When you're deciding when you should start looking at homes for sale on your local market, you have to take into consideration both what's convenient for you and what will net you the best deal. Here are some things to note about how the season in which you buy can affect your outcome.
Spring is a very popular time, both for buyers and sellers of real estate. You'll be in good company if you decide to look for a home in the spring. There is good and bad to this. Although there will be a larger number of homes for sale, there will also be a more active buying force.
In the summer, some of the most aggressive buyers may have found their homes and gone off of the market. There is still a fairly good selection, but with less competition and urgency.
By this time, the selection of homes and buyers has started to narrow. That can be a good thing if you're a serious buyer who stands out among the smaller pack of contenders. A smaller amount of homes for sale to look at can be great for helping you narrow your search and move quickly with a buying decision.
Winter is often a mixed bag for home buyers. It's a good deal because the sellers that still have their properties listed in winter are probably very eager to sell. Many homebuyers will take their home off the market during the colder months and holidays, but those who persevere are probably the most serious home sellers. If someone lists their home in the winter, it may also be a sign that they haven't sold it yet after a while on the market. But this means that they might decide to come down from their initial asking price from the spring, and they might be willing to make more concessions to a buyer just to get the property off of their hands.
On the flip side, you have to be certain to fully evaluate the property to make sure it has no defects. This can be especially tricky in the winter, since snow might cover parts of the exterior. And, there's a limited window of daylight to see the home in its full glory. You might need to schedule time off work so that you can fully see each home you investigate during the winter.