The Best Days of the Year to Close on a Home
When you own a home, mundane tasks become yours to take care of, no matter the season. Cleaning the gutters in spring, watering the lawn in summer, raking leaves in the fall. And then, there's the winter.
Whether you hate the cold weather or embrace it, a winter task list can be a long one: Check the chimney and fireplace to make sure they're ready for use, check the heating system for the very same reason, prevent your pipes from freezing, salt the driveway, shovel the snow—the list goes on.
Personally, as a born-and-bred Floridian, cold weather isn't my thing. But when it comes to real estate, winter time could be a hot time to buy. I closed on my own home in January after a quick six weeks roughly between Thanksgiving and the new year. It wasn't so much strategic as simply when I began looking. In hindsight, though, I was on to something.
According to Attom Data Solutions, the top 4 best dates to buy a home are in December and January. Their study—which looked at any calendar day in the last seven years (2013 to 2019) with at least 10,000 single family home and condo sales—found that on these days, homebuyers paid exact market value prices for their homes, as opposed to the above market value prices seen in the spring and summer (the study says you can expect a 6.9% premium in June, for example).
Rein in holiday travel and expenditures if you can, particularly during escrow, when underwriters will closely monitor your credit card activity.
So, if you're considering buying a home in the near future, it may be wise to put in an offer and tour a home quickly (you can even do that virtually if you don't want to go out in the cold) and aim for a closing date in December or January.
Remember though, you'll need to budget accordingly if your closing date coincides with the holidays. Factors like traveling to see family, purchasing holiday presents, and requesting time off work can all impact your financial bottom line during a time where you need to be prudent.
Speak honestly with your friends and family about your plans to purchase and close on a home during this time of year—rein in holiday travel and expenditures if you can, particularly during escrow, when underwriters will closely monitor your credit card activity. If you feel comfortable, you might might want to ask for downpayment money as a holiday gift.
One more thing: Winter weather can impact closing dates, too. As you'll read in my own experience, a freak snow storm hindered necessary repairs on my home before I was able to move in, which pushed my closing date back by about 10 days.