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A guide for offseason home buying

Date posted:  10/21/15 08:15:00 AM Buying a home during the off season might save some money.

Fall is right around the corner, and with a new season come new housing market conditions. According to The Mortgage Call, fall and winter are historically considered the off season in real estate. While this might make it difficult for sellers to list their property, it can be an opportune time for interested buyers to check out available options. 

Typically, the spring season is the most robust for housing activity. Interested buyers will generally have more choices available when looking for a home, according to Realtor.com. However, it also means there is more competition.

"The potential for bidding wars can be greater during the busy spring and summer seasons, too, so you may not be able to get the bargain you were hoping for," said Dave Fry, co-owner of the Fry Group, according to Realtor.com. 

With the approach of the offseason, many individuals might want to start thinking about getting their finances in order and applying for a home loan. 

Enter a buyer's market 
When supply is high and demand is low, the buyer gets the upper hand in negotiations. Looking for a home in a buyer's market offers a great opportunity for buyers to invest in real estate, increasing the chance of scoring a home at a favorable price. 

"Off-season sellers are typically more motivated, thus more willing to make a deal," Fry told Realtor.com. 

Understand negotiation techniques 
While a buyer might be in the better position when it comes to settling on a final selling price, he or she should still make an effort to negotiate. 

According to Zillow, buyers should look out for houses that have been on the market for a while. These sellers will probably be more likely to negotiate a final offer than someone who has just listed his or her house. 

Get the home inspection 
Part of buying real estate is investing in a professional home inspection. No matter the season, buyers should always hire a professional to check out the house and indicate whether there are any major issues with the property. 

In addition, this gives the buyer even more power when negotiating the final sale price with the seller.

Work through the storm 
The offseason takes place during what is typically the coldest time of year. With cold weather and storms, looking for a house can be a bit frustrating. Not only will travel potentially be more difficult, but the appearance of available homes might be skewed. 

Buyers should try to look past the snow and really know what they're getting if they choose to make an offer on a home. 

In addition, Realtor.com indicated buyers may want to try to purchase a home before winter settles in. Checking out places during the early fall is a good move – especially if the buyer wants to avoid icy roads and snowstorms when moving into a new house. 

Know every market is different 
While buying a house during the offseason can be a good move, it is crucial that interested buyers understand certain local markets might still have a high demand. If there is a particularly popular neighborhood or community, these prospective buyers might ultimately wind up driving the prices for real estate upward if they all pursue homes in one area. 

When searching for a home, interested buyers must save money for a down payment, ensure their credit is in good shape before applying for a home loan and consider the best season to begin their home search.