Real estate poll results: The time (of year) to buy
Photograph of Massachusetts scene from Library of Congress collection, via Flickr
Home sales drop as the weather turns cold, but does that mean people actively dislike buying in the winter?
I asked you in the most recent Wonk poll, and some of you said yes. But -- take heart, ye would-be sellers contemplating the arrival of the slow season -- not the majority.
The most popular answer, with 39 percent of the vote, was "time of year doesn't matter to me" when it comes to buying or selling a home.
Twenty-two percent of you opted for "anytime except winter." On the other hand, seven percent prefer winter over any other season for buying or selling.
Seventeen percent prefer spring.
Ten percent prefer summer.
And five percent prefer fall.
As MrRational noted in a comment on the poll:
For those who have options... the most common of considerations are schools (at least having a contract before the school year begins) balanced against weather; to not have to do the actual move during snow and ice and cold.
Working backwards from that... snoop, show and negotiate in the spring when every property will look it's best then settle and move at the end of June and be all tucked into place by August before you go to the beach.
JB commented, "Since I don't have school age kids school doesn't matter but I wouldn't move in November or December because of the holidays. Of the 2 houses that I bought I have moved in March & June."
Joseph Eamon Cummins, author of Not One Dollar More!, suggests in an online piece that winter is a good time to buy a home precisely because buyers aren't out in force. In winter's "withered leaves, patchy and lifeless grass, damp and grubby pathways, and few, if any, flowers," he sees the potential for better bargains:
In a nutshell, winter buyers recognize that negatives are often positives in disguise. And dreariness and darkness and wetness and clutter and other such enthusiasm killers can function excellently as the bases for making low offers. Then, negotiating strongly for a big price reduction.
Were you one of the few "I prefer winter" folks? What do you like about it as a time to buy or sell?