Buying a home can be confusing! That’s why the tips and strategies you’ll find in our 8-week series will set you on the right path. It’s my own unique approach, and a “behind the scenes” glimpse of what you should look out for when conducting your own home search.
The home search process requires an understanding of not only the seasonal shifts in market activity but also the weekly flow of the market.
The Chicagoland area real estate market is fortunate in that we’ve always been a little less susceptible to the extreme highs and lows of other metropolitan areas, like California, Arizona, and New York.
That being said, when looking at homes, you should know that there are still two cycles at play – both a yearly one and weekly one. And you’ll need to be prepared and know what to expect for each one.
One simple way to explain these cycles is with a surfing metaphor: It’s like knowing the best time of day to catch the best waves or whether to wear a wetsuit at certain times of the year.
Same concept for buyers!
Just like a surfer hitting the waves, you start to know what to expect and know what time you need to be out there to get the best outcome. It’s a huge lesson for buyers to know that they’ll need to adapt and be flexible.
Go With The Flow
I can’t emphasize enough that you’ll be a more successful and less stressed buyer if you know how to respond to the cyclical flow of the market — both seasonal and weekly.
My insider tips below will help you understand why timing can affect how you go about looking for a home:
The Weekly Inventory Cycle
Homes tend to come on the market Thursday and Fridays. As the weekend approaches, buyers make more time to devote to their home search. Makes sense, right?
That means you have to get organized Thursday and Friday to know what homes you are going to see Saturday and/or Sunday. (Your Friday nights will never be the same!)
Depending on the neighborhood you are looking in, homes will either go for “speed” or go for “the money.”
Meaning, sellers either tend to take offers quickly (speed)…
… OR they set deadlines after the weekend to give as many buyers a chance to see their home, hoping to get multiple offers and drive up the price (money).
If you see a home you like online, reach out to your agent ASAP, and flag the listing if possible. Your agent will then contact the seller’s agent to see if you need to rush out to see it…or if you can take your time and work with their deadline, typically for early the following week.
There are exceptions to this rule, but typically, this is how the weekly cycle of new listings works.
Keep in mind that the inventory of homes for sale changes weekly, and depending on the time of year it can be drastic. So once you decide to seriously buy a home, you really need to be on top of the listings, and be ready to go looking on a moment’s notice, depending on what’s needed. Having a pre-decided strategy in place for “speed” or “money” is crucial.
The Yearly Inventory Cycle
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during the year:
- Inventory (the number of homes on the market) in the Chicagoland area has a yearly cycle that looks like a bell curve with the low periods in January and December, and the height of the inventory peaking April through June.
- Suburban homes follow the school calendar and tend to become available in April/May/June. Not as many suburban homes come on the market at other times during the year.
- The overall market has typically slowed down in July and August but picks up right after Labor Day.
What’s this all mean for you?
Go with the flow!
If you’re starting your search in December, January or August, be prepared that there won’t be that many homes to see. If you can be patient and wait until March, April, May or June, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
But if you aren’t going during this “busy season”, just realize that timing simply might not be on your side. Don’t get frustrated or give up on your dream to own a home!
There are exceptions to every rule, so if you want to know what to expect for your own home search, get in touch and I’ll help you through it all.
What’s next up in my Insider Secrets for Buying a Home series is a must-read – What to NEVER Do Before Buying a Home. These tips will save you a lot of grief!
I'm Mike and I love helping buyers discover what's really important in their forever home, then working to find that in Chicago's
Northwest Suburbs. I also have a soft spot in my heart for teachers and love giving back to them whenever I can. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
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