The weather is getting colder, families are starting to go out of town for the holidays, and the new year is just around the corner. If you’re in the market to buy or sell a house, the changing of the seasons may leave you wondering if now is the best time to make a move. Is there really a perfect time to buy or sell? I would say that all depends on your needs and your timeline. However, there are definitely times of the year where the market picks up and slows down. Let’s talk through some things to consider if you’re buying and selling now (fall/winter) or thinking about waiting until next spring/summer:
Reasons to Buy or Sell a Home Now
If you’re looking to buy a home, now can be a great time to make that jump. With prices steadily increasing over the past three years, and continuing to rise, the home you have in mind may very well be more expensive two months to a year from now. There is also a good chance that the interest rates will rise and that can really affect your monthly expenses. For example, mortgage payments on a $1M loan are $4,631 per month at a rate of 3.75%. When that rate goes up to 4.75%, the payment jumps to $5,216 per month. Finally, the rainy season can be one of the best times to buy a home, because it’s easy to spot problems. We live in an area with a lot of older homes, so you want to look out for drainage issues and leaky roofs. If you catch these things before you close escrow, you can negotiate to have them fixed, whereas if you miss issue it can be more costly to repair down the road.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about selling your home right now, it’s a great time to take advantage of the market while it’s still hot. Prices are at an all time high in Redwood City right now, and it’s hard to tell when we might see these numbers again. To give you some more context, most properties in Redwood City that show well (are relatively updated, painted, staged, etc.) will receive between 3-5 or more offers. Even the smallest downward shift in the market will impact property values and the time it takes to sell your house. Generally, people think of the spring and summer as the preferred time for sellers to sell, but you’ll also have more competition. With more homes on the market, buyers tend to be more selective and even if your home is a “10,” it could be overlooked.
Reasons to wait until spring or summer
For buyers, the biggest benefit to waiting until spring/summer is that there tends to be more inventory, so it can be a little less competitive. If you do end up buying a home that has some issues with the roof or drainage, it gives you time to get things fixed up before the weather turns. If you need to make any major improvements, that time can be nice to let your bank account replenish a bit before shelling out more to fix something. If you have kids in school, it’s also nice to wait until the end of the school year before making major changes.
If you’re thinking about selling, homes do tend to show and photograph better when the weather is pleasant, than when it’s gloomy out. And moving when the weather is sunny, is just so much more enjoyable than when it’s cold and the sun is down by 5:00pm. However, as I mentioned earlier, no one can predict where the market is heading. It could go up or it could come down. If you’re thinking about selling you could be taking a bet that may not pay off if you wait until spring.
Cliff Whearley has been a resident of Redwood City for 23 years. He is a Realtor at Dwell Realtors, Inc. and has been practicing real estate since 2007. If you're thinking about buying or selling your home, he would love to connect with you.