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When Is a Good Time to Buy a House?


Buying a house is likely the largest and most important investment you will ever make. Getting the timing right can save money and hassle. If your urge to buy isn’t urgent, observe the market and your finances. How is your credit rating? Are house prices falling or rising? Are you recovering from bankruptcy? Here are more tips for timing your purchase.

Watch Housing Prices

What is the market like in the area where you want to buy? If prices are increasing, you may need to buy soon. If prices are decreasing, think about how fast they are falling. If they’re falling slowly and you need to move out of your current home soon, then it may not be worth waiting for a lower price. If prices are plunging rapidly, then you may want to wait a while.

Look for Tax Credits and Interest-Free Loans

Tax credits and other government schemes are not always available, but it’s worth finding out if there are any upcoming programs.

Save for a Down Payment

Most mortgage lenders require a buyer to put down 20 percent of the price. Do you have the down payment right now? Would friends or family be willing to offer you a loan? If the answer is no, then now is not a good time for you to buy.

Research Your Credit Rating

How good is your credit rating? Is there a way you can improve it? You could monitor the minimum credit rating required for a mortgage and try to buy when that benchmark is lowered. However, the best strategy is to fix any issues with your credit rating.

Have You Been Bankrupt Recently?

Mortgages are nearly impossible to get if you have been bankrupt within the past three to five years. If that is the case and you cannot raise the money for a house without a loan, then now is not a good time for you to buy.

Look at Mortgage Rates

Shop around for the best mortgage rates available. Most buyers will be looking for a 30-year mortgage, and local banks can offer competitive rates. Don’t shy away from haggling.

Timing and Seasons

Spring is always the busiest time of year for real estate. There are more houses for sale, and sellers may vie for your offer. On the other hand, there may be more competition from fellow buyers. Real estate agents are busier in spring, which may lead to delays, and delays in closing can lead to higher interest rates for the buyer. Summer is also high season for moving companies, which may hike up their rates.

Winter holidays can be a great time to make an offer, because sellers tend to be more flexible and may be more generous. Fewer people are likely to be looking at house over the holidays, so you could benefit from having less or no competition for your dream home.


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Source: Copyright National Association of Realtors. Reprinted with permission.

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