The spring market has traditionally been the most popular time for buying and selling home and this year is likely to see an extra burst of activity. Lower interest rates have increased affordability, milder temps makes home viewing more comfortable, moving is less of a chore in warm weather, and buyers are poised to shop! However, there is a great window of opportunity from now until about mid-Febraury that buyers can take advantage of. Why? Buyers have more bargaining power now than they’ve had in the past couple of years, and it's not likely to stay that way when all the spring buyers enter the market. Here’s why:
1. Interest Rates Have Lowered
Elevated borrowing costs sidelined a good portion of the competition this year but now that rates have markedly declined potential buyers the opportunity to get back in the market. The current landscape is more of a buyer's market than in recent years and the opportunity for leverage will likely end once the spring market picks up with pent up demand. With affordability improving, if a match comes up in this market, beating the spring rush will have advantages.
If you want to get in a home at or below list price, have any closing costs covered by sellers, or generally negotiate terms in your favor, you'll have the best chance to do so in the next 6-8 weeks.
2. Less Pressure to Submit a Quick Offer
The current market is significantly more likely to grant buyers the privilege of time. With decreased competition comes fewer bidding wars demanding quick responses and less decisions made under tight timelines than in a competitive market.
Buyers can be more methodical about their home purchase and experience far less “FOMO” than in recent years.
3. Motivated Sellers
Most sellers listing homes in the winter months have life events that are prompting their move.
They are moving because they have to sell.
These sellers are more likely to price their home to move quickly, and may be more open to accepting buyers' terms that will allow them to wrap up the sale faster. Sellers in the Spring are selling under fewer constraints - they've got low rates and pent up demand on their side which will give them the upper hand in negotiations.