10 reasons to buy a home in the summertime
Warmer weather, longer days with later sunsets, trips to the beach—everything’s better in the summer, right? Add to the list: homebuying. While there’s a “selling point” for homebuying in every season, summer has quite a few.
What better time to really get a feel for the neighborhoods you’re considering? Stroll down the sidewalk as the wafting scent of backyard barbeques fill the air, swing by the patio of the neighborhood restaurant at the end of the block or chat with a potential neighbor who’s setting up that slip n’ slide in their yard.
Here’s how summer sells itself as a great time to buy a home.
Sellers may be willing to settle
Whether sellers are anxious to make their own move before the start of a new school year or not, it’s likely that with the dog days of summer comes the stress of an unsold home. As the summer months progress, buyers who listed their homes for the competitive spring and summer market may start to feel anxious if their home hasn’t sold yet—the days on the market are ticking. And days on the market (known as DOM) can mean more than you think.
The more time a home spends on the market, the staler it becomes. People are sometimes quick to make assumptions and start to wonder what’s wrong with a lingering listing. Maybe it was slightly overpriced from the beginning, or maybe what’s turning some buyers off wouldn’t be a game changer for you. Your real estate agent can speak with the property’s listing agent and get an idea of the seller’s sense of urgency. There may be the potential to negotiate. Or it might just be that if you’re able to afford what they’re asking, you’ll avoid a bidding-war situation with multiple offers flying in and buyers paying over the asking price.
In before the inventory dips
While inventory issues have persisted for some time now, traditionally there are more homes to go around in the summertime than when the market cools off in the fall. Experts suggest that late summer tends to be the sweet spot for a home shopping experience with enough homes to choose from but also the potential for sellers to lower their prices before the fall.
A better look at the landscaping and lighting
Trying to get a picture for what kind of sunlight your potential home will receive in the grey, cloudy days of February can be tricky. But step into a home on a sunny July afternoon and you’ve got your answer. It doesn’t mean you’re looking at a home through rose-colored glasses, you’re seeing it at its full potential. It’s also a great time to consider your landscaping. Better light in the front, the back? You can start picturing your hydrangeas in the shade, your chrysanthemums in the sun.
Room for renovation
With lower inventory, you may find yourself looking at homes that need a little bit of work. While the homes that have been renovated and updated to perfection may be flying off the market, those homes that just need a little TLC could be worth the look. But try and call a contractor in the summer months and it’s likely they’re already booked. If you find a home in the summer, you can decide what you’d like to have done and start scheduling renovations for when the market (and the weather) cools off a bit.
The start-of-the-school-year timing
Even if you don’t have any kiddos that you’re hoping to have settled before the first day of school, this could still make an impact on your move—the sellers may be hoping to be out before the back-to-school frenzy. There’s always a chance they may be more inclined to accept an offer quickly instead of trying to lay the grounds for a bidding war.
If you do have children, there’s the obvious benefit of not having to move school districts mid-year. And while you’re probably trekking it to many a summer T-ball game, swimming lesson, etc., you don’t have to worry about disrupting the ever vulnerable “school-night schedule” if you decide you want to bring your kids along to look at some homes.
There’s still time to hang the hammock
If part of your longing to buy a home is to have some outdoor space to yourself, it could be nice to get in while you can still enjoy the elements. Moving can be a major hassle, so why not move in the summer, when after a long day of unpacking you can step outside onto your back deck for a little happy hour? Or let your kids run around the backyard to blow off some steam while you unpack dish by dish.
And if you’re planning on a fresh coat of paint for that front door, those window frames or front steps, you can get it done before the cold front comes.
Cooled off contract signings
Just about everything over the past couple years can be described as unprecedented, and the housing market is no exception. With homes being swept off the market sometimes in a matter of hours, it’s been competitive out there to say the least. But after the fifth straight month of declining contract activity, experts anticipate a slightly calmer market in the months to come.
“The falling contract signings are implying that multiple offers will soon dissipate and be replaced by much calmer and normalized market conditions,” states Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors® chief economist.
While much of this is due to rising mortgage rates, which are pricing many buyers out of the market, there could be a silver lining for those who are able to hang on.
The risk of waiting on rates to fall
Rates are certainly reducing the number of eligible buyers, as they continue to increase from 2021’s record lows, but they still remain relatively low from a historical perspective. When we think back to the all-time high of 18.63% in the 80s, suddenly rates climbing into the 5% range isn’t as off-putting.
With almost two years of record-low rates, many buyers jumped into the market faster than they had originally anticipated—young renters seeing the benefits of homeownership, excited for the chance to lock in a low rate and start building equity. So while we’re seeing the number of eligible buyers begin to shrink, some of this is merely a return to a more typical market. It was the onset of the pandemic that ultimately brought mortgage rates down so low in the first place, after the Fed lowered the Federal Funds Rate and purchased mortgage-backed securities.
Experts point out that with these unpredictable rates, it can be impossible to time the market. If you find financing you can afford, it could be beneficial to lock in a rate. There’s always the opportunity to refinance down the road, should rates fall, and this way you’re building equity while you wait.
Prices that aren’t projected to fall
While mortgage rates hovered at record lows throughout 2020 and 2021, home prices continued to tick up. People could afford a higher home price because of the lower mortgage rate. And while there was already a lack of supply pre-pandemic, the lower rates only exacerbated this mismatch in supply and demand.
But even as the market cools off, experts caution against waiting for a big drop in prices. “I don’t think buyers should be betting on any really significant price declines,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. Experts point out that home prices tend to resist decreasing, and instead merely slow their growth.
Buyers should also take into consideration that many homes on the market are being bought up by investors. While first-time homebuyers are considering waiting for prices to go back down, investors and builders are sweeping up properties. According to the realty company, Redfin, real estate investors purchased 18.4% of homes sold in the U.S. in 2021’s fourth quarter—a record high—up 12.6% from a year prior.
The optics the outdoor weather brings
Not only might you enjoy strolling the neighborhood in the summertime weather, but your potential neighbors are more likely to be out and about. You can get a feel for how they interact with each other—are their groups of kids biking down the sidewalks, dog walkers stopping to chit-chat with one another, people sitting out on their front porch? You’ll be able to gauge the general vibe of the block, what the traffic or street parking looks like and so forth. And hopefully you can even meet a few people.
Some might argue that you’re getting the most picturesque view of a neighborhood and seeing it at its worst could be more telling, but when everyone’s quickly retreating inside because of frigid temperatures, you’re missing so much of what makes a house a home.
The breezy feel that summertime brings could be a welcome addition to what is typically known as a stressful process. And so can working with a lender you can trust. Contact an expert at Guaranteed Rate to ensure you know exactly what you’re looking for before you start your home search.