The Best Time of the Year to BUY/SELL Real Estate

The best time of the year to buy/sell real estate IS… Let me give you the pros and cons of buying and selling during the different seasons of the year.

Winter
:  lower supply and demand as people are on vacation, Realtors have met their quotas of which many are also on vacation, generally a slower time of the year for real estate

  • For Buyers:  The sellers that have their houses on the market are serious sellers.  Who else would list their property in generally the slowest time of the year.  Fewer buyers out there, so less competition and potentially a good chance to get a good deal on a property.
    • Pros:  Slow time of year, chance of getting a good deal!
    • Cons:  Slow time of year, less selection in the market.
  • For Sellers:  Fewer sellers, so less options for buyers to choose from.  If you list it now, you’re generally not going to be dealing with flaky buyers as serious buyers are the ones who are in the market for a home even in the slowest time of the year.
    • Pros:  Only serious buyers out there, less competition as there’s fewer sellers out there
    • Cons:  Slow time of year, many people on vacation, bad weather.

Spring:  generally the hottest time of the year to buy and sell.

  • For Buyers:  Spring is the time when there’s the most inventory out in the market.  If you’re a picky buyer, you’ll have the greatest chance of finding the property you’re looking for during this time.
    • Pros:  Lots of selection, perfect if you’re picky or love to shop around!
    • Cons:  Too many buyers out there, lots of competing buyers out there.  If you’ve ever lost a bidding war on eBay, you know how it feels.
  • For Sellers:  Just like demand and supply, you want to list your property when there are tonnes of buyers out there, which is during the Spring.
    • Pros:  It’s the hottest time of the year, when most buyers are out there, beginning of good weather.
    • Cons:  Great time to sell, but other sellers think the same way too, so expect a lot of other sellers competing to sell their place as well!

Summer:  Great weather, teachers and students on break, good time to shop for real estate, many people are also on vacation.

  • For Buyers:  Everything looks better in great weather, including homes.  What better time of the year to go to open houses than in the Summer?  Many homes from the Spring are still in the market, so there’s lots of selection.
    • Pros:  Good weather, you usually take vacation in the Summer so it’s a good time to shop for homes
    • Cons:  Lots of selection, still pretty competitive market as many other buyers are out there as well.
  • For Sellers:  Everything looks better in great weather, including homes.  What better time of the year to go to open houses than in the Summer?  Some buyers like to buy older homes to tear down during this time, incorporate the permit application time and construction time, build and want to list it in the Spring or Summer.
    • Pros:  Your house looks great in the Sun!  You’ll be able to take great view pictures and it’s a great time to market your home through open houses!  Many buyers are buying to get their children into certain school catchments.
    • Cons:  Still a lot of sellers out there, so the competition is still high.

Fall:  Many parents got their children into schools and are now free to go house shopping.  Still good amount of inventory out there.

  • For Buyers:  Good selection for buyers out there.
    • Pros:  Some sellers still trying to get their kids in certain school catchments are in a rush to sell.
    • Cons:  Not as much selection as the Spring and sellers who didn’t get any action during the Spring and Summer might take their homes off the market for a bit.
  • For Sellers:  some buyers like to buy older homes to tear down during this time, incorporate the permit application time and construction time, build and want to list it in the Spring or Summer
    • Pros:  Many buyers have come back from vacation and are back to their real estate search
    • Cons:  Some buyers are busy with getting their children settled at their schools so don’t have that much time.  Rainy Fall season in Vancouver and it’s getting colder isn’t that attractive for buyers to go house shopping.

OVERALL:  the best time to buy or sell IS when you feel ready to buy or sell.  Some of what I wrote above were generalizations and there’s always good deals at all times of the year and it’s always a good time to sell.

For Sellers:  Sometimes you think it’s a bad time to sell because comparable properties are selling at a lower price, but if you have a good reason to sell, don’t put it off.  Your loss is not necessarily the money you lose on the sale, but the opportunity cost (the value of what you gave up because you sell it).  Ex:  You want to sell in order to move into your dream neighborhood.  You delay because you can’t get the price you want.  But don’t forget, by the time you get the price you want, you may have wasted a lot of precious time (something you can’t get back) and when you want to buy in that dream neighborhood, prices over there will likely have risen over time too, so you got more for your home, but you’ll have to pay more for the home you’ll end up buying.

For Buyers:  Buyers often say a property is expensive compared to how much homes were going for years ago, but don’t forget, homes will in the long run continue to increase.  Inflation, economical factors, etc are all a part of that.  You might think you’re paying “too much” for a property now, but if you think in the long run, and look back, the “premium” that you think you paid may not be so much of a premium by then.  Ex:  20 yrs ago, $1/L of gas may have been super expensive, but now, $1/L of gas is a bargain.  Again, think of opportunity cost.  Time is something that you can’t get back.

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