Despite spring being the peak home buying season, buying in the fall might actually be the best option for house hunters. Overall there’s less competition, more inventory to choose from, a better chance of getting a good deal, and the weather gives a well-rounded picture of how the house will feel throughout the year.
However, just because a house looks picture-perfect to clients in the fall, it doesn’t mean it’s the ideal property year-round. You need to pay attention to the little details “that aren’t as noticeable in the fall as they might be in the winter or summer months,” says Andrea Davitt, a REALTOR® at Lauer Realty Group in Madison, Wisc.
Here’s what buyers need to pay attention to in the fall:
1. Air conditioning status: Most likely the air conditioner won’t still be cranking in the fall, so it might escape buyers’ minds to check it out. First of all, find out if the home even has AC. Then, have an inspector make sure the air conditioning system is functioning properly. Also be sure to check if it needs a new filter and if there are any blockages. The outdoor condenser also should be checked to make sure it’s not making weird noises. Finally, take a look at the ductwork for rust.
2. Check the drainage: Besides taking a look at the gutters, your buyers should also look at the drainage situation of the home. “In the yard, look for areas where water is accumulating in small puddles, which could indicate a leak in buried pipes or grading problems that need to be addressed before the rainy season,” realtor.com® points out.
3. What’s nearby?: This piece of advice is applicable all year, but since construction generally slows in the fall and winter, a nice and peaceful fall and winter home could be a real headache come spring and summer, once traffic, roadwork, and new construction crop up. Find out if that area is expected to see a lot of new development in the near future.
4. Eye the driveway: A steep driveway may not bat an eye during the summer, but buyers in cold climates should take note of a steep driveway, because it will surely impact their lives when dealing with snow and ice throughout the winter.
5. What’s the pest possibility?: It might seem pleasant for buyers to live near water in the fall, when the pesky mosquitoes and bugs have all gone away, but it’s a good idea to point out to potential buyers that living near standing water means they will have to get used to being around all types of bugs in other seasons.
6. Window conditions: Nothing is worse than realizing on the first frigid day in winter that a home’s windows lack proper insulation. Not to mention what a drafty window can do to clients’ pocketbooks! That being said, make sure that fall buyers take extra time to check out a home’s window situation.
Source: “Buying a Home This Fall? Don’t Overlook These 6 Things,” realtor.com® (Sept. 21, 2015)