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Seasons in Real Estate

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As REALTOR®s we often receive questions about the best time of year to buy or sell real estate. Conventional wisdom has two answers to this question. The more general response of “hot weather, hot market; cold weather, cold market” roughly refers to summer and winter as the yearly cycle of hot and cool markets. The other response is that there is no time like the present. There is always uncertainty if you wait, and you never know what the future will hold (abnormal weather, natural disasters, political turmoil, and national or international economic conditions), so this can be valuable advice for people who find themselves hemming and hawing or overthinking themselves into a rut.

Both answers have merits…

Both answers have their merits, but both can also be flat out wrong, especially if the agent issuing the advice does not have sufficient knowledge of the local market on which to base it. There are simply too many exceptions based on all sorts of factors that can skew the market in your area one way or another. Your area may have seasonal opposites, such as in Phoenix, AZ, where more homes are bought and sold in the cooler winter months because people want to avoid moving during the hot summer months. In some locations the economy revolves around the change of seasons, such as a winter ski resort where thousands of people arrive for winter activities, and then leave as the resort shuts down for the summer months, taking the real estate market with them. In University towns the market may revolve around the school year starting and stopping. There are also places with temperate weather that see very little or no difference between seasons, such as areas of southern California.

There are so many additional factors at play that you simply can’t rely on general state or national trends to inform such an important decision. The best thing you can do is to engage a talented REALTOR® to guide you and help you make the best decisions for your goals.

Colorado Springs area…

Our area, Colorado Springs, is home to several large army and air force installations. The market here is assisted by service members constantly PCS-ing (permanent change of station) in and out of the four military bases in our city. This keeps the market more active during the winter months than it might otherwise be. A REALTOR® here might advise a buyer who is not in a hurry to avoid the intense competition of peak buying season and look for a deal in the slower winter months. Inventory will be lower, but so will prices, and you will likely get much more attention from your REALTOR®. By ignoring the “inconvenience” of winter weather and not buying when everyone else is buying, the buyer will have fewer competing offers and a better chance of winning the perfect home. But they will also have fewer homes to choose from. In this situation a REALTOR® with connections to the military community who knows who is PCS-ing and when can give this advice with confidence because they know the market will still be active come winter, and that they can use their contacts and area knowledge to win them a home.

If you sell a home at the bottom of the market…

On the other hand, if your plan is to upgrade (or downgrade) you can view the market a little differently. For instance, if you sell a home at the bottom of the market and buy another it will be reflected in both prices. The same for selling and buying at the top of the market; you will likely sell your home for a higher price, but you will also have to pay a higher price for your new home. Some investors will use this discrepancy to their advantage by buying a home while the market is suppressed, and then sell it at a profit when the market is hot. This is a good strategy for investors, but a bad strategy for people who intend to live in the property. For example, if you were to sell your home at the peak of the market and then wait until the market bottoms out to buy again you might earn a bit more and spend a bit less, but you will also have nowhere to live in the interim time between sales.

Find local knowledge and experience…

In short, there are too many exceptions for either answer to be considered truly good advice. The best way to navigate seasonal real estate is to find a local REALTOR® with the knowledge and experience to guide you towards your goals while avoiding the pitfalls of seasonal real estate, such as the experienced professionals at Sellstate Alliance Realty, who are happy to be that guide and partner, or to answer any questions you might have.

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At Sellstate Alliance Realty & Property Managment, we are proud to serve Colorado Springs as a Real Estate Brokerage and management company. We put our clients FIRST, and serve our community with compassion & excellence.

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