Real estate seasonal trends can be as unique to a city as the trees are to geographic locations. Most people do not think that the time of year they buy or sell a home matter. Other's may feel there are certain good and bad months. Let me share with you my thoughts regarding the season of real estate in Greater Columbia SC.
Each season has it's strengths and weaknesses. Let me give you a sample of what you may receive in some of the different seasons of the real estate market.
Winter: (November - February).
This is my favorite time of the year. I heavily encourage buyers to time their purchases if they can in these months. Specifically late November to December. This is the ending of a lot of financial quarters. Builders may be focusing on yearly goals and want their financials to be as positive as possible going into the next year. Banks also want to show fewer foreclosures on the books and want to avoid houses experiencing burst pipes and flooding situations.
In Columbia, the majority of home builders provide incentives to begin at the end of October. Agents can also earn incentives to find clients for these homes so everyone is more motivated to make deals happen. This is the time of the year to buy with equity. Sellers can still capitalize on resales because there are fewer homes on the market. The less competition is a good thing when you are selling your home.
Note: While it is not fun to have your home shown during the holidays these showings can easily lead to a sold home. People who visit family in town may have a motivation to move home and the holidays may be the only days off they are in town and looking at homes.
Pro's: Best Deals in New Construction & Foreclosures. Fewer clients but they tend to be more serious.
Con's: Less inventory to look at. Closing process can be frustrating because around Thanksgiving and Christmas because of vacations. With foreclosures, make certain you have enough time to close.
Spring (March - April)
Home sellers are very optimistic about selling their home around this time. This is when we see a lot of homes being sold as FSBO (For Sale by Owner). They know that if they do not sell at first they will have some of the strongest months for contracts in June & July.
You will find that first time home buyers have just completed their taxes and receiving their refund checks. They are focused on making wise financial decisions. Many people wait until the summer to list their homes but I would encourage to be one of the early homes on the market so you can close right before summer begins.
Pro's: New Homes are on the market.
Con's: Seller's often want more than their house is work. Buyer's may want to look at more homes and buy closer to summer.
Summer (May - August)
People love moving in the hot summer months to avoid a break in school. Sports tend to be out. School is out. People take more vacations from work. However, this is the time of the year where both buyers and sellers face the most competition. Knowing the market value is very important because buyers can find themselves in bidding wars and sellers can be underpriced by the neighbor who HAS to sell.
This is the busiest time of the year for a reason but I would encourage people to plan on adjusting time frame to Spring or Winter if price is the most importance. If convenience and the least interruption of your life is the main criteria then Summer makes sense.
FYI: You will see less contracts occuring in August. This is because the closing process takes 30 - 45 days to close once a buyer and seller agree to a contract. August is a strong month for closings but not for new contracts. You will begin to hear the news talk about lower loan applications and fewer new construction starts. This is normal. May - July are the heavier months for contracts and June - August are the months for closings.
Pro's: Lots of inventory. Most contracts and closings. Potentially least amount of life disruption. Easiest time to both sell and buy.
Con's: Both buyers and sellers have the most competition. It is important to have your agent share with you the market value and have a good agent who can close deals, negotiate best terms, and give you a 1-2 day head start which can make all the difference.
Fall (September - October)
This is a great month for retirees but slow month for growing younger families. For families, they become very busy in September getting back in a routine. School starts along with all the various activities. Also, the homes on the market tend to be the leftovers from the summer. These houses may be priced high or not in the same condition as the homes which sold ahead of them. October new inventory becomes available. While there are fewer buyers and sellers they tend to be more serious.
Pro's: Less chance of being in multiple offers. Beautiful weather to view homes. Excellent time to be prepared and pounce on the perfect opportunity in either the fall or winter.
Con's: Less homes and buyers for sale in the 4/2.1 2200+ square footage category.
Note: New construction can take 6 months to close. Some builders faster others slower. This means a contract in Fall means a closing in Spring.
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