Buying a Home > Budgeting Game of Homes: Understanding a Buyer's Market Versus a Seller's Market

Team PV

“So if I want my Iron Throne in a seller’s market, will I have to fight for it?”

When you play the Game of Homes, you either win or you pay. Your agent, whether you’re buying or selling, will advise you on the market climate in your particular community, and that environment may or may not work in your favor.

Buyer’s Market: A housing market where the buyer has the advantage. More people in the area are looking to sell and there are more houses on the market than buyers. A prospective buyer has more negotiating power when putting in a bid, but don’t assume you can lowball all your offers. Your buyer’s agent will advise you on a fair price that will keep the you, the seller, and your wallet happy. If the home needs some repairs, factor them into the price of the home; if you’re buying with an FHA loan, you’ll need to get the sellers to cover the repairs ahead of closing.

Seller’s Market: The seller has the advantage in this type of market. Fewer homes are on the market than prospective buyers, so it boosts competitive offers in the neighborhood. If you’re buying in this environment, you’ll likely spend more time searching- six months to a year longer than you originally planned. You might also need to put higher bids in, especially if the home is move-in condition, and you may have less room to negotiate or put in contingencies.  Ouch. 

Your market environment also depends on the time of year- because who doesn’t love more variables in the house hunting process? Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year to sell a home. Many parents will list homes in April and May so they can move before the new school year begins. Listings that come on the market later in year, like in October or November, may be more flexible in price and on closing because fewer buyers are competing. Most buyers want to shop for holiday gifts, not homes. Think of it like booking a vacation off-season. Winter is coming.

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