With October next on the horizon, those home buyers and sellers who have been trying to make a move all summer begin wondering if they should continue their efforts or if they should hold off until next year.
Buyer Nadia begins to wonder if she’s better off waiting until fall kicks in so that she can avoid the high summer prices, while seller Cindy wonders if she’s missed the boat on the summer months and would be better off waiting until next spring.
Is there an ideal time to buy or sell? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best time to buy or sell is when you’re ready to, and not a moment before or after. Buyer Nadia needs to understand that it’s not the prices that will go down in the fall/winter but rather the number of buyers and the number of homes for sale. She’ll have fewer competing buyers, which means she may be able to save a few thousand dollars through negotiations, but she may also have to compromise on the home she’s purchasing as less will be for sale. Her chances of finding her ideal home decline but her chances of finding a relatively suitable home at a fair market price remain strong. Nadia may have to spend some time and money renovating her new home to get it just the way she wants — money that she’s saved in the purchase.
Seller Cindy needs to evaluate her home objectively. If her home shows like a model and is in a desirable location, it doesn’t really matter when Cindy sells. The GTA real estate market is strong enough that the top homes will sell for top dollar, regardless of whether they sell in May or December. There’s a greater chance of Cindy’s home being one of the best available at a time when competition is at its lowest. However, Cindy also needs to understand that it will take her perhaps a month or two longer to sell in the fall/winter, and that means an extra month or two of all the inconveniences that come with selling your home, like keeping it immaculate.
On the other hand, if Cindy’s home is a typically average home she would be better of waiting until the spring. Make no mistake, buyers in the fall/winter months are looking for a deal. More often than not, those who sell during the cold months do so because there’s something pushing them to, and not just because they’re looking to make a change. Therefore, if Cindy’s home is a fixer-upper, or shows a bad paintjob, or other defects, a fall/winter buyer is going to expect to be compensated for those shortcomings. In the summer, buyers know they can’t afford to be so critical.
These “rules” for when to buy or sell are general rules of thumb. Nadia and Cindy would need to consider everything else pushing them to buy or sell as well. For example, if Nadia saw a job promotion in the coming year, then she may be better off waiting. If Cindy fell in love with a suitable home during the same winter season that her own home fetched less, it might make sense for her to go ahead. That’s why the only rule that always applies is to make the move when you’re ready to, and take all the time necessary, ask all the questions necessary, and do all the analysis necessary, to decide if you are in fact ready.
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– Amit is a Realtor/Developer with Re/Max. firstname.lastname@example.org