What’s the best time to buy a house? Are there really times in the year that you can snag a killer deal on a new home? If you’re asking either of these questions, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn more.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
Are you looking to buy real estate and wondering if it’s the best time to buy a house? The right time to buy can depend on many factors, such as:
- Saving money
- Having more options
- The local market
- Your personal situation
The Best Time to Buy a House
The best time to buy a house depends on a lot of factors. One person might decide to buy a home at a time that wouldn’t make sense for someone else. Before deciding when you should buy a house, you should think about your situation. Then, you can compare it to the following aspects of purchasing real estate.
Best Time to Save
The best time of the year to buy a house if you want to save money is around November. While you may not find as many available listings, you can get a better deal on the house. Sellers may be more likely to close for a lower rate, especially if the house has been on the market for a while.
November has the lowest percentage of homes selling above their asking price, at only 15.3%. Compare that to March and April, when over 26% of houses sell for more than the asking price.
If you aren’t as picky about the house you buy, you may be able to save money. And you can take advantage of current interest rates. Then, you can save even more on the total cost of buying a house.
Best Time to Shop Around
While buying in November can help you save money, you may not find a ton of available listings. April, May, and June tend to have the highest number of new listings on the market. Different markets may have better or worse months in terms of selection.
However, the US overall has more listings in the late spring. Across the country, close to half a million homes enter the selling market each month from April to June. In April and May, New York City’s market has about 26,000 new listings each month. Even cities like Baltimore boast about 5,000 new listings in those months.
If you can afford to spend a bit more, you can be much pickier in the spring. You won’t have to make as many compromises regarding the location or other features. However, the spring can be a competitive time to buy because many families time their moves with the start or end of the school year.
If you want both a vast selection of houses for sale and to save money, shop in the late summer. By this point, more homes have hit the market than in the spring. If homes are still on the market from those earlier months, sellers may decide to reduce prices.
August has the highest number of homes on the market and the highest percentage of homes with price reductions. June, July, and September are all not far behind in those metrics. Those months all had close to two million homes for sale in 2016.
Over 14% of homes for sale during that season in 2016 had price reductions. While you may not save as much as waiting until November, you should have a decent selection available.
Best Day of the Week
While buying a house takes longer than a day, some days tend to be better for closing. NAR data of buying trends shows Monday is the best day of the week to close. Buyers can get an average discount of 2.3%, while closing Friday can provide 2% as a discount.
Closing on a Tuesday can help you get an average discount of 1.9%. Thursday offers the lowest discount at only 1%, while closing on a Wednesday may help you save 1.4%.
If you want to get even more specific, consider closing on October 8. The same analysis found that buyers can get homes for about 10.8% below market value on that date. November 26 came in second, with buyers saving an average of 10.1% compared to the market value.
Best for the Local Market
While certain months and days can help you save money or compare more listings, you need to consider the market where you want to buy a house. The best time to buy a home in your local area coincides with other changes.
For example, if your area is looking to build new restaurants or a shopping center, that can increase home values. The same is true if your city is growing in popularity or new residential developments are in the works.
Buying now can help you start building equity as restaurants and homes pop up. If you wait until after to buy, you may need to pay more for a house. So be sure to research your local market or where you want to move to see if any significant changes are coming up.
Getting the Best Deal
While we’ve outlined the best time to buy a house, there are a few key considerations to remember before jumping in feet-first. The key is to be flexible and shop around. We’ll outline that more below.
Available Mortgage Rates
This goes without saying, but you should also consider available mortgage rates before buying a house. If you want to wait for lower rates, you might want to hold off on buying a house. According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates hit an all-time low at the beginning of August 2021.
Rates have been trending down since 2018, and the pandemic has kept them low. If you were to buy a house as of the time of this writing, you could get a mortgage with rates under 3%. Over the past year, rates have stayed at or below that number.
Before you buy a house, look at overall economic trends. As the economy gets better, rates might rise. If you can buy when rates are low, you can save a lot. And if you can’t buy when rates are low, follow the trends to know when you may want to refinance your mortgage.
The best time to buy a house can also depend on your personal situation. You should plan to live in your house for at least a few years to make buying worth it. Because of that, consider the chances you’ll want or need to relocate in that period.
If you might have to move soon, buying now isn’t the best option. Even if the market is otherwise perfect, you don’t want to buy a house only to sell it the following year. Selling that quickly can negate any financial gains you get from buying.
But if you’ve settled into a career and enjoy where you live, buying makes sense. Renting can be difficult because you don’t control the cost of the rent. If you’re tired of renting and know you won’t move for a while, now could be the best time for you to buy a house.
You also need to consider if you can handle the responsibility of owning a house. When you rent, your landlord takes care of maintenance, upgrades, and cleaning. However, that all falls on you when you purchase a property.
You have to take the time to mow the lawn, rake leaves, and shovel snow if you live somewhere with snowfall. If an appliance breaks, you have to pay to fix or replace it. And if anything else goes wrong, you’ll have to call a professional and pay them for their service.
If you want to be able to just enjoy your home, you might want to continue renting. Now, you can pay people to clean your home and maintain the lawn. However, that can get expensive, especially if you outsource multiple tasks.
Understand the Hidden Costs
Whether you handle the maintenance or hire help, owning a house comes with many extra costs. Once you close on a home, you will need to cover more than your mortgage payments. Other things to pay for include:
- Property taxes
- Homeowners Association (HOA) fees
- Homeowners’ insurance
You may also need to pay to make upgrades to your home. While buying a house that needs repairs can save you money upfront, those fixes can add to the cost later.
And if your roof leaks or you experience an issue with the plumbing, that will cost you. You’ll need to consider all of those hidden costs when setting your budget as a homeowner.
Consider Your Sale
Perhaps you aren’t looking at buying your first house. The best time to buy a home if you need to sell another one will depend on the market. Consider how quickly houses are selling to determine if you’ll end up owning two places for a while.
Buying a new house at the end of spring can give you a chance to add your current house to the market. Your house won’t be one of the first to hit the market, but people will still be looking to buy a new home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions you may still have about the best time to buy a house.
What’s the Best Month to Buy a House?
The best month to buy a house can depend on your goals. However, August is great for getting both a good deal and finding more houses to choose from.
How Do You Know What House to Buy?
Think about the potential to renovate the house and the overall size. Consider if it has enough space and storage for you and your family. If you have or want kids, make sure the house is in a good school district.
What Is the Average Time It Takes to Buy a House?
It can take about six months to buy a house. Getting preapproved for a mortgage can take about a week, and you may spend three months shopping around. Submitting an offer and negotiating can take another month or two while closing preparations can take another month.
What’s the Best Time to Buy a House?
The best time to buy a house will depend largely on your location and needs. November is a great month to buy to save money, while you’ll have more options in April and May. Consider if selection or savings is more important to decide when to buy.