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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. Below 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 your first few months of homeownership,” explains Kane.

Looky-loos need not apply

When there’s an open house on every corner in the spring, dozens of “looky-loos” may attend just out of curiosity. In most cases, they plan to buy eventually, but are just starting to dip their toes in the water and aren’t ready to make an offer. This kind of interest can be hard for both buyers and sellers. Buyers may assume a home is going to get dozens of offers, even if that’s not the case. Sellers might think the same—and may be less excited if they only get one offer instead of multiples.

Because fall may be a less popular time to buy or sell a home, open houses and showings are usually for serious buyers. This could mean a less competitive market for buyers—your REALTOR® will provide deep insights on what to expect given the inventory and desirability of your selected neighborhood.

For sellers, selling in the fall could mean a faster path to closing, as your buyers likely have a reason to be entering the market in this less common time.

Digging into the numbers

Of course, we know that buying and selling in the fall is also greatly affected by inventory and buyer demand, so let’s look into the data trends.

The numbers show that sellers have a great opportunity to sell in the fall. In 2014, an average of about 5,000 homes were sold in the 13-county metro area during each summer month of June, July and August. Comparably, an average of 3,700 homes were sold in each fall month—September, October and November. 2013 pending sales numbers showed a similar trend (Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors). 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.

Additionally, home sales have been on the rise in 2015, hitting a near 10-year high in April. Typically in autumn months, there are still many great choices for buyers, and sellers often find themselves competing against fewer listings, so it’s a great time to be on either side of the closing table.

This fall, inventory has been building to offer more choices for buyers, but some popular cities and neighborhoods may still attract multiple offers as buyers compete over the same property. To best prepare for the buying conditions, your Realtor can provide insights and market statistics specific to an area. They can also help set expectations surrounding selection and competition.

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 today to get started. Our local experts have all the insights and expertise you need to close during the fall season.

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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.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings