Selling and Buying a Home in Spring is like Driving in Rush Hour

by Karen Briscoe
February 6, 2019

Traditionally the spring real estate market is March through May.  In many markets it can begin as early as February, around Ground Hog Day.  Sometimes sales continue to be robust and the peak selling season will stretch into June.   Rush hour for many metropolitan areas is from 7 to 9 am in the morning and 5 to 7 pm in the evening.  Commuters hoping to beat the heavy traffic times will get on the road as early as 5 am and often wait to leave after 7 pm.  In many instances, home sellers and buyers choose to follow that example.

Rush hour occurs because there are more cars than the highway system was designed to handle. It isn’t economically feasible to construct enough roads for peak travel times.  There are incentives to travel in off peak times, such as: unrestricted usage of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, reduced fees on toll roads and freely flowing traffic on uncongested thoroughfares.

There are benefits to avoid navigating the real estate market during peak seasons as well.  The most significant is that there is less competition. As a home seller, the buyers who are in the market are often more motivated.  This can translate to the buyer not being as particular and thus more committed to the idea of purchasing a home rather than waiting for the “perfect” home to come available.  In the high traffic time of spring when many homes are coming on the market, the seller’s home may get “lost” in the traffic jam.  As new inventory continuously appears, buyers may be distracted with the idea of waiting until something better comes along and not feel enough urgency to commit.  

The benefits to the purchaser of buying a home in the off season is that sellers are often more motivated.  The seller who chooses to go on the market or remain on the market in the slower seasons is in most cases a “real seller”.  There is typically a stronger incentive to sell.  Rather than being on the market to “test the waters”, these sellers are often more responsive to the market forces and are willing to negotiate.  Similarly, with less competition the buyer’s offer is more likely to stand out and be strongly considered.  

The services that support the real estate industry such as mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title and settlement company attorneys and representatives are more available during the off season.  Should the need arise, it can be challenging to obtain roadside assistance during peak rush hour. It is why for example UBER can charge surge pricing.  When demand outpaces supply, there is often an increased cost associated.  There is a similar phenomenon that occurs during the contract to settlement process in peak seasons.  Professionals of course rise to the occasion and meet the demand.  In the off markets though, there is more time and space available in people’s schedules to navigate the process.  

Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team of agents at HBC Group at Keller Williams would be delighted to assist with your real estate needs, whether selling or buying a home.  Our group of active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place consider it an honor to improve and impact lives. Please contact via the means most convenient for you:, 703-734-0192,

Karen Briscoe is a partner of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Realty Group (HBC). The HBC Realty Group has been named to the Wall Street Journal Top Realtor® Team List. Over the years, the group has sold over 1,000 homes valued at over $1 billion...
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