Every spring, as tulips struggle to poke through melting snow in the North and rosebuds cautiously open in Southern climes, sure as tootin' real estate signs begin multiplying like bunnies across the country. Soon as the For Sale signs are mounted on the posts, swarms of activity buzz in the streets as sellers, buyers and real estate agents crawl out from wherever they hibernated for the winter to welcome the spring sales season.
There is nothing like a spring real estate market. Offers fly over FAX machines and cell phones ring constantly. Everybody wants a deal, and everybody wants to sell. Typically the marketplace is flooded with inventory. There is more on the market in the spring than any other time of the year.
It's also the worst time to buy a home. Except for one day. There is one day in the spring that a buyer will have the edge against all the other buyers.
The second best day of the year to buy a home is Easter Sunday.
A buyer looking for a fixer on the outskirts of downtown Sacramento lucked out last Easter. A home came on the market at an attractive price. The buyer immediately inspected the home and wrote an offer. Fortunately, the listing agent was also the seller, so it was very easy to present an offer. The offer was signed and accepted on Easter Sunday because there was no competition. Come Monday, offers started rolling in, but it was too late.
- Easter falls sometime between March 22 and April 25.
- It is the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical moon after the vernal equinox.
- The vernal equinox falls on March 20th or 21st, depending on the year.
Almost nobody looks at homes on Christmas Day. But buying on Christmas Day is a smart move. If you scout out the homes on which you'd like to make offers a few days before Christmas, you'll be better positioned. Why is Christmas Day so attractive?
- People are in good moods, celebrating, opening presents, enjoying family.
- People are more inclined to be generous, even if it means coming down on the price. "Hey, it's Christmas, hon; just sign it."
- Few buyers are out looking at homes during Christmas week, so the chance of multiple offers or any competition whatsoever is very low.
- Home prices are at a 12-month low in December.
- If a person has their home on the market over Christmas, that person is definitely serious about negotiating and selling that home. You can bet on it. Better yet, why not write an offer?
Of course, the key is to find a real estate agent who will a) work on Christmas and b) be aggressive enough to worm her way into the seller's home without batting an eyelash. Those agents are out there.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, BRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.