If you’re looking for the best deal on houses for sale in New Jersey, use the seasonality of the real estate market to your advantage. The busiest months for buying homes are in the spring and summer, and the slowest are during the winter, starting in November and lasting through March. When homes are still for sale entering the winter months, home sellers are more likely to accept lower offers, just to get out from under their homes.
The reason that spring and summer are the peak of the home-selling season is that families do not want to disrupt their children’s school year. Taking them out of one school and enrolling them in another causes emotional, academic and administrative issues that most parents would rather avoid.
One way to save money when buying a home during the winter is to ask the Realtor representing you to sort the information by the days on market. Members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can access the MLS database that contains a wealth of information about the home, including a field that tells the Realtor how many days the home has been on the market. Unless there’s a serious reason or problem with the home, the home’s owners may be much more willing to accept a lower bid.
Other issues related to home buying in the winter include the moving process, which is much easier in the summer. Weather in the winter is unpredictable and your belongings may suffer damage if they’re exposed to prolonged subfreezing temperatures. Packing your belongings into a truck during a heavy snowfall can create water damage once the snow melts. Sudden thermal changes can even crack solid wood objects.
Transporting temperature-sensitive pets, like birds and fish, are also difficult when the weather is cold, and the days are shorter, reducing the available daylight hours. Loading a truck is also more difficult wearing heavy gloves, coats, boots and hats. You’ll also have to protect your floors from any moisture that you bring indoors in the form of snow, ice or rain.
However, buying a home in the winter can leave money in your pocket, and if you can deal with the school and weather issues, you are likely to save money by choosing the slow season
Another significant benefit for buying houses for sale in New Jersey during the slow winter season is that there’s less competition from other buyers and it’s less likely you’ll enter a bidding war with others interested in the home. A bidding war always drives up the cost of a home, and when you’re the only party interested in the home, the owner is likely to take less than the asking price.
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Patrick Whalen is a New Jersey writer who recently bought a house of his own. He has written for numerous web sites. Follow him at @2patwhalen.