With its universities, financial industry, and natural beauty, Iowa is an excellent place to buy a home. But is there a best time to buy a house in Iowa? It depends on your priorities.
In recent years, listing prices for homes in Iowa were lowest in January. On average, homes were $14,177 less expensive. While in June — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $9,008 more than the annual average.
Mortgage rates, on the other hand, were lowest in December. But with interest rates on the rise, it pays to explore your options with a trusted mortgage provider to make sure you get the best rate possible.
Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Iowa.
Best month for
5.6% lower than average
12.1% more homes to choose from
2.87% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (10/1/2020)
Bankrate data (12/1/2020)
If you're interested in buying a home in Iowa, it's important to connect with a realtor who knows the local market. Economic conditions in Iowa change quickly, and a knowledgeable realtor will help you determine the best times and places to start your home search.
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What is the best time to buy a house in Iowa?
If you don't mind making a competitive offer to win a home, consider house hunting in April and May. During these months, the Iowa real estate market has the largest number of homes for sale, but you're less likely to get a deal. You'll face more competition from other buyers, and sellers will be less likely to negotiate. That's because sellers typically list in the spring hoping to get top dollar for their home.
As late summer and fall arrive, fewer homes are on the market, but there are also fewer buyers. With less competition, it's easier to negotiate with sellers. If you're patient enough to wait and willing to choose from fewer options, buying at this time could lead to a deal.
If you're truly a bargain hunter, consider looking for homes in the winter. It's not a fun time to visit properties, but sellers will be highly motivated, and you may get a great house for a steal.
That said, it's important to remember that price trends can vary from city to city — and there may even be anomalies within certain neighborhoods. The best way to find a home in your target market is to connect with a local realtor. They'll help you navigate the ins and outs of your market and find the best time to buy a house in Iowa.
Where are the best places to buy a home in Iowa?
If you have the flexibility to choose which Iowa city to live in, check out these five spots.
Well known for its medical school and creative writer's workshop, Iowa City is also considered a must-see literary destination. With festivals for music and art, award-winning public schools, and a thriving downtown, this university town is easy to love.
Iowa City's more-affordable sibling has accolades all its own. Rated highly for excellent public schools and family-friendliness, Coralville boasts a large shopping center and a variety of coffee shops and parks. This growing city also offers easy access to job opportunities.
Waukee is ranked as the #1 best suburb to buy a house in Iowa. Within easy reach of job opportunities in Des Moines, this area rates highly for schools, housing, nightlife, and family-friendliness.
In southeastern Iowa, you'll find an area called "the Quad Cities," which includes Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline, IL, and Rock Island, IL. The whole area has great economic opportunity, but Bettendorf is rated as the best of the four. With incredible schools, housing, and activities, this river city is a great place to buy a home.
If you're looking for affordable living in Iowa's northeast corner, Decorah is a beautiful spot. The median home price is only $192,700, and the median income is $55,920. This safe city of only 7,850 will give you small-town living with excellent schools and breathtaking natural scenery.
Four ways to get a great deal on a home in Iowa
1. Find a great Iowa real estate agent
Iowa’s real estate market is surprisingly diverse and varies significantly based on the time of year. When buying a house in this market, you’ll want to connect with an experienced real estate agent. They'll help you find hidden gems, time your offer, and negotiate with the seller.
2. Determine what you need and want in a house
How many bedrooms and bathrooms are you looking for? What features are non-negotiable, and what can you compromise on? Work with your real estate agent to set goals that work with your needs and budget. Knowing your expectations upfront will help your realtor find a home that's right for you.
3. Find a lender and secure financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Iowa, interest rate is one of the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing some upfront research and comparing options to find the best rate could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Iowa a typical house is worth $158,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $564. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $533.
4. Negotiate for the best possible price
When you find a home you're seriously interested in, it’s time to make an offer. Your agent will help you determine how much to offer without overpaying. They'll also help you negotiate with the seller after the home inspection.
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