The Best Times to Buy a Home

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the best times to sell your home. But what if you’re on the other side of the real estate fence? What if you’re thinking about buying a home rather than selling one? What are the best times for you then?

Logically, the best time to buy a home is when it makes more sense to own rather than rent. That is, it will cost you less money to own your home than it will to rent one. You can figure this out by using what’s called the ‘rent ratio.’ To determine yours start by finding two similar houses, making sure that one is for sale and one is available to rent. Make sure that you can afford both of them. Divide the asking price of the home for sale by the rental rate of the one that’s available to rent. The lower the ratio is, the more affordable it is to buy a home rather than rent. If that ratio is more than 20, it’s probably not the best time for you to buy, and you’ll save more money by renting, even though you won’t be putting money towards equity on a monthly basis.

If you have determined that it makes more sense for you to buy rather than rent, there are certain times and guidelines you can use to determine when that best time is. The month you’ll be best off doing this is in January. Of all the winter months (the slowest buying season,) January is the slowest and there will be very few other buyers out on the market, meaning that you won’t need to get involved in crazy bidding wars. Also, because there are fewer buyers on the market, sellers will be nearly desperate to sell their home and so, they’ll be more flexible for you when it comes to certain terms, such as closing dates and conditions that you would like to see waived.

As for the best day to put in an offer on that dream house (in January or any other month,) is on the first Tuesday of the month. Why this date? Because by that time, the owner of the home has just made another mortgage payment – on a home they no longer want. They won’t want to write another one and will again, be eager to sell. But why Tuesday and not Monday? Because by that time they’ll start to think that they’re not going to get any offers from the showings on the weekends (the busiest time to show a house,) making them even more eager.

So now, what are you waiting for before you go out and buy your dream house? January? Well, you can if you’d like. You’re apt to get a great deal that way. But we’re already pretty well into the colder months, and so you’re likely to get a good deal on it just the same, especially if you use the other great tips we’ve given you here.