Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a veteran real estate investor, if you’re thinking about buying a home in summer, one indomitable fact will present itself: with the nicer weather comes increased competition for the home you want.
In fact, considerations such as “which is the best to month to buy a home” are often pointless during the summer months. If you find the property you want, you need to do what you can to ensure you secure that property.
And yet, many summer homebuyers approach the process just as they would any other time of year and miss out on that resident (or investment) opportunity they’re searching for. But what they don’t know is that many of the mistakes they made buying real estate in the summer could have, and should have, been avoided.
Here are three key mistakes to avoid when buying a home in summer that will boost your chances to land the home (or investment property) of your dreams.
Secrets To Buying A Home In Summer
Mistake #1: Going in With Blinders On
There are many good reasons for buying a home in summer: The weather is ideal, there’s less interruption for the kids, and, with foliage in full bloom, each would-be property looks its absolute best.
But there are factors that make buying a home in summer challenging. Namely, elevated prices and an even more elevated level of competition for the properties you want. As you pound the pavement looking for your next property, you may encounter bidding wars and high-pressure situations in which you’re forced to act quicker than you might like.
Contrary to popular opinion, summer is not the boon of plentiful inventory it used to be. The last decade has seen low-inventory rates during summer, even in the most unlikely of markets. Couple that with the fact many homebuyers are navigating their own home selling experience at the very same time they are looking to purchase a new property, and buying a home during summer can be one of the most stressful and frustrating experiences you can engage in.
Though there’s no magic pill that can eradicate these conditions, it’s important to focus on what you can control in the summer homebuying process: your loan application, your credit worthiness, your budget. Try not to give too much energy or focus to the things you can’t control; your sanity (and homebuying prospects) will be better for it.
Mistake #2: Not Being Ready to close
If there’s one rule to the real estate seasonality of summer homebuying, it’s that there’s “little time for blinking.” The ability to take quick, decisive action is vital in any homebuying environment, and this is doubly true during the summer months.
This means doing the following:
- Be prepared to make offers quickly: Know your budget and what you’re comfortable offering before you get into the nuts-and-bolts of looking for a home.
- Don’t expect a lengthy negotiation: With low inventories and added competition, it’s likely you’ll get push-back on a request to the the seller to lower the price.
- Know your wish list: Are there features you have to have in a property? Is there a location (or two) that are deal-breakers in your home search? Know ahead of time what your homebuying priorities are so you can churn out those offers quicker than the competition.
- Begin with the end in mind: Do you want to move in before the kids start school in late August? Do you want to enjoy your first Labor Day barbecue in your new home? Well, it may take months to finalize a home purchase, so start looking earlier than anticipated.
Mistake #3: Missing the Warning Signs
Summer is a pleasant time to look for a home, but the warm, dry weather can mask serious problems under the “hood” of your potential property acquisitions.
For one, summer weather can hide moisture problems that may exist in a home. This can be countered by examining doors and window frames to ensure there’s no warping, swelling or large gaps that let unwanted moisture and air into the property.
Another area to look at are walls and ceiling. Check for watermarks and don’t forget to look for hints of mold or mildew that are warning signs there may be something more serious going on in the house.
This whole cursory examination shouldn’t be relegated solely to the interior of the property. Be sure to walk around the outside of the home; discolored patches of grass — surrounded by green — can indicate issues that need to be addressed. Though most homebuyers won’t do this, stooping down and taking in a quick whiff underneath the house will often tell you more about a property than an open-house info sheet.
Most of these warning signs should be noticed during a thorough home inspection. (Please, oh please, don’t skip the home inspection!) Speed is a crucial part of your homebuying repertoire, and the more time and energy you spend on properties that won’t end up satisfying you — or have serious structural issues — is time and energy that could have been spent on something far more to your liking.
Making the Math Work
Buying a home in summer is not like an algebra equation, where (x + y) always equals (z). Buying real estate in summer is more of a calculus operation, making sure the different variables — such as location, price, budget and timeline — all coalesce into a result that fits your need.
If you’re able to focus on that, and not get bogged down in the stress of homebuying in summer, you might find outpacing the competition for summer inventory easier than you think.