Some of the most asked questions I hear as a Realtor begin with “when should I…?” So, I compiled a VERY extensive list of all of my advice, broken out for buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters. If you’d prefer to just see a segmented list, click the links below for downloadable lists:
- Buyers– This is the time of year to get prepared for a busy spring! Begin by finding a Realtor that you love and ask for suggestions on lenders you could meet with. The key is to get pre-approved, determine your budget and get the pieces in place so making an offer is turnkey when you’ve found The One. Consider making suggested improvements to your credit and topping off your savings after establishing your mortgage goals. If you are desperate for a home, there are often homes that went on the market during the late fall or early holiday season that are ready for a price-drop.
- Sellers- This is your time to prepare as well. Begin interviewing agents to help you determine the value of your home, assist in suggesting repairs and getting the home ready to list. As you clean, paint and prepare your home, consider talking to your agent about a “coming soon” status approaching spring to generate interest while updates are being wrapped up. ALWAYS talk to an agent before doing major work on your home in order to sell it. There’s a chance the return might not be what you are hoping for, and a potential to over-improve your home and make it difficult to sell.
- Homeowners- Angie’s List shares that “despite the thought of working outside in the cold winter months, this is actually a good time to start an addition. Frozen ground and dry air are better for digging foundations and pouring concrete footers than muddy ground and humidity. If your foundation is completed and the room addition is framed before the rainy season, the space can be under cover during the unpredictable spring weather. You’ll likely have fewer ‘rain days’ where no one works on the construction site. In addition, the winter months tend to be less busy for builders, because everyone is waiting for spring and tax refunds to start their home projects.”
- Renters: The savings on rentals typically extend from October-April, so this is still a great time to snag a deal. Additionally, if you have a longer lead time and are anxious to start searching, consider a new construction building. Companies often want to complete projects before the busy rental season, and may offer bonuses and discounts on top of being a brand-new property.
March – May
- Buyers/sellers: This timeframe is considered the “spring market” where activity is at a peak. While you might see a higher inventory, there is also an influx of buyers ready to get outside and find their new home. You might find that intentions aren’t always serious this time of year, as buyers are curious and exploring, and sellers might be testing the waters to see if a high price will generate interest. In this fast-paced season, buyers should be prepared with a budget and your offer terms in your back pocket. Sellers, understand what you would accept and how much you could net from the sale of your home prior to being in an emotional scenario.
- Renters: Keep in mind that rentals often require 60 day’s notice if you choose to end your lease or pursue another rental. I have in many cases been left paying to break a lease or trying to fill a vacancy because I got excited about a new home, balcony or pool!
- Homeowners: Due to the weather, this is a better time of year to begin outdoor renovations like sidings and decks. However, this is often the busiest time for builders, so it’s probably when you’ll pay the most money for their time and for materials.
June – September
- Renters: Rents are often higher in these months when activity is high, especially in the case of a college town. Many people are looking for short term leases during summer internships or moving to new cities to begin jobs. On the flip side, there is a lot of variety and competition between apartment complexes, so discounts are not uncommon.
- Buyers/Sellers: Consider the pros and cons of listing or searching for a home during this time. You might see a great side of a property and a neighborhood, but you could also be inconvenienced by vacations and holidays.
- Homeowners: Indoor work like kitchen or bathroom remodelingis great during the summer months. Consider things like grilling outside, washing the dog in the driveway, and all of the options you have for not being cooped up inside while contractors complete work. Surprisingly, roofing projects are often done in the summer, because the roofing material needs certain higher temperatures to seal. If you have a Realtor, ask for trustworthy and reliable contractors that might be able to complete work while you are on vacation so you can avoid the inconvenience altogether!
- Buyers/Sellers: Usually if you are seeking a home or hoping to sell your home at this time of year, know that the other party is usually more serious. This is not necessarily the time for curious buyers to hit the market, or for experimenting sellers to put their homes on the market to see what would happen. People are typically more focused on family and friends, so they will be less likely to be searching or wanting people in and out of their homes. Bonus, though, beautifully decorated houses are plentiful and you can find the perfect “Christmas Tree corner” that we all secretly seek during showings.
- Homeowners: If you need a deal on home improvements and contractors, it could be worth it to consider waiting until during the holidays. Most professionals stay busy leading up to the holidays, so their schedules likely lighten up this time of year.
- Renters: This is the best time of year to snag affordable rent. According to RentHop, “one-bedroom apartments are between 2.4% and 5.4% cheaper in the winter, while two-bedroom units are between 2.3% and 5.8% more affordable. In dollar figures, that equates to between a $37 and $171 per month savings for one-bedroom rentals and between $36 and $191 for two-bedrooms.”