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Pride Doesn't Always Come Before the Fall

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Have you ever given any thought to all the reasons why October rocks?

Seriously, just to name a few:

  • Everything is exploding with color
  • The summer heat is subsiding (in the Midwest, anyway)
  • Football is starting up, while baseball is in the exciting home stretch
  • You get to dress up in a costume and act like a 10 year-old for one night without judgement
  • The best seasonal beers arrive (it ain’t called Oktoberfest for nuthin’)

But what you may not know, is that the calendar’s tenth month is also the best time to buy a home, statistically speaking. In fact, according to those kooky kids at real-estate data firm RealtyTrac, out of 2.7 million sales closed in October since 2000, the average sales price was 2.6 percent below the average estimated full market value at the time of sale.

So what gives? Traditional thinking would lead one to believe that the opposite is true, that spring is prime time for buy time. The weather is certainly better. Schedules are typically more lenient. Heck, most people are just in a better mood when the sun is shining. So what conditions make October the grand poobah of the buyer’s market?

Sellers and Builders are Getting ITCHY: No matter whether the house was just listed yesterday, or has been on the market since the day after Super Bowl, most sellers are in a hurry to close come fall. If they’re just now deciding to sell rather than waiting till the spring market opens, there are usually reasons why (an upcoming job relocation, or a need for immediate downsizing).

If the house has been listed for some time, the seller may have become desperate, or is simply sick and tired of the whole process. Either way, you win; a sense of urgency usually works in your favor. The seller is likely ready to make a deal and move on. A new construction builder has a timeline to keep, and may be more open to negotiation. The moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to come in low with your initial offer.

Timing is Everything: Sure, there are less houses available once the summer market has ended. But think about it - how much competition will you have from other buyers once the leaves begin to fall? Most potential buyers - especially those with families and children in school - choose to stay put right where they are until the holidays are over.

Sticking with that train of thought, buying in fall will likely afford you a more relaxed closing schedule. Sellers who have struggled to pull in quality offers may be a little more lenient with their closing demands, in order to ensure the deal goes through. And the aforementioned holidays may see your timetable jump from the typical 30 day limit to something closer to 45 or 60, in order to avoid anyone having to move between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And let’s not forget the fringe benefits! You can take advantage of property tax and mortgage interest deductions for new homeowners. Movers are much easier to hire and schedule time with. And imagine how much cheaper it will be to furnish/decorate your new pad, what with all of the End of Year sales events going on!

The fact of the matter is, every season throughout the year offers compelling reasons to buy a new home. You just need to decide when the time is right for YOU.