The best time to buy a property for the average retail buyer is the winter.
The winter is when the real estate market slows down and prices are lower compared to spring/summer because let’s face it, who wants to move when it’s dark, rainy, and during the holidays?
A property you buy today, 20 years from now will be worth more guaranteed, regardless of the ups and downs of the market. If we look at a 30-year line graph of the real estate market, we’ll be able to identify when the market dips and when it rises, we will also be able to see that prices throughout those 30 years progressively increase due to inflation, appreciation, etc.
With a long term view, it is really doesn't matter what time of the year you buy. Now let’s talk about when to place an offer.
A best practice is to get your financials in order before placing an offer on a property. If you’re a retail buyer looking to purchase your first home to live in, take your time to talk to a mortgage loan officer first. I mentioned before there is a difference between being prequalified, pre-approved, and conditionally approved by the underwriter.
3 Levels of Financial Approval
Conditional Approval means a bank underwriter has taken the deep dive into your financials and said it all checks out.
A pre-approval is when you submit financial documents such as w2s, pay stubs, bank statements to the loan officer and based off that, the loan officer gives you a pre-approval.
A pre-qualification is where you verbally tell your loan officer your financials and based off that, the loan officer thinks you’re pre-qualified.
Which level do you think is the most competitive when writing an offer? Give up? I'll tell you... It’s Conditional Approval by the underwriter. Conditional Approval is the most competitive offer besides all cash.
You’ve talked to your loan officer, submitted your pay stubs, bank statements, w2s, etc and have either a pre-approval or a conditional approval, what’s next? Well now you have a timeframe to find your next property and when you think you’ve found the right one, you are ready to have your offer submitted!
To answer the original question, when's the best time to buy your first home? The best time to buy is as soon as you are conditional approved and find the property that meets your long term real estate goals.
Don't wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait!