In most areas of the country, including La Plata County, summer time is the prime home-buying season. There are more homes available for sale and more buyers in the market. The benefit for buyers is that there are more homes to choose from; the bad news is that there is more competition from other buyers and it’s harder to negotiate a lower price.
There are two types of sellers: those who are motivated to sell and those who have plenty of time and are hoping to get top dollar. Motivated sellers want or need to sell quickly. Their asking price is typically in the middle of the home’s value range. Most sellers are not motivated and want a very high price, sometimes over the market value.
Most sellers looking for top dollar are hoping that a buyer will fall in love with their home and be willing to overpay, which sometimes happens. The more likely scenario is that the home sits on the market and doesn’t sell until the seller reduces the asking price. Top-dollar sellers normally will take their properties off the market in fall and then re-list them in the spring when there is a higher probability that a buyer will overpay.
The inventory of homes in the winter months is smaller because the over-priced homes are off the market and sellers who have time are waiting for spring to list their homes. Homes on the market during the winter months are more likely to have a reasonable asking price and involve a motivated seller.
Also, there is less competition from other buyers, so sellers will be more willing to negotiate with a buyer who offers less than the asking price.
During the winter months, real estate-related businesses have less business, so buyers get faster service, more choices and better quality. During the high-volume months, appraisers, lenders, title companies and home inspectors are very busy and it takes days or weeks longer than normal for their processes to be completed.
Interest rates rose prior to the election and have risen sharply since then. Many experts believe that we have already seen the bottom and rates will continue upward. So there may be an additional benefit of a lower payment if you buy before spring.
If there is a home on the market in the winter that you like and that meets your requirements, you should consider a winter purchase.
Steve Setka is an exclusive buyer’s agent with Keller Williams Realty in Durango and a licensed mortgage originator. He can be reached at 903-7782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.