Should I wait until spring to buy a house? It seems to make sense. I haven’t found a house yet, there’s not a lot to look at, I don’t want to move in lousy weather and all the holidays are coming up. I’m stressed out enough.
Sounds like a typical home buyer at this time of year, doesn’t it? You might view this as self serving but waiting until spring is not always the best idea. Strategically, you have more leverage now than at any other time of year.
The National Association of Realtors tracks buyers. A question they ask is “Why did you decide to buy a house when you did?” The #1 answer has nothing to do with the market – it has to do with personal choice.
Home buyers bought their home because they felt it was the right time. So if you thought it was the right time before, why isn’t it the right time now? This question is why many home buyers have a nagging doubt about ending their home search and waiting until spring.
You’re right – waiting until Spring has some definite advantages. There are more homes on the market, the weather is nicer and it’s a lot easier to see the exterior when it isn’t covered by snow or falling leaves. But in the spring there are many more buyers out so you have much more competition; sellers typically have the advantage in springtime.
This year waiting can definitely hurt you with rising mortgage rates. Two weeks ago rates were 3.5%; now they’re 4% and moving higher as I write this. No one has a perfect view of the future but it’s not realistic to expect rates to do anything but go up and that costs you more every month.
So the answer to the annual question of Should I wait until spring? is No. My advice is to keep looking. I know holidays are hectic but go out and look a few times over the next 7 weeks. You might catch more of a bargain at the end of this year than you will in April or May.