Home Buying Uncovered: Making the Most of an Off-Season Market

Feb 02, 2024
Learn the advantages of home buying during the off season

Did you know there is a certain time of the year that is better for home buying? A savvy home buyer who wants to purchase a new home may find it more advantageous to look for their dream home during the off-season months for better housing options with much better negotiating power and therefore superior deals.

What Constitutes the Off-Season?

Since the prime time to buy a home is typically considered to be late spring to early September, a home buyer who is looking for a better deal should begin searching for their dream home in the off-season months of October through March. While seasonality does affect the housing markets in many areas, it may also mean a great price and less competition during non-peak buying months for a home buyer. 

Comparison of Peak Season vs. Off-peak Season for Home Buyers

There are much better deals to be had for home buyers during off-peak season vs. peak season. This is because there are ways the real estate market differs in each home buying season, making it more advantageous for home buyers to take a closer look at non-traditional home buying times to get the most bang for their buck with so much less stress.

Advantages of Buying Now

  • Attractive Mortgage Rates

    One thing for sure is that mortgage rates will definitely change throughout the year. While we have seen interest rates climb over the past several years, current mortgage rates are holding steady now, making it a great time to secure a mortgage. Buying now in the off season and refinancing later when rates fall again is an excellent long-term financial planning strategy that will allow you to buy when home prices are lower instead of waiting.

  • Less Buyer Competition

    A smart home buyer understands the market conditions and the benefits that can be reaped when the competition is lower in the non-peak home buying season. Since many buyers wait for warmer months to start house hunting, there will be fewer offers on the home you want and less chance of a bidding war, raising the odds of having your offer accepted.

  • The Art of Negotiation in a Cooler Market

    Typically, sellers who list their homes for sale during the off-season need to get their home sold quickly. This makes the art of negotiation so much easier for a home buyer who is ready to purchase. Whether they have to relocate for a job or are experiencing another life-changing event, a seller is often more willing to negotiate with a home buyer in a cooler market. They may reduce the price, help with closing costs, or include items such as appliances when negotiating during the non-peak home buying season. Here are some helpful tips about how to negotiate with sellers in a buyer-friendly real estate market.

Tips on Negotiating With Sellers in a Buyer-Friendly Housing Market

  • Choose an Experienced Realtor - Since there is typically no cost for a home buyer to work with a Realtor, it’s a savvy move to choose a real estate professional who knows the local market well, so they can negotiate on your behalf for the best deal during non-peak home buying season. 

  • Ask for Closing Costs – In addition to securing a good deal on the home, consider asking for closing costs as a way of lowering your cost of the house. Since typical closing costs are around 3% to 6% of the loan, asking the seller to pay for some of the expense is a great negotiating tool during the off-season when offers are hard to come by. 

  • Offer Less for the Home – When you have a buyer’s market in the off season, offering as much as 10% below asking price is acceptable. If you see that the home needs repairs after viewing the inspection report, try negotiating up to 20% off the price, instead. If the seller is motivated and needs to sell quickly, this can open the conversation for the best deal and start the negotiations to get the home sold. 


Financial Preparation and Budgeting for a Home Purchase

The importance of a good credit score for a home buyer should not be underestimated. A good payment history is key for the best mortgage rates and quick mortgage approval. Being financially prepared to buy a home starts with a good credit score, and it is never too early to start building your credit to prepare to buy a home. Once you are ready to actually start looking at homes to buy, it’s time to get pre-approved for a mortgage at your local credit union. When a potential home buyer is pre-approved by their mortgage lender to become a home buyer, it shows sellers that you are serious about buying their home and have been deemed trustworthy and responsible enough to make the purchase. 

Long-Term Considerations

When it comes to real estate, current market decisions can have a great impact on your future financial stability. Buying a home in a less competitive market gives you an edge that those who wait until home buying season miss out on. Since there will be fewer home buyers to compete with, chances are better that your offer will be accepted. Not only are you more likely to get your dream home, but you are also more likely to get it at a better price. Less competition during the off-season means less stressful negotiations with home sellers, a better deal for you, and a chance to build equity faster, enabling you to meet your long-term financial goals sooner.

Take Advantage of Off Season Home Buying with the Help of Finex

The off-season market is a golden opportunity for savvy buyers to find their dream home at a great value. With less competition and more room for negotiation, this is an ideal time to make a strategic move. Before diving in, consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage with Finex Credit Union. This not only demonstrates your seriousness to sellers but also ensures you're financially prepared to seize this unique opportunity. Embrace the off-peak season and let it be the springboard to your home-buying success. If you have questions about home buying, don’t hesitate to contact us today!