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Posted in: Buying a home, Selling a home

Is fall the best time to buy and sell a home?

fall buyer seller tips

While you’ve undoubtedly heard about spring market frenzy, you may not know what to expect when buying or selling a home in the fall. Many find that buying and selling in autumn is less stressful and allows them to use the winter to build a feeling of home.

Here are insights you can use as you consider buying or selling a home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin this fall.

Something’s in the air

Before we get into the market numbers, let’s discuss what Edina Realty regional manager Marge Kane calls “the fall feeling.” Whether you’ve lived in the Midwest your whole life or recently moved here, you’ll notice that as the air and leaves get crisper, everything seems a little smoother than it did in the summer. (Even attending three soccer games on the weekend feels refreshing when you have a flannel blanket and a warm cup of coffee on the sidelines.)

Similarly, fall just feels like a great time to start over in a new home. “Many buyers have mentioned that they love moving into a new home in fall because it’s the right time for a fresh start. Plus, when you move in the fall, you get to spend your winter ‘nesting’ and really making a home your own. If you buy in the spring, you’re more likely to be outside and less likely to paint, decorate or organize for the long-term during those first few months of homeownership,” explains Kane.

Digging into the numbers

Fall may feel like the right time to move, but what do the housing market numbers say?

Annual national market trends show that since 1999, the most popular months for home sales are May, June, July and August; comparatively, November, December, January and February tend to be the slowest months for real estate activity, according to information published by the National Association of REALTORS®. Generally speaking, real estate activity moderates in autumn months as renters stay put and families with children avoid changing school districts mid-year.

While spring and summer are known as the peak times in the market, the housing market doesn’t hibernate when the leaves start to turn colors. In these more moderate sales months, motivated buyers and sellers tend to work toward straightforward, mutually beneficial transactions.

What fall sellers should expect

Sellers with homes under the $300,000 price point will likely still see a flurry of showings after they list, given the high demand for the limited inventory of homes for sale in this price point. Sellers with higher-priced homes should neither expect a bidding war nor lowball bids; in 2019, the average seller has recouped at least 97% of their original list price.

In the fall, open houses and showings are usually attended by serious buyers. This could mean that you see less in-person traffic than you would if you listed in April, but you’ll also host fewer “looky-loos” who are unlikely to make an offer. Selling in the fall could also mean a faster path to closing, as your buyers likely have a reason to be entering the market at this time and may be motivated to get settled before the holidays.

Remember, today’s buyers are discerning and have high standards. Sellers should work to build curb appeal and fix up the interior of their home to show pride of ownership before listing their homes for sale.

What fall buyers should expect

Above all, buyers can expect more buying power! Low, low interest rates make it a great time to be a buyer (the best time in years, in fact). If you were pre-approved for a loan before the interest rates fell in early August, you may want to ask your mortgage consultant to run the numbers again. Even a small dip in interest rates can lead to a boost in buying power.

Buyers who attend open houses will see that they are less crowded than in the spring and summer months. This could mean that you have less competition, or it could mean the competition is fierce, with a small pool of equally motivated buyers. Your Realtor will provide deep insights on what to expect given the inventory and desirability of your selected neighborhood and price point.

Should buyers be worried about a recession?

Would-be buyers may be wary as whispers of a potential recession grow louder. It’s important to remember that after the last market downturn, stricter mortgage standards were put into place to help ensure responsible borrowing and lending. When you apply for a mortgage, your mortgage consultant will help you understand how to build a responsible buying budget that takes into account your goals and retirement plans.

Last, unemployment is another factor that tends to help predict market shifts. For now, unemployment remains low in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Thinking of getting started?

As you can see, the fall is about more than pumpkin-flavored treats and bagging up that ever-growing leaf pile. If you’re thinking of buying a home or are ready to put your property on the market, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent to get started. Our local experts have all the insights and expertise you need to close during the fall season.

For even more insights on the process of home buying or selling, follow #BuyerInsights and #SellerInsights on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings