Busting ghosts: Debunking myths about buying and selling in the fall

Busting ghosts: Debunking myths about buying and selling in the fall

Key takeaways

  • Home sellers can find buyers at any time of year, including the fall.
  • Sellers may face less competition in the fall.
  • Buyers may be more likely to visit homes in cooler weather.
  • Transactions can be faster in the fall when lenders and other professionals are less busy.

While January is the time to tackle New Year’s resolutions, for many, fall is the season of new beginnings. Whether you have school-age children or not, you may think fondly of freshly sharpened pencils, the start of a new season for your favorite sports team or local theater company, and new routines.

Fall can be a great time to sell a house, too. While spring and early summer are traditionally the seasons when more buyers are out looking for a home, that's also when more sellers put their homes on the market. The market generally slows down in late summer when potential buyers go on vacation and families prepare for the new school year. But in early fall, buyers who missed the spring and early summer market and those who want to settle into a home before the end of the year holidays will be looking for property.

5 myths about selling a home in the fall

When you meet with potential home sellers, you may hear them repeat some common myths about the challenge of listing their home in the fall, such as:

  1. Homes sell for less in the fall. Every real estate market is different and home prices depend on various factors, including local conditions and individual homes. If you're selling one of the few homes on the market in your area, it's in good condition and priced appropriately for the neighborhood, and it's just as likely to get a good offer in the fall as at any other time. When inventory is low, buyers are more likely to pay the asking price or even above it to ensure they get the home they want.
  2. Fewer buyers look at homes in the fall. How many buyers are out looking matters much less than whether those buyers are serious. Besides, many people drop out of their house hunt in late summer to avoid shopping in extreme heat or stormy weather. Fall weather often entices people out of their homes to enjoy cooler days. Buyers who need to move for a job or another life change or those who want to move before the holiday season will be motivated in the fall.
  3. Sellers can’t decorate for the holidays in the fall. While avoiding going overboard with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations makes sense, many home stagers opt for some simple accessories to add seasonal appeal to a home. If your home is likely to appeal to a family, it could pay off to help them envision themselves celebrating next year's holidays by adding some pumpkins or a small fall wreath.
  4. Selling may take longer in the fall. The combination of motivated buyers and sellers can make a transaction quicker in the fall. On top of that, since there may be fewer transactions this season, lenders, appraisers, home inspectors, and even moving companies will likely be more available than in a busy spring or early summer market. Each of those professionals is important to the speed of a transaction, so the less busy they are, the more attention clients can get.
  5. Curb appeal doesn’t matter in the fall. Curb appeal always matters and can make the difference between a buyer visiting a home or passing it by. While this season doesn’t have the abundance of spring and summer flowers, fall offers opportunities to showcase seasonal flowers, gourds and autumn leaves. Ensure your buyers do their fall prep and keep their leaves raked for a neat and enticing exterior. Keep outdoor living areas furnished as long as possible into the season to showcase how the space can be enjoyed in other seasons, too.

Why homes still sell in the fall

Buyers buy homes every season for various reasons, including job relocation, a growing family, downsizing, retirement, or just the desire to be in a new neighborhood. For families without children, the homebuying season is less influenced by the school calendar, too, since they don’t have to worry about changing schools mid-year.

Seasonality varies depending on your geographic location, too. Real estate agents in hotter climates and resort areas are likelier to see a pick-up in the fall for buyers looking for a property to spend the winter months or those who enjoyed their summer travel and want to buy a second home for vacations. In locations that attract skiers and snowboarders, fall may also be a busy season because buyers want to move into their property to be ready when snow sports begin.

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Your home protection is ready and waiting!