THE WEATHER FORECAST IS HELPFUL IN PREDICTING MANY THINGS: when to have a picnic at Duck Harbor, whether to take an umbrella to WHAT, and the best times to buy a house on Cape Cod. When it’s sunny and 85 degrees? The competition among home buyers is as fierce as it is for sunbathing space on Marconi Beach. But when it’s dreary, snowy, and below freezing? Buying conditions are near perfect, with minimal competition and motivated sellers.
Shopping in the off-season—fall through early spring—is beneficial for many reasons, says Prudential Cape Shores Real Estate owner and Broker Mandy Robinson:
Lack of competition. “In the summertime, when we have so many people looking for houses, often a nice house attracts several offers, even in a slow market,” says Mandy. In the off-season, fewer shoppers means it’s less likely that you’ll have competing bids against your offer.
Ease in scheduling viewings. In the summer rental months, it is often up to the weekly renters — not the owners of the house for sale — whether they’ll agree to allow potential buyers to traipse through a house. And, since it’s their vacation after all, they often say no, which means buyers may wait weeks to see a particular property. If the tenants do say yes, they’re not as particular about prepping a house for a showing as an owner, so you may have to overlook unmade beds, wet towels on the floor, and dirty dishes piled in the sink.
Real estate agents in the summer may be able to schedule house showings during the five-hour turnover — usually on Saturdays — between tenants. However in that case, you’ll likely be visiting while the cleaning crew is hard at work in the house.
In the off-season, it’s easy to schedule showings at the buyers convenience.
High seller motivation. Some sellers take their properties off the market during the cold weather seasons, which means inventory may be lower than in the summer. But the sellers who are fighting each other for the limited buyers in the off-season may be more willing to negotiate. “You do not have biggest selection, but you may have the most motivated sellers,” says Mandy, “especially if the property was listed all summer and fall with no offers.”
On the flip side, seller motivation on Cape Cod often sinks very low in the summer. “The closer you’re coming to summer, the less motivated sellers are because they have the rental incomes coming in for the high season,” says Associate Broker Sue Peters. “If you buy in the middle of the summer rental season, the rental income goes to the new owner, so sellers will stretch out closings until after the season so they can keep that money.”
Minimum traffic jams. Want to see six homes in a few short hours? Summertime traffic on Route 6 — especially when it is raining — makes that an impossibility. But between October and April, when tourists are few and far between, it’s easy to see many homes and explore the neighborhoods without driving hassles.
Are there any downsides to shopping in the off-season? Yes. Off-season shoppers must possess a good imagination, as many houses on Cape Cod are closed up in the winter and the heat and water is shut off. “You have to bring the vision,” says Mandy, “and dress warmly.” But if you can close your eyes and imagine the sunshine while you sit on the back deck? You just may be able to nab a deal on a prime piece of real estate.
Take advantage of the off-season to see homes for sale on Cape Cod with one of the experts from Prudential Cape Shores Real Estate. Our friendly staff knows the beautiful Lower Cape/National Seashore area of Old Cape Cod. Visit capeshores.com, call 508-349-1000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.