The spring and summer months are historically the most popular times to buy a home. Warm weather, high inventory and the school year winding down brings the optimal shopping season for most families. Those who shop during this peak buying season also face more competition and higher prices. Buyers willing to bundle up in their jackets and brave the colder weather can benefit in multiple ways by purchasing a home during the slow season.
While winter home buyers generally encounter a lower inventory the sellers that have their homes on the market at this time are highly motivated. A September 2016 NerdWallet study found that winter buyers have the advantage of less competition. Additionally, the study showed that home prices in January are typically the lowest they’ll be all year. With a likely increase in mortgage rates on the way, there are several reasons why January is the best time to buy a home.
1. Mortgage lenders are more likely to approve your loan
Because rates can move by the calendar year lenders become motivated to finish out the year strong. Mortgage refinance applications are down more than 30% compared to one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
For this reason, home purchase and refinance applicants should try again if they get denied at their lender. Remember: shopping for a mortgage is just like shopping for anything else. There are hundreds of sources from which you can buy. If you are denied, try again with another lender. Higher debt-to-income ratios and lower credit scores may be tolerated with a local lender as opposed to a large chain. Frustrated mortgage applicants could finally get a “yes.” It is about building a relationship with your lender. A good lender will give you advice on what to do to make yourself eligible for a loan and when you should expect to be able to resubmit an application. If you need advice on a good lender to try please call me and I will refer you to some of my favorites.
2. Lower Rates
January will likely be your best bet to get the lowest rates of the year, making it a good time to buy a home. Don’t forget that buying at the start of the year means you’ll be able to deduct the most mortgage interest, which is limited to the first $750,000 of mortgage debt.
Another perk of getting a mortgage at the start of the year: competitive pricing.
3. Big Savings
January tends to be a slow sales month in real estate markets, and that gives home buyers a prime opportunity to save big on their home purchase. Your real estate agent, that would be a quick phone call to me, can help you identify homes on the market that are priced competitively. You might also find some listings with multiple price reductions as a home languishes on the market.
Well, what are you waiting for? You’ve rung in the New Year now it is time to give your Realtor a call! It’s time to make a home-centered game plan for 2019. If you’re ready to buy a home or thinking of tapping your home equity, now is a good time to explore your options before the busy spring sales season kicks in. I would be more than happy to be of service helping you find the best home for you and your family.
Amy Lynch Kolflat
Zebra Properties at RE/Max Metro