When is the best time to start looking for a new home? The answer really depends on you—where you are in your life, the status of your financial situation, and how the move will impact your daily life. Hunter Quinn Homes works with so many different homebuyers and we see that timing can be essential to the outcome. There are benefits to shopping for a home in certain months, but you first need to look more closely at yourself.
Are You Ready to Start House Hunting?
There are plenty of home options out there, and you should narrow down your preferences so you can zero in on those that fit your lifestyle. For example, are you prepared to take on the responsibilities of home maintenance, like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and doing repairs? It can get costly and time-consuming if you buy a home that is going to need special attention.
The alternative to home maintenance is to buy a townhome. With a townhome, you have the style of a 2-story home, often including a garage and a small yard. However, the exterior maintenance is covered by your HOA fee. If the roof needs repair, you make a call and get it done, without any additional expense. Townhomes represent a “lock and leave” lifestyle that is a perfect fit for busy people who want the rewards of home ownership with fewer responsibilities.
The other option for those people who aren’t quite ready to tackle home repairs is to purchase a new construction home. You start brand new, with warranties that cover everything from the structure and the system to the floors and appliances. In addition, a new home reflects the latest advances in homebuilding—improvements that contribute to the durability, comfort, and performance.
Emotionally, you might be prepared to get out and look at some homes. It’s a fun experience, and can provide valuable inspiration. But there’s a difference between browsing and buying. The first could quickly lead to the second step, so you should also be financially prepared to buy a home when you begin the search.
The best way to start the journey to home ownership is to talk to a mortgage lender. Review the mortgage programs available to you. There are plenty of options, even for those buyers who don’t have a large down payment or a stellar credit score. The home loan pre-approval process is easy to do and shows you how much and what type of mortgage you qualify for. You then receive a pre-approval letter that tells any seller you’re a serious and qualified homebuyer. The letter should be included with any offer you submit.
The Best Time to Look
During spring and summer, you’ll have a larger pool to choose from because there are more homes on the market. There’s also more competition because people prefer to get out and tour homes during the pleasant weather.
Do you have specific items on your wish list for a new home? If so, you should start house-hunting in the spring or summer when you have a larger inventory to choose from. You can be pickier when you have more homes to consider.
For homebuyers who also need to sell their current home, utilize the larger crowd of homebuyers in spring and summer to sell your home more quickly.
If you have school-age children, it’s better to move in the summer so they can start in their new school at the beginning of the semester. Plus, if you settle in soon enough, your kids have a chance to meet others in the area and make friends before school starts.
Fall and winter generally present a narrower choice as fewer people list their homes at this time of year. However, the sellers are often very motivated to sell in the colder weather. They’ve put their home on the market because of a driving need, like job relocation or a family change.
Movers are often more available in the fall and winter, because fewer people are calling on them. Use this knowledge to negotiate a better rate and obtain the moving date you want, not one of the limited ones available.
First-time homebuyers who have tighter financial constraints might fare better by waiting till the crowd of spring and summer shoppers have thinned out. But don’t rule out spring and summer home shopping, particularly with homebuilders. Some will offer special incentives, like credit toward closing costs, which could strengthen your buying power. Hunter Quinn Homes is currently offering $15,000 in incentives on brand new townhomes at Tributary at The Park at Rivers Edge. Apply the $15,000 toward the down payment, closing costs, or to buy down the interest rate. We also offer up to $3,000 in closing cost credits in many of our other communities.
"We got to work with Chad, Aimee, Courtney and Jay. They made the process of home buying so simple and were accommodating to our every need. As first time home buyers, it was comforting knowing we had a great team to rely on."