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The Busiest Months for Shopping for Houses?

This is a fun one because very few people get it. The answer is actually pretty intuitive but it takes a little noodling to figure it out for yourself.  When I give you the inside scoop, you will say,

     “Hmm, that makes sense, now that I think about it.” 

The most popular answer is July and August, or the summer months in general. The logic is, that this is when most buyers are available to look because the kids are home from school, and looking at houses is such a fun thing to do, yada, yada , yada. Sound the buzzer,Wrong! Oddly enough, as much as this appears to make sense on the surface, and this is especially true in the colder locations like Buffalo, here’s something to remember.  We have an incredibly short summer here. This may shock you, but there are fewer agents working and available to show houses in the summer months because they like to take off too. They want to enjoy at least part of the summer.  This situation becomes most acute in the last two weeks of August when even the least intelligent agents will figure,

  “Hell, summer is almost gone, I’d better go someplace or take some time off to spend with MY family. Maybe we should take a ride up to the Adirondacks. I hear, the Thousand Islands are cool. (My personal favorite is island 633. 252 is nice but has gotten very touristy lately.)

The more successful agents take a lot of time off in the summer because as anyone will tell you that has ever been to Buffalo, we have incredibly glorious summers here.You will see, however, a lot of the newer agents are running around (since it is early in their careers and they haven’t made enough to take the time off yet.) So they have to hustle a little more. The point here is that if there are fewer agents showing houses because they have taken off, there are generally fewer showings in the overall market place.

So when are the best months or the most heavily trafficked? Oddly enough, the answer statistically is February, March and April.  Why? In most markets this will be true, unless you are in a resort area, because it revolves around the school calendar. Here’s how it works.  A seller puts his house on the market in February. Figuring it will take 30 to 60 days to secure a buyer. This brings us to sometime in March or April. With another 60 day timeline to follow from Sales Contract to closing. This will bring us to nearly the end of May or early June, and Johnny, or Joanie gets to finish the semester and they get to enjoy their summer vacation. The target range is designed to make it easiest on the family and the family’s moving plans. If you sell in March or April, the kids will still probably get to finish their year in the current school before they start up in September.

There is also what is referred to as the Second Season as well, and this starts in September.  It runs till just about the first of November. Using similar timelines, the kids get to finish the semester and start up again in January after the Christmas vacation. Once you get into the holidays of Thanksgiving and beyond, there is still surprisingly plenty of business to be had for the agents but most of these purchasers will not have kids or are based on relocation scenarios that extend outside the school calendar complications.

So, how did you do? Were you surprised by the answer?

Author Brendan J. Cunningham is a New York Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, lead of the Platinum Team at HusVar Real Estate, as well as an accomplished writer, Shakespearean trained professional actor, and podcaster.

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