Fall in Love with the Fall Real Estate Season

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

If you feel you’ve missed out on the spring real estate market because either you didn’t find the perfect home to buy or have yet to sell your current property, don’t despair! As most of the kids are back in school and the holidays are not quite around the corner, there are some who feel that autumn is the second-best time for home sales.

Certainly, it has long been shown that spring into summer tends to be the hottest time for real estate transactions (pun intended). But in reality, there are 365 days a year available to sell or buy a home. While fall may be more of a challenge for buyers and sellers with school age children, there are advantages for both parties during this “off” time of year.

Sellers will find there are more intentional buyers who are interested in purchasing, not just touring available homes. Fall buyers are often in decision-making mode, especially if they’ve been through a spring and summer of not finding the “right” house or losing their choice properties to more aggressive buyers. Sellers may also find that buyers are more motivated to get out of their temporary accommodations whether they be an apartment or their in-law’s basement. Many people also desire to be in a new home and settled before the busy holiday season starts.

Sellers may be able to realize tax breaks. The closer to December 31 you close, the more property tax you pay. This can be a positive thing so long as you itemize deductions on your tax return and fall under the new 2018 thresholds. The good news is that the median sales price in the nine-county Chicago area is up 4.3 percent in 2018 and houses are selling faster this year (47 days average) than last year (53 days average).

Fall also offers a time for beautiful curb appeal – mums and marigolds are low-maintenance and an easy way to spruce things up. Holiday staging, MODEST holiday staging, gives sellers the opportunity to show how warm and inviting their home can be. If you have children, by fall they are back in school so it is easier to stage the house and keep it clean for showings. And, looking forward, listing your home in the fall gives you a head start on next year’s busy spring season.

Buyers will notice a different sort of inventory between new fall listings and properties that didn’t sell during the spring and summer season. They will also find motivated sellers who are ready to move on to the next phase of their lives and, subsequently, the ability to negotiate pricing will be more prevalent.

Buying in the fall allows you to take advantage of retailers’ year-end sales to purchase items for your new home. Lawn equipment tends to go on sale towards the end of summer as do grills and outdoor furniture. Early deals on shovels and snowblowers tend to crop up as well. And, if nothing else, cooler weather provides a more pleasant home shopping experience.

Both sides of the transaction will experience less competition so sellers will find there is more dedicated attention given to their property and buyers will find fewer people who might out-bid them or get their offer in first. During the fall and winter, real estate transactions tend to go more quickly since fewer loans are being processed and there are fewer inspections and closings to facilitate. And taking advantage of the slower time gives both buyers and sellers better access to movers and special “off-season” discount offers from moving and storage companies.

There also tend to be different buyer demographics in the fall which may or may not work in your favor. Corporate relocations, empty-nesters, and people without school-age children to concern themselves with often wait for the busy summer season to close before beginning their house hunting.

As the U.S. housing market continues to grow, the overall outlook is positive. Zillow is predicting a seller’s market as, nationally, inventory is a bit tight and home owners are becoming reluctant to leave the safety of an established home without assurances they’ll have somewhere to go. As a result, home sales are expected to rise nationally and, whether it is in the midst of a traditionally slow or quick sales season, opportunities abound for both sellers and buyers looking to move on to their next home.

Looking to sell or buy a property this fall? Contact me today to schedule an appointment!