If you’re ready to buy a home in Massachusetts, should you go house hunting in the fall, when the leaves are gorgeous? Should you wait until the winter, when you can see the house’s bones? What about spring, will there be a better selection on the market?
Real estate markets fluctuate seasonally, both in terms of available inventory and prices. Timing can have a larger impact than you might think if you’re looking for a good deal, but timing the market requires years of experience and know-how.
Your best bet is to partner with a local real estate agent who has spent years learning your market. Pro tip — no one in Cambridge is going to want to sell and move during the weeks the college kids are moving in. While you’re searching for an agent, here’s what you need to know about the best time to buy in Massachusetts.
Best Time of Year to Buy in Massachusetts
The best time of year to buy partially depends on your home buying goals. If you want to have the largest selection to choose from, shop in the first few months of spring. If your goal is to be moved before school starts, look at the beginning of summer rather than the end, when other families with small children will be getting desperate and bidding up homes.
While the median home prices in Massachusetts is $407,800, prices vary significantly by the part of the state where you want to live. In Springfield, the median home value is only $160,400, but in Cambridge, it’s $804,100.
March through April is peak home buying season in Massachusetts. If you don’t mind moving in winter, however, any seller with a house on the market will likely accept a much lower offer.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Massachusetts
The best place for you to buy a home will probably come down to your lifestyle and family situation. Whether you want a short commute, great schools, or options, here are three great places to live in Massachusetts.
Just a short commute from Boston, Wilmington is a community with a percentage of home ownership, but lower monthly costs than being in the city proper. With highly rated public schools and active sports and activities programs throughout the city, it’s a great place for families.
Burlington is close to Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, making it the perfect location for families with partners who have to commute in different directions. It’s a technology hub, with a strong Microsoft presence, and you might not have to commute. Schools are well-ranked, too.
Southwest of Boston, you’ll find Franklin, a smaller town where housing is reasonable. Local employers are concentrated in manufacturing and scientific research and development, so not everyone will have to commute.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Home in Massachusetts
1. Find a Great Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts
Real estate agents help along every step of the home buying journey. They can offer advice on getting pre-approved for a mortgage, as they’ve probably dealt with every lender in town. By asking questions, they’ll help you narrow your search to the best neighborhood to meet your needs and budget. Once you’ve made an offer, an agent handles with the all-important negotiations over price, move in dates, and closing costs.
You’ll want an agent who works as a buyer’s agent, advocating on your behalf. Clever Partner Agents agree only to represent you while you’re buying a home. Our network consists of top agents from nationwide brokerages such as Century21 or Keller Williams. Agents join Clever because we make it easier for them to find buyers. They agree to accept flat fees or low commissions, and many offer home buyer’s rebates.
2. Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
A couple that’s retiring wants to downsize, whereas a pregnant couple is probably looking for more space. Every home buyer has different needs. Your real estate agent will ask many questions to assess what you’re looking for and will help you prioritize your needs.
After gathering information, an agent then describes the types of homes which are within your budget and guides you in identifying items on your list where you could compromise. If you have specific goals financial goals, such as a target monthly mortgage payment, they’ll explain what you can get for that price and where you should concentrate your search.
To start putting together your list, read What to Look for When Buying a Home.
3. Find a Lender and Secure Financing
While it’s a good idea to get pre-approved before you start house hunting, an agent can offer advice on which financing option works for you given your goals and current financial situation. Part of their job is educating their customers, so they’ll clear up any confusion about terms like “points,” “APR,” or “ARM.”
If you’re on a fixed timeline, be aware that the closing process typically takes around 30 days. This will directly influence when you make an offer. Learn more in our article, A Step-By-Step Guide to the Home Loan Process.
4. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Once you’ve found your future home, your agent prepares and submits an offer. If you ask they’ll come to the home inspection, so they have first-hand knowledge of needed repairs. Based on what the home inspector finds, they’ll then negotiate price reductions for major repairs or items that should be fixed before moving in.
Not many people have negotiation skills, but negotiating terms and a sale price can save you thousands, which is why it’s so important to Find a Buyer’s Agent That’s a Good Negotiator.
If you’re ready to begin house hunting in Massachusetts, fill out the online form. A Clever representative will connect you with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation, or to just answer any questions you may have.