The Best Time to Buy a House

© The Balance, 2018

Strictly analytically speaking, when it comes to buying a home, there are at least two days of the year that give home buyers the edge. Every spring, real estate signs begin appearing in many places across the country. As soon as the For Sale signs are mounted on the posts, swarms of activity buzz in the streets as sellers, buyers, and real estate embrace the spring sales season. There is nothing like a spring real estate market; everybody wants a deal, and everybody wants to sell. There is more on the market in the spring than at any other time of the year.

It can also be the worst time to buy a home because the spring selling market often results in way too much competition for the same homes—except for one day. There is one day in the spring that buyers will have the edge against all the other buyers. In fact, they might be the only buyers out looking at homes on that day.

Never close on the last day in May.

You will have a hard time finding movers, and the title companies will be crammed with closings. But when you're hoping for sellers to be the most open and receptive to an offer, there are two great days of the year to buy a home.

Christmas Day is the Best Day

Almost nobody looks at homes on Christmas Day. It doesn't matter whether you are a Christian nor whether you celebrate that holiday, there are much lower numbers of buyers shopping for a home in December. Buying on or near Christmas Day is a smart move.

You'll be in a better position if you scout out the homes you'd like to make offers a few days before Christmas.

The Christmas holiday season is attractive because people are in good moods, celebrating, opening presents, enjoying family and, let's face it, some are a little tipsy. People are more inclined to be generous, even if it means coming down on the price. "Hey, it's Christmas, hon; just sign it." Few buyers are out looking at homes during Christmas week, so the chance of multiple offers or any competition whatsoever is very low. Home prices typically drop to a 12-month low in December, so if a person has their home on the market over Christmas, that person is serious about negotiating and selling that home.

Of course, the key is to find a real estate agent who will work on Christmas and be aggressive enough to worm their way into the seller's home without batting an eyelash.

Easter Sunday is the Second Best Day

Easter falls sometime between March 22 and April 25, and is the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical moon after the vernal equinox. As most Christian families are occupied with church and family festivities, buying a house takes a step down on the priority list.

A buyer looking for a fixer on the outskirts of downtown Sacramento lucked out last Easter. A home came on the market at an attractive price, and the buyer immediately inspected the home and wrote an offer. Fortunately, the listing agent was also the seller, so it was very easy to present an offer—which was signed and accepted on Easter Sunday because there was no competition. Come Monday, offers started rolling in, but it was too late. Obviously, in non-Christian neighborhoods, this tactic might not work as well, but it's the general rule of thumb in the U.S.