When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Home?

John LaRosa 12/19/2014

When is the best time to buy a home? The data points to winter

What Time of Year is a Good Time to Buy a Home?

One question I hear consistently from clients and acquaintances is, “When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?”

Well the fact of the matter is that deciding when to buy has more to do with your own personal situation than it does with the time of the year. But like all types of sales there is a cycle and there is a season that favors buyers over sellers. However, the most favorable season for buyers is also the most difficult season to buy during. Have you figured it out yet? You may have already guessed Winter (based on the main graphic) and if so, you’re correct.

Cold Weather Slows the Housing Market

Winter in California might not be as bad as many (most) states but it is still cold (relatively speaking), rainy, and kicked off by the most demanding travel holidays of the year. There are less homes for sale in Winter because it is difficult to sell your home when you’re planning holiday trips, purchasing gifts, or giving back to your community. There are also less buyers on the market because people are simply less motivated to go out and shop for a home in dreary weather or while recuperating from the holidays. I know I’d rather be cozy inside than driving around in the wind and rain and holiday traffic.

Winter puts a chill on the housing market but Spring heats it right back up again

Because of these factors homes sales slow during these months and price increases tend to slow even more. This can be seen in the yearly cycle of month-to-month housing price increases. Every year price increases rise during the warm Spring and Summer months before slowing and sometimes reversing slightly in the Winter months. Click the infographic or view the full version below for a more detailed look at this seasonal trend.

If you’re in situation where you don’t have a rapidly approaching deadline to purchase, the Winter months can be a great time to buy. It may be a little more difficult to find your dream home because of the reduced inventory of homes but when you do find your new home you’re likely to have significantly less competition and, in turn, greater leverage when negotiating.

I just recently helped a client purchase a condo in Toluca Lake, CA. Initially listed at $439k, two weeks in, the Seller, motivated by a new purchase in Marin County, decided to drop the price to $424k. Based on the comparisons I found I knew they could get that price but as November approached the market was already slowing and they’d probably have to wait for a full price offer. We came in at $420k  and asked for some closing cost concessions from the seller. The offer was accepted and we closed just after Thanksgiving. Had the condo been listed in March of 2014 it may well have garnered the initial $439 asking price but my client got a great deal because we had no competition.

Get Pre-Qualified Now So You’re Ready to Buy

If you are considering buying during the Winter season then it’s time to get Pre-Qualified with a lender. There’s no obligation, no cost, and it is crucial to determining what you can accomplish now or what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Housing prices will be heating up with the weather before you know it, get started today.

We hope you enjoy our Infographic, “2015 Winter Housing Prices and Spring Growth” If you have any questions or would like to talk about any of this information we’re available to chat. Call or Email us Today!

Leave Us Your Comments

Do you disagree with what we’ve said? Have you had an experience that confirms this information? Tell us about your personal experience and leave your comments and concerns below. We’d love to hear what you think. Or feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Winter puts a chill on the housing market but Spring heats it right back up again
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Join the Festival Atmosphere in Placer County, CA

John LaRosa 09/30/2014
Placer County, CA, home to a number of great festivals

Placer County, CA, has the unique environment of being close to a major city, but also close to nature. Placer County welcomes a diverse cultural background and lifestyle range, but all its residents tend to have one thing in common — they love to celebrate who they are, where they came from, what they do, and the cities they share. It’s no wonder that Placer County is home to hundreds of festivals, fairs, and gatherings every year.

Some of these are traditional and familiar, like the Placer County Fair each June, and the Festival of Lights Parade and Old Country Christmas in Auburn every December.  Others celebrate the rich and storied history of Placer County, including the annual Railroad Days in Colfax (Placer County grew up around the western railroad in the mid-1800s) and Foresthill’s Heritage Festival (home to CA’s Gold Panning Championships).

There’s a BerryFest and a Mountain Mandarin Festival, celebrating strawberries and mandarin oranges, respectively, as well as the Auburn Food and Wine Festival. There’s even a festival dedicated to wooden boats, the Lake Tahoe Wooden Boat Week and Concours d’Elegance. And that’s not even starting with the festivals celebrating cultural holidays, like Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day; the festivals centered on art, poetry, and music; and the festivals celebrating nature and the environment.

Moving into one of the many welcoming Placer County homes available will be a fantastic experience for you and your loved ones. You’ll have so many ways to celebrate your new home with all the local festivals and fairs — why pick just one? They all happen every year, so, if you miss a few, don’t worry — they’ll come around again. 

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Oenophiles Gather in Placer County, CA

John LaRosa 09/30/2014
placer county, california vineyards give the napa valley a run for its money and enrich placer county real estate

All wine lovers know that the vineyards of Northern California are not to be missed. Napa Valley, in particular, draws national and international attention for its famous wines. But Placer County, just outside Sacramento, is also acclaimed for its vineyards and wineries. Placer County homes offer a unique opportunity for wine lovers, in the community’s proximity to so many great wineries.

wine tasting, gourmet restaurants, and great shopping in downtown Grass Valley, CA

The Placer County Wine Trail is a county organization dedicated to raising awareness of the area as a premier winemaking region, and is run by the local nonprofit Placer County Vintners. The Trail includes twenty wineries across the cities of Auburn, Lincoln, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Newcastle, and Rocklin, CA. Most of these wineries are family owned and operated, and all of them focus on personal, intimate visits to go along with their handcrafted wine. Differentiating themselves from commercial and impersonal wineries, the wineries of Placer County boast small vineyards and unique wine tasting experiences.

Wine grapes were first brought to the county during the 1848 gold rush, and by 1860 it was an active industry, with many miners having invested their gold in grapes and built vineyards of their own. Prohibition devastated the county’s winemaking industry, but it has made a strong recovery beginning in the 1970s. Placer County grapes are most often compared to the grapes grown in the Rhone Valley in France, as the climates between there and Northern California are fairly similar.

If you’re a wine lover looking for a great real estate property, or a newcomer who would like to learn more about wine, this area has something to offer everyone

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Small City Living in Roseville

John LaRosa 09/29/2014
Royer Park in Roseville California

Retiring away from city life can mean finding an isolated place to call home, or it can mean finding a Roseville condo for sale.

Getting older and deciding to leave the city doesn’t have to mean being ready for green pastures and backyard chickens. Many older adults find that living in a small city like Roseville is the perfect blend of urban and rural living. Buying a Roseville condo can be far more affordable than a place in the suburbs, and it avoids the traffic of the poor suckers still commuting into work every morning.

But this is a town made for active older adults. With garden clubs and condo communities meant for active retirees, Roseville offers the amenities of a city without all the negative side effects. From gourmet cheese and wine shops to golf courses, Roseville offers entertainment options unavailable further east into the Sierra Nevada foothills. And, of course, Sacramento is just a short drive away to visit old friends who stayed in the city.

footbridge over Dry Creek in Roseville, CA

History buffs and train fanatics can enjoy the city’s designation as Train Town USA and the rotary snow plow recently donated to the city. The area was near the heart of California’s Gold Rush and historic sites dot the region.

For more active seniors, the Sierra foothills offer a variety of recreational opportunities and a chance to enjoy the native fauna of California. Best of all, finding a Roseville home almost always means finding a new bunch of friends, as small city living means a return to neighborhoods and neighbors who know one another.

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Enjoy California without Being Crowded In

John LaRosa 09/29/2014
Nevada County CA Real Estate offers rural living in the Sierra Nevada Foothills without sacrificing convenience

Rural living is not necessarily what people think of when they think of California, but Nevada County real estate often offers exactly that – a home in the country.

Unlike the population centers in Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco, Nevada County, California, does not require people to live on top of one another, with high-rise apartments and tiny little parks instead of wide open spaces. In fact, in Nevada County there are fewer than 100 residents per square mile, so the neighbors are often the sage brush, cacti, and beautiful view.

But living away from the smog and crowded streets does not have to mean living without culture, entertainment, and the good things that come with city-life. Sacramento and San Francisco are easy drives when the siren call of the masses is too much to avoid.

Nevada County Real Estate

This Lake Wildwood home in Nevada County CA offers seclusion and access to the natural beauty of rural California living

But when the visit to the hustle and bustle comes to an end, and it’s time to relax for the night, the weekend, or forever, Nevada County offers a pleasant alternative to the crowds on the coast. With the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the backyard, Nevada County offers secluded estates for those who want to enjoy California’s perfect weather without the city to accompany it.

In eastern California, the crowds do not mar the state’s scenic beauty, and California history is virtually around the corner. Whether it’s just a couple acres to raise some backyard chickens, or a full estate to hide from the world, Nevada County probably has it.

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CoreLogic’s July Housing Price Index Report Shows Continued Slowing in Price Increases

John LaRosa 09/27/2014

See why slowing housing price increases are good news for California Real Estate

CoreLogic’s current HPI report for July 2014, released earlier this month, represents the 29th consecutive month that the Housing Price Index has shown positive year-over-year changes. The year-over-year increases have only recently dropped in to the single digits. Previously the year-over-year increases were consistently in the double-digits. Price increases like that cannot go on unabated before another bubble is reached. CoreLogic’s May 2014 HPI report showed a YoY increase of 8.8% and in June it fell to a 7.5% increase. The latest report for July stayed steady at 7.4%.

The Market is Responding to Consumer Buying Power

This is a good sign as far as I’m concerned. Double-digit price increases are nice but they can’t go on forever. What seems reasonable is a leveling off at an eventual 3 to 5% in annual increases. A number low enough that it doesn’t attract investors looking to make a quick buck but sturdy enough to reward the homebuyer that is willing to put some time and effort in to their investment. When homes are invested in, in this manner, it helps make our streets, communities, cities, and world a better place by rewarding someone for taking care of their piece of the world. This is the type of housing market that we should be striving for, otherwise we are just on our way to another bubble.

Indeed CoreLogic’s July HPI report predicts the YoY change from July 2014 to July 2015 will be 5.7%. With increases slowing like this it will hopefully give consumers a chance to catch up to the recent jumps in prices, which is exactly what the market should be responding to; consumers, not speculation. Let’s hope that is the case.

the effect of federal reserve 30 year fixed mortgage rates on monthly housing payments

The 30-year fixed interest rate has been hovering around 4.3% for over a year and is only one percentage point higher than its all-time low of 3.3%. It does seem likely that eventual increases in the APR will become more of a detriment to buying power than any other factors. A quick look at the Buyer’s Purchasing Power chart and you’ll see how drastic the impact can be. A 1% increase in the mortgage rate drops the purchasing power of the same monthly payment by 10%. In the example below a $400k home would cost nearly $250 more per month if the lending rate increased by only 1%.

As of this publication the Federal Reserve interest rate for 30-year Fixed Mortgages is at 4.2%. A great rate that is less than 1% above the record low.

California Real Estate Remains Strong

The CoreLogic report shows that California real estate is still poised for growth. With a year-over-year increase of 10.5%, housing prices are not about to grind to a halt in the state. Even with the increases homes for sale in California have been experiencing over the last 2 years the market still remains 14.5% below the peak it reached in 2006.

If you are in a position to buy, you shouldn’t wait any longer. You may have missed the huge increases after the market rebounded but the predictions show that buying a home in California is still a good bet and if the economy continues to improve it is likely that interest increases will not be far off.

Stay tuned for more info.

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Great Outdoor Activities in Auburn, CA

John LaRosa 07/25/2014

The American River Canyon in Auburn State Recreation Area

Auburn, CA is the county seat of Placer County and a breathtaking place to live. In particular, fitness enthusiasts and outdoor recreation fans are drawn to Auburn for its many sports and recreation opportunities in nature. Looking at homes in Auburn is a great choice for anyone who loves staying fit in the great outdoors.

Close to the city limits is the Auburn State Recreation Area, a California state park spanning over 40 miles of the American River’s northern and western forks. This park, like many areas in Placer and Nevada Counties, was once an active gold mining area. Now it is just as active with outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, swimming, trail running, horseback riding, camping, and (of course) panning for gold. The two river forks have plentiful whitewater opportunities for raft, canoe, and kayak enthusiasts. Whether you spend a day or a week in the Auburn SRA, you are guaranteed a great outdoor workout.

Auburn CA, World Endurance Capital

Auburn, California; World Endurance Capital

For dedicated athletes, the Auburn SRA also hosts the largest number of endurance sports events anywhere, earning it the epithet “Endurance Capital of the World.” These regular endurance events include running, biking, triathlon, and equestrian events such as the Western States Endurance Run, Tevis Cup Equestrian Ride, Auburn International Half-Ironman Triathlon, Auburn Century 100 Mile Bike Ride, Coolest 24-Hour Mountain Bike Ride, and many more.

All Auburn, CA real estate has the unique benefit of being in the closest city to the Auburn SRA, giving homebuyers a fantastic opportunity to explore their love of outdoor sports and fitness practically in their own backyards. 

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Perks of a Buyer’s Agent

Mary Pizzimenti 07/18/2014

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Title Image | Who's Who and Who Pays for What When Buying a Home

Are you in the market to buy a home? Finding the right home at the right price can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the necessary experience or knowledge to negotiate a good deal. If you have the right professional team that knows how the process works from beginning to end, it can help make your home buying experience far more enjoyable.

Who Pays For A Real Estate Agent’s Commission?

There are many people involved in the home buying process, including the seller, buyer, listing agent, and possibly buyer’s agent. The seller almost always uses a listing agent to put the home on the market in hopes of attracting a buyer. The seller is responsible for paying the listing agent through commission out of the selling price of the home. In addition to the listing agent on the seller’s behalf, a buyer’s agent can (and should) be used by the buyer. The buyer’s agent represents the buyer’s best interest when buying a home. This agent is paid out of the same commission given to the listing agent.

If you’re the one looking to buy a new home, having a buyer’s agent on your side is always a great idea. By using a buyer’s agent, you will have a knowledgeable professional who will be able to negotiate the best deal for you, not the seller. You’d think that hiring a buyer’s agent would cost you money, but since a buyer’s agent is paid through the commission on the home, neither you nor the seller will have any additional costs. Instead, the listing agent and buyer’s agent will split the same amount of commission in half. This allows you to get the best deal at no cost to you at all.

We hope you enjoy our Info Graphic, “Who’s Who (…and Who Pays for What) When Buying a Home?” If you have any questions or would like to talk about any of this information we’re available to chat. Call or Email us Today!

Leave Us Your Comments

Did you know how real estate agent commissions were paid? Was there something you believed about the commission that isn’t true? Do you have any further questions about real estate commission? Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to leave us your comments. We’d love to hear what you think. Or feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Infographic explaining why you shouldn't purchase a home without representation. In California Real Estate a Buyer's Agent doesn't 'cost' the buyer anything. Since the home costs the same price whether you have an agent or not why shouldn't you have an expert on your side?
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Explore the Arts in Nevada County

John LaRosa 07/12/2014
Del Oro Historic Movie Theatre in Grass Valley, CA

Nevada County is one of many beautiful rural communities across the U.S. to embrace the arts, combining the splendor of its natural surroundings with the inspiration to create and share all kinds of art. This makes Nevada county real estate a great buy for artists and audience members of all ages.

Nevada County is home to an impressive number of arts organizations. These include: sixteen dance companies and studios, ranging from ballet and jazz, to Irish, to contra, to modern contemporary; several literature and poetry groups and lecture series; over a dozen musical groups including a wind orchestra, a jazz society, three choruses, and a taiko drum group; fourteen theaters of varying sizes and genres; and more than twenty visual arts organizations and groups. The local university, Sierra College, supports many of these organizations, as well as supplementing them with its art and dance departments. The Grass Valley Center for the Arts, Nevada City Miners Foundry, and North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center provide welcoming spaces for local performances and touring acts. Nevada County is also home to over a dozen festivals, including the Sierra Arts and Storytelling Festivals and the Nevada City Film Festival.

With its magnificent natural setting augmented by such a diverse and active arts scene, Nevada County is the perfect place to take in—or join in—all the art your heart desires. Looking at Nevada County homes for sale is a wonderful idea for those who are ready to leave the city but still wish to have access to a great arts scene.

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Top Dining Options in Roseville

John LaRosa 07/10/2014

Those looking for homes or condos in Roseville, CA are often interested in the variety of eating and entertainment establishments the city has to offer. Roseville is a historic town with a modern flair. Residents enjoy everything the city has to offer, spanning museums and antiques from its glorious past, to sports and activities like roller blading and waterparks. Some say it is the fine dining that really makes this city memorable.

The Opera House Saloon in Roseville, originally known as the McRae Opera House, was built in 1908. It is a two-story venue whose upper floor has served as a social hall for meetings, plays, dances, boxing matches, and even as a roller rink. The lower level has housed the offices of McRae Insurance, the Piggly Wiggly, and the town’s first newspaper, the Roseville Register. Today, the lower level is an old time saloon complete with oak and brass bar. The upstairs houses the county’s largest dance floor. Drinks and food are served, and live bands – rock, on Fridays and country, on Saturdays – are featured weekly.

Bunz Sports Pub and Grub started life 20 years ago as Bunz & Company. Under new ownership, both graduates of Roseville High and avid athletes, Bunz is a place where residents can enjoy good food, good company, and great sports. It boasts 15 flat-screen TVs and digital sound, so guests can enjoy any game, match, or race while they dine. It is a family-oriented place with video games and a pool table in the “Skybox” for kids to enjoy.

The Boxing Donkey Irish Pub in Downtown Roseville CA

Those looking for real estate in Roseville, CA might also enjoy the Irish pub, The Boxing Donkey. With fun menu selections like corned beef tacos and Donkey Fries, the food is sure to please.

Roseville, CA has lots of great options for dining, so you won’t have to cook every meal at home after you move to your new home in this quaint town.

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