The seasonal timing of your home purchase can affect your bottom line. While your financial standing is probably the most important piece of the home-buying equation, shopping at the right time could help you save a substantial amount of money and hassle.
The basic trend is pretty simple: Hotter seasons = hotter housing markets, while colder seasons = colder housing markets. (Hot housing markets have lots of competition among buyers, leading to higher prices and bidding wars; colder markets mean less competition and lower prices.)
Which is to say, if you’re looking for a great price on your home, it might be worth waiting until winter comes around. Given the inconvenience of cold weather and the school year being in full swing, fewer shoppers are likely to be on the market. That means sellers and real estate agents may be happier to offer better deals and incentives to buyers.
Spring and summer can be competitive and expensive for the opposite reasons. Families may have more free time to shop (and lots of motivation to get their move out of the way before school starts again), and sunny weather makes it easy to get out for showings. Plus, most homes look better when their yards are in full bloom.
So if you have the flexibility to do so, waiting for the end of the year – think August onward – could put the odds in your favor to find the best deal on your dream home. But you may also have to deal with lower inventory, which makes it harder to find a home that fits the “dream” category. (That’s not to mention the logistical difficulties of traveling and shopping in winter weather.)