Yes, there may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers out there competing for the same home you want. That gives buyers an important advantage. Families in a hurry to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture, and competition for houses drops off in the fall: a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale – and in many cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer months.
The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your realtor can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the riffraff.
If you are a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, you may get a nice write off on your taxes. Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole years’ worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December. Any interest payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a big difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.
There are also possible tax breaks for home sellers. You can include all sorts of selling costs in the cost basis of your house. If you have less of a gain, you are more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if your gain isn’t excluded, you will pay taxes on less, and that is just the beginning. Closing costs and home improvements may also be write offs for sellers.
*Home for the holidays
Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits. Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.
*The right price
Did you list in the spring or summer with an overpriced number because it was a hot market? Whether you’ve had a revelation about the price you should be asking, or have made updates to your home to validate a higher price, you are probably in better shape to get your asking price in the fall. If you are a seller and you create a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling, while others just sit.
Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget – because when there is less competition for homes.
*Great deals on stuff to fix up your home
If you coordinate the timing right, those items that are essential to fix up your home to sale in the fall, or upgrade after a purchase, might be priced to your advantage. Check Consumer Reports for a full list of the best times of year to buy everything, and keep in mind holiday and Black Friday sales. You could score some great deals this time of year.