My Dirty Little Secrets for Buying a Home Series
Buying a home for the first time can be confusing. That’s why the tips and strategies you’ll find in our 8-week series will set you on the right path. It’s my own unique approach and a “behind the scenes” glimpse of what you should look out for and consider when starting your own search for a home.
Buying a home requires an understanding of not only the seasonal shifts in market activity but also the weekly flow of the market.
You’ll need to understand that there are two cycles – both a yearly one and weekly one when looking at homes. And you’ll need to be prepared and know what to expect for each one.
One simple way to explain these cycles is with a surfing metaphor: It’s like knowing the best time of day to catch the best waves or whether to wear a wetsuit at certain times of the year.
Same concept for buyers!
Just like a surfer hitting the waves, you start to know what to expect and know what time you need to be out there to get the best outcome. It’s a huge lesson for buyers to know that they’ll need to adapt and be flexible.
Go With The Flow
I can’t emphasize enough that you’ll be a successful and less stressed buyer if you know how to respond to the cyclical flow of the market — both seasonally and weekly.
My secret tips below will help you understand why timing can affect how you go about looking for a home.
The Weekly Inventory Cycle
Homes tend to come on the market Thursday and Fridays. As the weekend approaches buyers have time to devote to their home search. Makes sense!
That means you have to get organized Friday afternoon or evening to know what homes you are going to see Saturday and/or Sunday. (Your Friday nights will never be the same!)
Depending on the neighborhood you are looking in, homes will either go for “speed” or go for “the money.”
What that means is, depending on where you are looking, sellers either tend to take offers quickly OR they set deadlines after the weekend to give as many buyers a chance to see their home, hoping to get multiple offers and drive the price up.
If you see a home you like online, reach out to your agent and flag the listing so your agent can reach out to the seller’s agent to see if you need to rush out to see it and go for speed, or if you can take your time and have a set deadline, typically for early the following week.
There are exceptions to this rule, but typically, this is how the weekly cycle of new listings works.
Keep in mind that the inventory of homes for sale changes weekly, and depending on the time of year it can be drastic. So once you decide to seriously buy a home, you really need to be out there looking every weekend you can in order to see what has come on the market each and every week. And again, have a strategy in place for “speed” or “the money.”
The Yearly Inventory Cycle
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during the year:
- Inventory (the number of homes on the market) in the Northern Virginia area has a yearly cycle that looks like a bell curve with the low periods in January and December, and the height of the inventory peaking April through June.
- Suburban homes follow the school calendar and tend to become available in April/May/June. Not as many suburban homes come on the market at other times during the year.
- The overall market slows down in July and August but picks up right after Labor Day.
What’s this all mean for you?
Go with the flow! If you are starting your search in December, January or August, be prepared that there won’t be that many homes to see. If you can be patient and wait it out until March, April, May or June, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
That’s why you don’t want to get frustrated or give up on your dream to own a home if it’s simply timing that’s not on your side.
There are exceptions to every rule, so if you want to know what to expect for your own home search, get in touch and I’ll help you through it all. It’s not one-size-fits-all and there are not hard rules, just trends to keep in mind.
Let me know what you are looking for and where you would like to live. We can get you started on your search and help you fine-tune it to your needs and budget. That way you’ll know what to expect and avoid any anxiety about your search.
“Chillax” and ride the wave of this great Northern Virginia market! Let us show you how.
Next up in my Dirty Little Secrets for Buying a Home series is a must-read – What NEVER to Do Before Buying a Home. These tips will save you a lot of grief!