Leaves are turning colors, there's a chill in the air, and autumn is upon us. It's time for the seasons to change, and if you are a homebuyer, many real estate experts say it is also time to change your home-buying strategies. The fall real estate market sees less activity than the summer selling season, as sellers remove their homes from listings, and many buyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, stop searching, says Sam DeBord, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Seattle. There are still many ways for buyers to get a great home at a great price, however. "Don't get distracted by what everyone says about the market slowing down in the fall, because this can also be a very attractive time to buy," he says. Here's a look at some of the benefits of fall buying, and ways to minimize the drawbacks.
No. 1: Mortgage rates still historically low
This year, the fall home buying market is unique because current mortgage rates, while up off record lows in the spring, are still sitting at historic lows. "Someone shouldn't be discouraged from making a move in the fall because interest rates have increased," says Bruce Ailion, a real estate agent in Marietta, Ga. "Even though rates have gone up from where they were in March and April, they are still at a historic low relative to where they've been for the last 20 to 30 years." There's always a chance that next year, they won't be as low as they are now, he says.
No. 2: Less competition, but less choice
One of the major reasons real estate activity slows down in the fall is because buyers with young children often stop looking for new homes once the school year starts, since they don't want to pull their children out of school, says DeBord.