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Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in the Fall

What You'll Learn: Factors that May Influence Home Buying Decisions During Fall Season.

EXPECTED READ TIME: 5 MINUTES

Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in the Fall

Some homebuyers may find themselves beginning their home search in time for a fall purchase. Maybe they’re moving for a new job or simply because they want to get settled before the upcoming holiday season. Whatever the reason, there are a variety of pros and cons involved in buying a home in the fall. Find out more about the process and learn why a fall home purchase may be a great option for you.

Why Buy a Home in the Fall?

Often, homebuyers who choose to purchase a home in the fall are reacting to life changes like a marriage, separation, or the birth of a child while others may be relocating for a job. In some cases, homebuyers may choose to purchase in the fall in order to avoid another winter spent in a cold climate or they may be empty nesters who are downsizing after their youngest child has left to attend college.

What are Your Goals for Your Home Purchase?

Whatever your reason for buying a home in the fall, you need to define your goals. What does a great outcome look like to you? Some possible goals may be the following:

  • Saving money by buying outside of the most popular selling season
  • Buying on a compressed timeline in order to get settled before the holidays
  • Finding a home in a popular commuter corridor
  • Creating added stability for changing family circumstances

Knowing yourself and your goals for the home purchase, then communicating that information to your lender and real estate professional, will help you to better define your ideal outcome and create a plan for the process. 

Plan ahead for the Home Financing Process

No matter what time of year you’re buying, your first step is preparing for the home financing process. In order to do that, you need to talk with your trusted lender and take stock of your finances so that you can successfully navigate the application and underwriting processes.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to discuss:

  1. What is the budget range for your home purchase? Do you want to be at the top of your budget, or do you need to reserve funds for additional expenses once you’ve completed your move?
  2. How much will you need to have in reserve for the home purchase, including the deposit, down payment, and closing costs?
  3. Are there homebuyer incentives or grants you should be aware of and for which you qualify?
  4. If you’re relocating to another state, how much of your savings will you need to reserve for a long-distance move, which could be prohibitively expensive as compared to a local move?
  5. If you’re relocating for a new job, what documents do you need to provide to verify your employment and income? How will a job change affect your chances of approval?

Advantages of Buying a Home in the Fall 

One of the biggest advantages of buying a home in the fall is that it is considered, in most areas, the off-season for real estate purchases. Homes that are for sale in the fall may be owned by more motivated sellers who may be more open to negotiations. In addition, you may have less competition for available homes since many buyers will have closed during the more active spring or summer markets.

Disadvantages of Buying a Home in the Fall 

While you may have less competition, you’ll also have less inventory available in most cases. That may mean that instead of picking and choosing among a large number of options in your target area, you may have a hard time finding a home that checks off all of the items on your wish list. If this is the case, you may want to consider other neighborhoods or you may want to determine whether to purchase a fixer-upper and then make the improvements you want after closing.

Always Expect the Unexpected

Whatever your goals for your home purchase, you can be sure that there will be some twists and turns along the way. It’s important for you to communicate with your team – your lender and your real estate agent or broker – so that you can be prepared for any eventuality and meet challenges head-on.

Buying a home in the fall offers unique opportunities you won’t find with a spring or summer purchase. Get started now and you could be spending long cozy nights in your new home before you know it.

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