing fell through. That's why it's crucial for you as a borrower to make sure you have a solid prequalification letter from a reputable lender.

Buying a Home in Fall & Housing Seasonality

If you're considering buying a home in the fall — start early in September. The earlier fall homebuying season has a lot to offer in terms of ample inventory and less competition. Many home buyers with school-aged children are already in their new homes. August and September were their target move dates. Even households without children tend to move in the summer. That takes out a lot of the competition. There is regional seasonality to consider too. Here are the US regions listed in order of fall volume by the Census Bureau. 

  • Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia have the strongest fall selling season.
  • Western states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, as well as the pacific states of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii come in second.
  • Midwest states of North Dakota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska come in third place.
  • Northeast states of Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania come in fourth place.

Pre-Holiday Real Estate Market

The September and October real estate market can be busy with buyers wanting to close a deal and move before Christmas. But one thing that has made home shopping accessible during all seasons is the online real estate sites like Realtor.com, Redfin, and Trulia. Only a short time ago, viewing homes was done almost 100% in person. But now, from the comfort of your home, you can shop online and find properties that are definite contenders.

Once you've made your list of top choices, then you can start viewing. Don't be surprised if the house looks much better, newer, cleaner, and larger online. It's amazing what photography can do to enhance a photo. Starting in November and through the end of December, you'll find fewer open houses. Seller's schedules are tighter for in-person viewing. So, it's good to do as much online investigation as you can.

It's also possible to find a home in November but hold off closing until after Christmas. And if that's important to the seller, it may be a negotiating point to use to your advantage.

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