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With its warm weather and the impending end of the school year, spring is a season that brings a lot of NYC buyers and sellers out of the woodwork. As such, spring tends to be the busiest time of the year in the NYC real estate market, with vast amounts of inventory to choose from and easy weather for assessing each property that catches your eye.
On the other hand, spring can also be a challenging buying season, with high sales prices, stiff competition, and a lot of stress to close on a home before the new school year begins. Simply put, spring home hunting in the Big Apple comes with pros and cons that can influence your overall experience.
Let’s look at these pros and cons and see if spring is the season for becoming an NYC homeowner.
Pros of Home Hunting in SpringPros of Home Hunting in Spring
There’s more inventoryThere’s more inventory
The winter months tend to be a slow period in the NYC property market that most buyers and sellers choose to sit out. By contrast, spring is when the market really kicks into high gear as sellers rush to list their properties in expectation of a surge in demand. With that in mind, home hunting in spring will mean you’ll be flush with options throughout the city. For prospective buyers who are still on the fence about what type of home they’d like, the vast levels of inventory available in spring can give you a lot to work with.
The weather is favorable.The weather is favorable.
Home hunting in winter can be really tough in NYC. Not only do you have to deal with fidget temperatures and slippery sidewalks, but also listings that don’t look their best in the winter. Summer home hunting isn’t a whole lot better since you’ll be dealing with heat waves that can leave you running from one bit of shade to another.
For these reasons, spring has by far the most favorable weather for house hunting as there is no snow, ice, or sweltering summer temperatures to deal with. Better still, spring is when the flowers start to bloom, creating an idyllic landscape that will put you in a good state of mind for assessing each property you visit.
You might have the extra money in your pocket.You might have the extra money in your pocket.
With Christmas expenses in the rearview mirror and a fat tax return in your pocket, spring is a time when many New Yorkers feel flush with cash. While this extra cash may not be enough to make a big difference to your down payment, it absolutely can make a difference when it comes to the additional expenses that come with purchasing a home. For instance, attorney fees, home inspections, and moving fees can quickly add up once you have a home under contract, making this extra cash a real stress reliever.
Cons of Home Hunting in SpringCons of Home Hunting in Spring
There’s a lot more competition.There’s a lot more competition.
While sellers are certain to be out in droves for spring, the same can be said for buyers. This extra competition can make for a competitive atmosphere as buyers rush to outbid one another by either upping their offering price or scraping their contingencies. Sellers know this as well and will be listing properties at a high market rate, which, even then, can still go higher as bidding wars start to break out. Simply put, spring can stretch your finances and leave you with little negotiating power.
You can be under a lot of stress to make a hasty decision.You can be under a lot of stress to make a hasty decision.
The speed at which deals are made in the spring can be jaw-dropping. Some homes go under contract within 24 to 48 hours after the listing goes live, creating a huge rush to submit an offer before someone else can sweep the home out from under you. Naturally, this high-paced real estate environment puts a lot of pressure on buyers to make a hasty decision. Further pressure can come from the desire to close on a home before the new school year starts.
With all that in mind, it’s very easy to allow emotions to override critical thinking, which could lead to you overbidding on a home you can barely afford or purchasing the wrong type of home for your needs. As such, buyers should know what they’re getting into by home hunting in the spring and have a firm idea of their needs and what they can afford.
Everyone is busy when you need them most.Everyone is busy when you need them most.
It’s not just buyers, sellers, and real estate agents that find themselves moving at a breakneck speed in spring; everyone else involved in the home transaction process is also short on time. For example, real estate attorneys tend to conduct most of their annual business in the spring and early summer months. The same goes for home inspectors, mortgage lenders, appraisers, contractors, and movers; all of them will be super busy in spring, creating long wait times for anxious buyers.
That said, this might not be as much of a roadblock as it might appear. A good buyer’s agent with a long list of industry contacts should be able to set you up with the right people. In fact, provided that you don’t run into any financing issues, an unclear title, or a bad home inspection report, the whole deal might move a lot faster toward closing than in any other season.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
At the end of the day, whether you choose to start home hunting in spring or at another time is only one factor you need to consider, and it’s a minor one. What’s more important is ensuring you’re financially and emotionally ready to become a home hunter. Besides, whatever the pros or cons of buying in spring might be, a qualified buyer’s agent can help you through every step of the way.