5 Reasons Fall Is a Great Time to House Hunt


Spring and summer are prime seasons for buying and selling real estate. The weather is milder and more conducive for a move, and if you have kids, summer lets you settle into a new place before the little buggers head back to school. But while May to September are considered the best times of the year to buy a house, they aren't the only times. There's no need to stress or panic if you don't find what you're looking for before the end of summer, especially since fall is also a great time to house hunt. Here are five reasons why.

1. It's Easier to Negotiate With Sellers

Because spring and summer are the busiest seasons for real estate, some homes receive a ton of traffic, resulting in multiple offers from buyers. In some cases, multiple offers drive up the asking price of a property. This is good news for sellers, but not the best news for buyers looking to negotiate the price and get the best deal on a property.

The market typically slows down toward the end of summer and beginning of fall. Since there aren't as many people searching for properties around this time, this an excellent time to negotiate the price. Sellers who were unable to sell during the peak season might be willing to accept a lower price, which means you can get more house for your money. And if the seller is really motivated, you might negotiate additional incentives, such as a seller credit at closing that can go toward replacing the carpet, or the seller can pay all or a percentage of your closing costs to reduce your out-of-pocket expense.

2. There's Less Competition

A smaller pool of buyers also means less competition, so you can take your time and look for a property that's right for you and your family. When several buyers compete for the same property, there's a greater chance of the seller accepting another buyer's offer, or you can find yourself caught in the middle of a bidding war. There's the risk of falling in love with a house, only to be disappointed when you discover there are several other (maybe better) offers on the table. And when there's a lot of competition, there's a tendency to rush the buying process; you could end up purchasing a home and experiencing buyer's remorse later on.

3. You'll Experience a Shorter Wait to Benefit From Tax Breaks

One benefit of buying a home is the opportunity to take advantage of tax breaks. Homeowners can write off mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance premiums, and real estate property taxes, plus certain costs associated with getting the mortgage, such as discount points paid to a lender and loan origination fees. Self-employed people also can write off the square footage of a dedicated home office, as well as a percentage of utilities. All these expenses are written off when you file your tax return. The good thing about buying a home in the fall is that you don't have to wait as long to take advantage of these tax savings, which can trigger a bigger refund or a smaller tax bill.

4. Builders May Offer Additional Incentives

If you're thinking about purchasing a new-construction home, fall is one of the best times to house hunt because builders also experience a reduction in new home sales after summer. To spark interest, some builders offer incentives, such as a discount off the base price of certain models, or the builder may offer to pay all of a buyer's closing costs.

5. You'll Get More Attention From Your Realtor

Since the number of people looking for homes decreases in the fall, you can use this situation to your advantage and get more quality time with your realtor. During the spring and summer, your agent might juggle several clients simultaneously. Even if your agent is professional and looking out for your best interest, she isn't a robot. She might be unable to respond to calls or emails as quickly as you would like, and it can be difficult to coordinate your schedules for showings.

If you postpone house hunting until the fall, your real estate agent will likely have fewer clients. As a result, your agent can devote more time to your house hunting efforts. This includes searching and finding listings that are perfect for your family, coordinating showings, as well as answering your questions in a timely manner.

Have you searched for a home in the fall? Did you find it easier than other times of the year? Tell me about your home-searching experience in the comments below.

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Guest's picture
JP at The Money Habit

Curious why May to September are considered the best time to buy a house - is this in terms of inventory rather than price?

I've always found the best deal on apartments in late fall early winter so this makes sense to me.

Bonus Tip: Strong indications from the Fed interest rates are going up soon, so locking in low interest rates this year would be fantastic if possible. Am in the middle of a house hunt myself so this article is timely!