Many of us have vague notions of the best time of year to buy or sell a home (two sides of the same coin). I’ve always heard that winter was a tough season to sell in, parents enjoy moving less when the kids are in school, and in the Northern reaches of our country, most people would prefer moving in a t-shirt and jeans as opposed to doing so in a snowstorm. My experience has seemed to confirm this, but is that only because I have been expecting it to?
RealtyTrac.com put forever to rest such questions, with a five-year study where they analyzed over 32 million sales to find when the largest discounts were given. Here’s what they found:
- October is the best month to buy at a discount. Numbers don’t lie, but I was shocked that this was not December. With the holidays, response to my Direct Mail to buy houses drops dramatically. Apparently, people still sell their houses to somebody in December, just not to me
- .Monday is the greatest day of the week for discount. Another surprise, since offers that come in on Monday generally include those sent on Sunday if the brokerage is closed that day.
- The very best day of the year to buy a house, according to over 32 million sales, is October 8th. RealtyTrac has several guesses as to why this is, and they undoubtedly beat any that I could venture.
This information is of huge importance to real estate investors. When it is hardest to sell a house , it is easiest for us to buy at a price or terms that make financial sense. Conversely, if we buy and rehab a house for re-sale, we should know if it is the best or very worst time of the year, and adjust our timelines and business models accordingly. If I have to make payments on an empty house while it sits on the market for six months rather than two, shouldn’t I ensure that my business plan and cash flow projections reflect additional holding costs?
Lou Gimbutis, owner of Property Solutions, LLC, www.SoldCarolina.com and www.123EscapeForeclosure.com, has been buying and selling houses full-time since 2004, first in Michigan, then after moving to NC in 2007. He serves as Director of Education for the Metrolina Real Estate Investor’s Association.