As we cross the threshold into January, folks often get energized about their real estate plans. This might be the most strategic moment to dive in.
Home sellers and buyers both tend to think of spring as their target timeframe for making sales and moves. In the Boston area, this is due in part to spring’s longer hours of sunlight and more clement weather––and also because so many people’s work lives and housing leases function along with the academic calendar, which requires one to know where they’re moving by the end of the summer. Given that, most home sale opportunities will take place in the spring, particularly between March and June.
Yet in recent years, Boston-area real estate has developed a vibrant pre-spring season that can truly benefit those who can’t afford to navigate spring’s high-competition intensity. While it’s not unusual to see fast-moving sales even in the first week of January, there are generally fewer buyers geared up to compete fiercely, because there are fewer homes to choose from.
But for those willing to sidestep conventional thinking, there’s opportunity awaiting in January and February, both as buyer and seller.
BUYING IN THE PRE-SPRING MARKET
Buyers who need to or prefer to avoid the higher-cash, higher-risk competitive atmosphere of the April-to-June season can start ahead of the pack by pursuing:
- Lingering listings that didn’t sell during the fall and winter holidays (those properties’ sellers may be eager to make concessions to get their sale done).
- New listings that might attract interested eyes but not as many serious contenders this early in the year.
This is a chance to buy with a smaller down payment, especially in the range of five to 10 percent, and with terms that more favor you as the buyer––such as a full home inspection contingency. And to the extent that you need to curry the favor of a seller, you may be able to leverage your own flexible moving timeline (perhaps a lease that isn’t up for several months) to grant the seller a quick closing and slow move-out; that could be the factor that makes your offer the winning one.
SELLING IN THE PRE-SPRING MARKET
Because homes for sale are particularly limited in January and February––and there’s a base of hopeful buyers waiting for their chance––your listing can stand out as a special opportunity.
What do you need to accomplish as a seller? Whether you’re down-sizing, up-sizing, relocating or re-investing, if you’re also looking to purchase in conjunction with your sale, you can get a jumpstart by having a buyer lined up, giving you more lead time and control with your own move or next purchase.
If you’re considering buying, selling or both, it’s never too early to begin strategizing. January and February just may put you in the best possible position to work the market on terms that serve you.
Want to talk more about buying or selling this year? We’re always here to help with your questions and planning: firstname.lastname@example.org