A lot of people talk about the spring being the most popular home buying season. But with the markets being crazy across the country during the summer, summer has become the time for people to find their dream home. And there are plenty of strategies to actually land the one you want and get a good deal.
“Some sellers won’t put their house on the market until summer because it shows better. The green grass, leaves on the trees and blooming flowers photograph and show so much better than in early spring when everything is still brown or there is snow on the ground,” said Amy Hulsey, broker associate at Kentwood Real Estate/ Cherry Creek in Denver. “Summer is definitely the buying season.”
Here are some tips and perks for home shopping in the summer months and how you can actually get your dream home even homes are selling quickly.
Prices might go down
Plenty of homeowners put their homes on the market in the spring and some of those homes won’t sell by the summer. Look for homes on real estate websites that have been listed since spring. The sellers might be more persuaded to lower the price if they haven’t had any interest in a few months.
Easier to check out neighborhoods
In the summer people are outside having fun, fixing up their yard and painting their tool sheds. You can witness how people take care of their lawns (or not). The kids are out and about in the cul de sac or nearby parks. It’s a great time to check out your dream neighborhood for safety, community activities and friendliness of people.
Get a preapproval before doing anything
If you don’t have the verified information that your lender needs to say yes to a loan then your bid on a home probably won’t be selected.
“When I call a listing agent and confirm that my client is fully qualified to buy a certain house and has turned in their W-2s and tax returns, that make my client much more solid than someone that hasn’t gone through that process,” she says.
Take another look at fixer-uppers
The orange carpet in the basement is truly ugly and outdated, but the rest of the house is amazing. Yet Hulsey has seen people pass up on great houses because they can’t get past the cosmetic things that wouldn’t be that hard or expensive to change.
“If a home has good bones, a fairly new roof and modern HVAC systems, the orange carpet can be replaced for $4,000 or less,” she says. “Buyers can get a great deal on a home that others pass by. Buyers and agents need to do some research on how much certain home improvements cost.”
Know the market
By understanding the housing market in the area you hope to buy in, you will know when a house is overpriced or underpriced.
“Sometimes, it’s just a listing agent that doesn’t know what they are doing or the seller has a psychological reason why they priced it so high. Many times, they decide to lower the price after 30 to 60 days on the market when they haven’t gotten any offers,” Hulsey explains.
Purchase price doesn’t mean much
The terms of a contract are just as important as the purchase price, says Hulsey. A desperate buyer might offer $250,000 but the price was only $200,000. That client is also taking out a 97 percent conventional loan which requires only 3 percent down.
“I would much rather take the offer from a buyer who offers $205,000 and said they will pay the $5,000 difference, instead of a buyer who can’t pay a big difference.”
Don’t bother sellers with minor repairs
An inspection will uncover big things that need to be fixed before you can move into a home, but to get a house you really want, you might want to write into the offer that you will handle all the minor repairs.
“That’s how you win a contract in a hot market. It can be a little scary, but it gets the sellers to take notice,” she says.
Summer home shopping can be pleasant
You can wear your flip-flops and shorts to go view as many houses as you want instead of bundling up in coats and hats during the fall and winter. You might even get to walk down to the neighborhood ice cream truck and stroll check out the neighborhood with a Popsicle.
There could be less inventory
The housing market sometimes slows down in certain areas during the end of summer because families are taking that last vacation before school starts. They don’t want to have to move in the middle of a school year and uproot their kids, so they take their homes off the market for the time being. But there are still plenty of homes to choose from, and some new listings may even pop up. People have to move for a variety of reasons.
“If you are a smart buyer, you will consider buying a house in all four seasons,” Hulsey says.