A common question I get from home sellers is when they should put their house up for sale once the winter holidays are over. My answer is always the same: in Westchester real estate, Spring starts January 2nd. Obviously, a February blizzard will present a temporary delay, but when you think about it, it makes sense. This is especially the case in 2010, because the homebuyer tax credit expires April 30.
The “school year cycle” buyer is the bulk of buyers we deal with in Westchester. They want to be in their new home by the Summer. Given the fact that it can take 45-90 days to close (shockingly long to those elsewhere, but a fact of life in New York), if you start looking in January, you only have a month or two to find and get the right place for you before a June closing becomes realistic. Sellers operating on the same cycle need to be in their new places by the end of the Summer. They have less of a margin for error than a buyer with nothing to sell.
Finding the right home in Westchester is only part of the battle in the Spring. Many homes in Westchester are likely to get multiple offers. I know this sounds like an agent come-on, but we are Westchester County, and the local market here is different from many other markets. Therefore, some first time buyers don’t get the first house they like. It may not be that they are outbid necessarily, but that is for another post. The bottom line is this: the Spring market in Westchester real estate starts as soon as the holidays are over. There are motivated, qualified buyers out there on January 2nd, and they’ll be in their new homes by April the earliest, some not until the summer.
Many sellers want to close prior to June, because they want to find something in the Spring also so they can have the Summer to make their new home theirs before school begins. These things don’t happen overnight, and if you want to be ahead of the curve, you start in January.
If you don’t take my word for it, check the records- I’ll give you access to all MLS data- active, under contract, and sold properties with a free Listingbook account and you’ll see for yourself.