|Buying or selling a home? Off-season
can be prime
Teri Cettina Bankrate.com||
If you're buying
or selling a home and the end of the spring-summer real estate season is stressing
you out, relax.
Even though real estate sales do fall off
at the end of warm weather, there's still plenty of buying and selling coming
this fall and winter.
Remember, sales volume is not your problem.
The only house you care about is the one you're selling or hoping to buy.
Hankner, a real estate agent with Comey
& Shepherd in Cincinnati, Ohio, confirms the real estate business definitely
buzzes in the fall and winter, and adds, "Real estate isn't nearly as seasonal
as it used to be. If a house is priced and marketed appropriately, no matter what
time of year it is, there will be a buyer for it."
more, many home buyers and sellers are bucking the seasonal nature of residential
real estate. They're finding that buying or selling houses in the fall and winter
months has many advantages -- not the least of which are the gorgeous fall leaf
colors and holiday decorations that showcase many homes to their fullest potential.
The fall season is unquestionably the busiest time of year
for Dick Dils. As a country
broker based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., near the Vermont border, he sells many
large homes with lots of property. Dils finds that the latter part of the year
is the best time for potential buyers to understand the lay of the land and see
a home's structure without the distraction of summer shrubbery. Plus, "New
England is at its splendiferous best in the autumn," he says.
area gets a lot of visitors in the fall -- people coming to enjoy the fall colors,
attend a school homecoming celebration, attend outdoor athletic events, or visit
one of our many country fairs or harvest celebrations," says Dils. "As
a result, it's a great time for them to consider looking at homes for sale in
In fact, Hankner believes, seeing a home all
decked out for the winter holidays can be an emotional trigger for many buyers.
"I bought my own house in the summer, but I was actually imagining it with
a Christmas tree beneath its cathedral ceilings," she says. "The holidays
are a great time of year to find a new home."
which side of the transaction you're on, you can make the off-season work to your
advantage. Here's why:
Buyers are motivated. Many off-season buyers are more serious than some among
the horde who descend like locusts on open houses in the spring. After all, there's
a reason they didn't buy during the peak season. Perhaps they didn't have enough
for a down payment or couldn't get financed. The fact that they've entered the
market in a downtime might be very meaningful.
is a second season. While sales definitely fall off in the early fall, they usually
escalate again in October in many parts of the country.
sales. The expansion of the Internet and the numbers of people who use it have
added a significant off-season dimension to real estate sales. Potential buyers
can now find properties for sale in the comfort of their home through a vast array
of Web sites. Virtual tours can take them into homes and they can preview neighborhoods,
schools and city information before venturing out.
- Hindsight. When you put up a home for sale
in the fall or winter, you have the advantage of hindsight: You and your agent
can review which homes sold quickly in your area during the warm-weather "peak
season." This gives you the chance to adjust your price and terms accordingly
and to make your home more marketable.