By Sean and Aimee McDonald | Wednesday, September 12, 2018
As the seasons change and the transition from summer to autumn occurs, the real estate market undergoes its own unique The McDonald Real Estate Team, The Autumn Real Estate Markettransformation.  While the spring and summer seasons may be the busiest times of the year, times have also changed.  For many, the most advantageous time to buy or sell a home is in the fall.

Long-enduring misconceptions that real estate is a seasonal business, have given way to more pragmatic views.  While it may prove logical for some to purchase or sell during the spring or summer, not everyone is limited by these constraints.  There are distinct advantages to buying and selling in a fall market, often overshadowed by a long-held belief that real estate is a warmer season proposition.

Today’s homebuyers are no longer singularly focused on transacting the sale of property during the spring and summer.  In recent years, autumn has become an increasingly popular time to engage in real estate.  Driven by technological advancements, prospective homebuyers are now afforded numerous solutions to preview listings, correspond with real estate practitioners and discuss lending options with mortgage professionals.  Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers alike, are no longer limited by traditional practices from a decade ago.  Although fall was once considered by the industry as an inactive period, it now represents a wealth of opportunities.

Still, guided by traditionalist views, some homebuyers remain compelled to suspend their search during the autumn months; likewise, many sellers pull their listings off the market fearing inactivity.  But, misgivings about the market’s potential to flourish in the fall is misplaced.  While there are distinct differences inherent in a fall market, both buyers and sellers have opportunities to achieve their respective goals.

For homebuyers, summer has historically been the most expensive time to purchase.  But, home price averages tend to slowly decline during the fall and winter months, affording buyers a chance to purchase at favorable price points.  Buyers are further afforded greater access to mortgage professionals, real estate practitioners, home inspectors and property appraisers, during the autumn season, and many eagerly compete for business.  Given a reduction in competition from other would-be homebuyers, bidding wars are less likely.  In addition, sellers are often inclined to be more flexible on terms, while being open to negotiations.  Although a reduction in inventory may increase the amount of time it takes to find the right home, patience and perseverance oftentimes benefits buyers.

Yet, homebuyers aren’t the only beneficiaries in autumn markets.  While pricing averages tend to decrease during the cooler months, for sellers, a reduction in inventories also equates to decreased competition from other would-be sellers.  Autumn home seekers are usually serious buyers, less apt to be window-shopping, as is common during the busier seasons.  Those looking to purchase in the fall, are typically motivated to expeditiously move forward.

But, as with all seasons, sellers must competitively price their homes in alignment with other comparable properties.  Homes that languish on the market due to over-pricing, become stigmatized and typically won’t sell for what they otherwise might have, had they been priced appropriately from the onset.

When marketing, the smallest considerations often enhance buyer interest.  Embracing autumn themes, throughout a home’s interior and exterior spaces, is a prominent means of evoking a connection in homebuyers; while seasonal themes are oftentimes key to edging out comparable listings.

Enhancing a home’s curb appeal through the integration of fall colors and décor, creates a lasting impression.  Well-manicured lawns, immaculate landscaping, thoughtfully trimmed vegetation, and potted flowers such as chrysanthemums and marigolds, can greatly enhance a home’s presence.  Autumn themes should also carry inside; sellers mustn’t overlook the importance of showcasing their home’s interior spaces utilizing the same thematic expressions.  Subtle fall accents, decorative pumpkins, autumn wreathes, artfully staged fireplaces, the smell of apple cider, and fresh baked goods further evoke emotional connections in visiting guests.  Sometimes the simplest seasonal touches can make a profound statement.

Regardless, presentation remains paramount; market ready homes are free from clutter, depersonalized, meticulously cleaned, freshly painted, thoughtfully staged and in good repair.  Yet, it’s important to remember, shorter autumn days can make a home feel dark.  When showcasing a home, the property should be well-lit.  Sellers are encouraged to brighten their home’s appearance by opening blinds and draperies, and turning on the lights.  In anticipation of the forthcoming winter months, autumn buyers are likely to be attuned to a home’s functionality.  Fall sellers mustn’t forget the importance of preparing their homes to attract interest, while viewing their property from a buyer’s perspective.

Whether buying or selling, once an offer has been accepted, the systematic, co-dependent progression of each stage in the process is vitally important.  Contractually speaking, time is of the essence, and demands placed upon each of the professionals to complete the transaction often takes time.  However, fewer demands from fewer homebuyers, often expedites the process during the autumn season, not only benefiting buyers but also sellers.

Although there are misconceptions about the real estate market’s performance during the autumn season, the marketplace remains effectually resilient.  Taking the time to discuss opportunities with a knowledgeable real estate practitioner can prove beneficial.  Seasonal changes no longer mean the market has closed.  In fact, autumn may prove to be the most opportune time to either purchase or sell a home.

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