When is the Cheapest Time of Year to Buy a House?

Location, location, location – a term you’ve heard countless times for real estate and marketing strategies alike. While location is the single most important factor when it comes to buying a home, it’s usually one of the few factors in home buying that potential buyers consider. What if you were told that all other factors aside – even if it’s that perfect home you want in that expensive location you’ve been dreaming of for years – that waiting just a few months can make a huge impact on price?

While the warmer months of the year seem like the more appealing time to tour houses with your real estate agent, that’s exactly why it’s more expensive during that time. The winter – specifically October through March – usually hosts the lowest prices for home buyers. Of these winter months, the peak time for low prices is January and February, according to Trulia. Homeowners are in a rush to sell houses that have been lingering in the market, resulting in price drops, whether small or large.

When is the worst time of year for prices?

The summertime is generally the worst time of year for homebuyers in regard to price, meaning that prices in the summer are much higher. It mainly comes down to how long the house sits on the market. The longer the house sits on the market, the lower the cost of the house is at closing. The problem with the summertime – beginning with June – is that the turnaround for houses on the market is pretty high. Houses go on the market, and they are purchased fairly quickly in comparison to rates for other months of the year. This shortens the time for price negotiation.

What if you want a wider range of homes to choose from?

If price isn’t the most important factor to you, consider looking for homes in the spring. The housing market in April and May begins to flood, as people are ready to put their homes on the market and you see so many “for sale” signs post-Easter. If you’re prepared for a little less wiggle-room when it comes to price negotiation, but you’re looking at a highly specific set of criteria, spring is the best time for you to look for that perfect home.

How about a middle ground for prices and options?

Lucky for you, a middle ground does exist for these cycles between low prices and more options. This middle ground is the end of summer – towards July or August, once a large percentage of the homes listed in the spring and summer have sold, but the market is still more abundant than in the winter.

In summary,

  • If your priority is low prices…start looking in the fall, expecting to buy in the winter.
  • If your priority is a variety of homes to look at…start looking in the spring, expecting to buy in the summer.
  • If you want an equal balance of price and variety, start looking at the beginning of summer, expect to buy at the end of summer, before the beginning of fall.

House for Sale St. George

When is the right time to buy?

There is never a simple answer when asking the question, when is the right time to buy? There are so many factors that go into decision making and a lot of unknowns in the process. Reasons that are good for you to buy now may not be the same for someone else and visa versa.


  • Affordability
    • Don’t worry too much about the market because let’s be honest no one really knows what prices are going to be like. Yes, people can predict but that means nothing. If you can afford the house right now, just get it, who knows how much it will be worth later on.house


  • Size Matters
    • How long are you planning on staying? If you plan on living the house for awhile go ahead and get your dream mansion. If you plan on selling in the new future a smaller house would be better because they appreciate more than larger homes.house2


  • Where are you?
    • Depending on the location means there will be different utility costs, taxes and homeowner fees. Though a house may be cheap that doesn’t necessarily mean that living there will be too.house3


  •  Inspect
    • This may cost you a little bit of money but better safe than sorry. The inspector may be able to find things you couldn’t and end up saving you thousands of dollars.



  • There is no right answer to home buying. But make sure you are thinking about all the little things that could end up costing you huge in the end. If it feels right it usually is.


How to Design Your Dream Home: Part 1

We live in a time of ease and personalization. We can basically get whatever we want when we want if we can afford it. There are so many homes out there that have parts of perfection, but none that are perfect. When designing a home it is important to do what you want so you can be happy. In part one we will discuss how to get ideas for designing your dream home.

1.Dream Big.

sunThis is all about you and what you want. Don’t start thinking about the costs of materials, the land, or any other tangible thing. Get lost in your own thoughts and the things that you will want in your dream home. ANYTHING GOES! Don’t get bogged down in impossibility, because dreams don’t deal with the impossible.

  1. Visit Different Neighborhoodsmap

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but you aren’t here to flatter anyone! Remember this is for you. Going to other neighborhoods will show you what you love and what you hate. Paint jobs, design plans, and even the type of landscaping you would like. Don’t copy, reinvent.

  1. Attend open houseshome for sale

This is a great way to see the interior of homes; carpets, room arrangements, bathrooms etc. This is one way of seeing if what you have been thinking about doing is possible. Because of you see it in a home than it possible to do. (Remember the one restriction is that you must be in compliance with home building laws.

  1. Take Some Selfies

forWhen we say selfie we mean… the house by itself. The brain doesn’t remember things exactly how we first saw them the first time, but photos seem to remind of us of the truth. This will be an integral part of the first phase of home design because it starts to make the dream a reality and will help when part two begins.


Go Green

Four short years ago, we were recognized with a 2011 High Performance Homes Leadership in Housing Award. Here at Ence Homes, we are committed in building green homes that will create a healthier and higher quality of living for our homeowners.

What is the difference between green homes and standard homes? 

Green homes take the environment into consideration in the building process and the sole purpose is to minimize environmental impact.

Three benefits of choosing to live in a green home

  • green homesComfortable living conditions. Green homes are less humid inside due to air sealing techniques that eliminate unwanted drafts.
  • Better air quality. Green homes use air filters for proper ventilation inside the home and can decrease the presence of dust/pollen.
  • Global Impact. If you choose to live in a green home, it will eliminate 4,500 pounds of greenhouse gases to the Earth’s atmosphere.

Our mission at Ence Homes is to provide  prompt, courteous customer-service, while building quality, innovative and energy efficient homes. If you choose to live in an energy efficient home, you will be a apart of decreasing energy use.
If you are interested in building an Ence Green Home, please visit, https://www.encehomes.com/information/green-homes.php

Shopping for a Home in Winter

A Strategy for Bargain HuntersIf you’ve been thinking about buying a new home, winter is the time to start getting serious. Here are a few reasons to brave the cold and go on a house hunt:

The winter season has fewer units on the market, and sellers tend to need to move from their property. You can use that to your advantage to get a favorable deal.
Winter has fewer buyers in the market. Looking for a home in the winter can be inconvenient, and people are less likely to move. Families also tend to be on a September to June cycle because they are unwilling to move their children to a new town in the middle of the school year. Fewer buyers means less competition.

Lenders also usually have fewer loans to process and less paperwork to deal with (though this can change quickly if rates fluctuate). With lenders less hassled, you can expect a smoother process to get approved for a mortgage. But, as reported in Bankrate.com, there are exceptions to this rule, most notably in warmer parts of the country (especially Florida), ski towns, and in parts of the country where demand is so strong that it will not slacken during the winter months.

Finally, as all savvy shoppers know, after the holiday season comes the season of bargain opportunities. This includes houses, as well.





Lifestyle Choices Affect Bottom Line

Movin’ on up can cost a lot of time and some big bucks

By M. Anthony Carr
When it comes to eventually moving into that dream home you’ve always wanted, keep in mind that many of the choices we make on a house are really driven by lifestyle desires, rather than lifestyle needs.
More bedrooms means more time to clean, more expensive to repaint and carpet/floor in the future. The bigger the house and the larger the lot, the more you’re going to pay for it both in time and financial resources. The main three decision factors are larger lot, more space and more stuff. Each of these come with a price tag.
Larger lot
Depending on the acreage, this is going to cost the owner in regards to acquisition, monthly payment, and upkeep. First is the acquisition. Larger lot means larger price, thus larger down payment and monthly payment. In metropolitan areas, the closer in to the epicenter of town, the more the extra space is going to cost you. If you decide to get it cheaper by moving out of town, then you’ll be paying more for gas and be losing the ever elusive minutes of your life.
A friend of mine is dying for a couple of acres. He’s moving into the area from a community where houses with 2 acres are common and they are within minutes of the job centers. No problem. In this market, however, it means possibly driving 30 miles or more for what he’s looking for. It also means a longer commute — upwards to 90 minutes — in morning and evening rush hour. If that’s 30 minutes longer per day than what he does now, that’s 2.5 hours per week longer on the road — folks that’s 125 hours per year just on the road to work and back per year — MORE — than living closer in. (That’s three weeks worth of working hours.)
The larger lot also means more upkeep. If you have teenagers, maybe it’s not your problem, you think with a wry grin. Nevertheless, the larger lot that is cleared off and landscaped will take longer to mow, require more gas and possibly even more equipment. In addition, there’s the landscaping that you may not have needed to fret about before.
Even in a wooded lot, you’ll now have to start watching the trees that border your house. A neighbor told me before he was moving that he was spending about $500 per year taking down trees that were threatening his house. Once he did move, the new owners had a tree fall on their home within a few weeks, causing damage to the roof and patio.
More space
For most move up buyers, this is the No. 1 reason they are shopping for a home. The 3-bedroom townhouse isn’t cutting it for the growing family and it’s time for a yard. Let’s get the 4th bedroom, or 4th bedroom with a “bonus” room in the basement.
More space creates more expenses for paint, accessories, flooring, etc., every time the room is repainted, remodeled, etc. It’s no rocket science calculation to see that the 1,800 square foot home is going to be cheaper to care for than the 2,800 square foot home. Remember, percentage wise, we’re talking 55 percent more home – which will interpret into 55 percent more flooring cost, 55 percent more paint, 55 percent more utilities, etc. When purchasing, don’t forget to ask the owner for a rundown of monthly or annual expenses for upkeep of the property. (Most likely, it will be an estimate, but a good indicator of your true costs of the property.)
More stuff
Don’t forget that once you get a larger place, it usually is compounded with a decision to replace older furnishings or purchase new furnishings to put into your new areas. Movecentral.com’s latest home moving survey revealed that:
  • 57 percent of owners and 37 percent of renters bought furniture within the 12 weeks surrounding their move; owners spent an average of $3,500 and renters spent $1,220.
  • 55 percent of moving homeowners purchase at least one appliance when they move, and 57 percent of homeowners buy furniture.
  • 35 percent of owners and 40 percent of renters bought bedding; of these individuals, 72 percent did so within three after their move. Owners spent an average of $420 and renters $240.

Sometimes Smaller is Better

Keep buyers needs and wants in balance

By Al Heavens

The trend in residential construction is definitely toward bigger.
In the last 30 years, the square footage of a typical single-family house has increased by 40 percent. Yet there are some buyers looking for smaller houses. Many empty nesters are looking to downsize from houses that often exceed 4,000 square feet to ones that are 2,000 square feet or smaller.
Another segment is the first-time buyer. Typically just starting out and cash-poor, the first-timer in the new-house market wants an affordable house that will launch him or her on the road to equity.
However, while both segments want smaller, they want to have the appearance of bigger.
There are several things to keep in mind when you market smaller houses to empty nesters. The most important is never skimp in your design of the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Empty nesters are used to having these big, and if you make them smaller, they won’t even look at the house.
Put yourselves in the empty nesters’ place. If they are downsizing from 4,000 square feet, they don’t want a master bedroom closet that’s half the size of what they are used to. They might even want a nicer kitchen than what they had – for example, better countertops such as granite or Corian instead of laminate or tile.
Real estate agents need to be sensitive to the needs and prejudices of the buyers, and must always consider how both spouses will react to the floor plan.
Surveys show that women want two dining areas – a formal one and a breakfast room. You will need to guarantee both.
Because a lot of the product is designed by men, women often are left out of the equation.
When a woman comes into a plan and can see the toilet from the living room, that’s a negative. To a guy, that’s a positive. He won’t miss any part of the game.
It is easy to generalize about buyers in other ways. The problem is that builders tend to lump all buyer segments together instead of developing housing to fit different niches, and real estate agents have to follow suit.
Market research helps you develop your criteria. You need to know who you are selling to, and come up with designs that reflect the characteristics and needs of your buyers – especially those whose needs are not being met by others.
There are a lot of different niches in the under-2,000-square-foot market as well as different stages in the lives of these buyers – whether young or older – to be accommodated.
The first-time buyer, for example, is barely out of the apartment complex. This buyer’s expectations are very reality-based because of budget constraints. He or she doesn’t have a lot of money to spend.
One of the major challenges being faced in the creation of affordable housing is rising land costs.
Plans have to be designed to fit smaller lots to reduce buyer costs. And that requires a lot of creativity. People buying their first houses today think they should have all the bells and whistles, but have no idea how much these things cost. What they should be buying is shelter, but instead they want to buy things like garage-door openers.
The unrealistic attitude of many first-time buyers is created when they visit new-home developments offering higher-price houses. They’ll visit a model for $350,000 that had everything they might ever want in a house and then go to a development selling $150,000 house and demand the same things.
What some lower-end builders do to keep prices down is make standard items into options. If you save $100 10 times that cuts $1,000 from the price of the house. If buyer then wants to add these things later, when he or she has more money, then they can do it.
For example, the delivery price of oak handrail is about $32 a foot. After installation, it becomes a $750 to $900 item. When the situation is explained in that way, buyers will say, ‘We don’t really need oak handrails,’ and the price drops.
Another example: Some builders don’t offer kitchen cabinet hardware as standard, suggesting that, at $3 each, it would be better if the buyer went to the home center and made installing the hardware a Saturday project.
These things have to be explained carefully to buyers. More than anything else, they want to know that they are spending their money wisely and want to be assure that you are helping them look out for their best interests.

In Love With Two Houses?

What to consider when making the final decision

By Michele Dawson

As you find yourself heavily immersed in house-hunting mode, you may encounter a situation in which you’re torn between two houses. Perhaps you and your spouse each have a favorite, or perhaps you both like two houses equally – or think you do.

Making a final decision and determining which house to make an offer on shouldn’t be taken lightly. The decision should be made rationally and not guided by emotion.
Of course, you may not have the luxury of taking your time on deciding which house you’d like to pursue. You may be in a market in which homes in your price range get snatched up as quickly as they go on the market, perhaps even attracting multiple offers.
But in some situations, you may find yourself torn between two houses. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is take pen to paper and outline your family’s needs, your budget, and the pros and cons of each house.
Some things you’ll want to compare include:
  • The neighborhoods. If the two final contenders are in different neighborhoods, evaluate the pros and cons. If you have kids and being close to a park is important, you’ll want to consider that. How close are shopping, restaurants, church, and other services? Are the streets maintained? Do homeowners landscape and maintain their homes nicely? How long will your commute to work be?
  • The schools. If you have school-aged children, you definitely want to consider the reputation of the neighborhood schools. You can usually find general district information and state standardized test results online. But once you’re this deep in the process, you’ll want to visit the schools and receive the information first-hand from school officials. You should also talk to teachers and parents.
  • Crime. Go to the local police or sheriff department and ask about crime in your specific neighborhood. You might find theft or vandalism to be more prevalent in one area than another.
  • The houses compared to others in the neighborhood. While it may boost your self-esteem to have the biggest house on the block, it’s typically a better idea to stay away from purchasing the neighborhood monster. When it comes time to sell you’ll find that the lower value of your neighbors’ homes will shrink your home’s value.
  • Appreciation. If the two homes you’re eyeing are in different parts of town or different neighborhoods, ask your real estate agent to retrieve sales of homes in those neighborhoods over the past few years. If one neighborhood shows an annual average 8 percent increase and another is skyrocketing at 15 percent, you may have your decision made.
  • The sellers’ situations. If you don’t know already, ask your real estate agent how long each home has been on the market. Usually the longer a house has been listed, the better chance the seller will accept an offer lower than asking price. Conversely, if the house has been on the market for just a couple days, the sellers will probably wait for a better offer if you offer less than the listed price. Your real estate agent might also be able to dig up additional information about the sellers, like why they’re selling. If it’s a job-related move or a divorce, the sellers likely want to move as quickly as possible, meaning you have a better shot at them accepting a lower price.
  • The houses themselves. If you haven’t already, you should make a list of the amenities and attributes you want your house to have. If you want that first-floor home office, a large, open back yard for the kids, or a gourmet kitchen, be sure to include that on your list. Then, rate how each house measures up to each need on your list.
  • Drawbacks. Likewise, make a list of the cons associated with each house and determine how much of a negative impact each will have.
As you carefully weigh all the factors, it might become clear that one house is more enticing than the other. Or, you may find the houses are still equally appealing. If that is the case, be sure you look at the homes more than once. You may notice something you didn’t the first time around – something that could sway you one way or the other.
In fact, you should probably visit each home at least two more times, at different times of the day to get a feeling for how the house and neighborhood look and feel in the morning versus late afternoon or evening. Once you make a decision and an offer, you can take comfort in knowing you may still have a back-up if the deal falls apart.

Saving the Best for Last

10 benefits of buying at the end of the year

By Michele Dawson

The end of the year is a great time for renters to become homeowners, growing families to move to more accommodating homes, and baby boomers to find houses that fit their evolving lifestyles.

Benefits to buying at the end of the year include:
  • Tax savings. Closing on your new home by Dec. 31 means you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and points on your loan on your income tax return. You can also deduct the interest costs associated with a home equity loan. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you are paying off so much interest.
  • Sellers might be more motivated. Many sellers will also be anxious to sell by the end of the year so that they, too, can enjoy tax savings on the next home they purchase. That means you may have more leverage during negotiations and they may be willing to accept lower than their listing price. However, if you’re in a strong seller’s market, you’ll want to be conservative — and always heed the advice of your real estate professional.
  • If you’re buying a new house, there’s a good chance builders will be offering incentives. Many builders will throw in nice little extras to sell as many houses as they can by the end of the year.
  • Generally speaking, your housing choices during the fall are still healthy. By December there are traditionally fewer houses on the market. October and November are great months to go house hunting.
  • It’s easier to move. Many moving companies are booked six or so weeks in advance during the busy summer months. In the fall and winter it’s normally easier to secure the services of a moving company or rental equipment on shorter notice.
  • A new home for the holidays. The holiday season is a great time to celebrate your new home with family and friends.
In addition, you’ll enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership, regardless of what time of year you buy, including:
  • Paying toward something you own. If you’re renting, your rent payment goes toward something that will last you a month — a place to live for 30 or so days. When you buy a house, your monthly mortgage payment goes toward something you own.
  • Consistent payments. Landlords have the discretion to increase your rent, plus it’s exposed to inflation. Once you secure a mortgage, you can rely on consistent payments (if you have a fixed-rate mortgage).
  • A place to make your own. When you own your house, you can update your kitchen, paint your home’s exterior in any color you choose, change your fixtures, and replace your carpeting — all with the knowledge that the changes you make are your own.
  • Gaining equity. In the beginning, most of your payment goes toward interest. But gradually more will go toward paying off your principal, meaning you build up equity — or savings — in your home. Another factor in equity is appreciation. As home values go up in your area, so too does your rate of equity.

What You Should Look for When House Hunting

What You Should Look for When House Hunting

Keep your eye on these big-ticket items when shopping for a home
By Diana Lundin
If you’re shopping for a home and can afford to buy one, you couldn’t be in a better position right now. In many parts of the country, housing inventory is high and both home prices and interest rates are low and as a buyer, you can take advantage of that.
With so many properties on the market, you can probably take a more leisurely approach to house hunting without getting into a fast-paced bidding war. There is a caveat, however. The best homes priced properly for the market conditions will always be in higher demand.
As you begin your search for the right home for you, it pays to keep in mind things you need to check carefully so that they don’t cost you big bucks in the long run.
If kitchens matter to you, you might want to be fairly selective about them when looking for a new home. The2009 average price for a minor kitchen remodel for a midrange home is more than $21,000 and the cost for a major remodel is more than $57,000 and the costs are substantially more for higher-end homes.
Look carefully at the appliances, cabinetry, counters and floor. Those are the elements that cost more to replace. If possible, you want newer appliances to save money on repairs and energy costs; solid-wood cabinets; and solid-surface counters, such as granite, stainless steel, butcher block or engineered stone. Your floor choices include wood, cork, laminates and tile and it’s a matter of what’s comfortable and durable for your lifestyle.
Following kitchens, bathrooms are also expensive rooms to remodel at a 2009 national average of more than $16,000 because of the fixtures and plumbing. Make sure you see no leaks or evidence of leaks in tubs, toilets and flooring. Sharing bathrooms can be one of those pain points for families so make sure you get what you need.
A roof is a big-ticket item with an average 2009 replacement cost of more than $19,000 although adding a second layer to a roof is not nearly as expensive as replacing the entire thing. Inside the house, you can check the attic, ceilings and skylights for signs of water damage, look for places where the roof deck is sagging, and see if you can detect any light coming through. If you do see light coming through, it is likely not a problem if the roof is made of shake shingles. Outside, inspect for cracked, ripped, curling or missing shingles and damaged flashing.  Also look for rotting, buckling, blistering or algae growth, which could also be signs of trouble.
An old heater can be hard to repair and eats up energy at a pace faster than newer units. Furnaces can start at about $5,000 to replace and if you buy a combined unit with the air conditioner, add on several thousand dollars. You may need to replace the heat pump or air conditioner if it’s older than 10 years and a furnace or boiler if it’s more than 15 years old.
The extra room you gain may be a huge headache if the basement floods. Look for water marks and find out if the house has a system for removing water.
Other areas of concern that might cost money down the line are the driveways and sidewalks, chimneys, insulation and windows.
If you find a house and your offer is accepted, you’ll be dealing with a home inspector who can fill in the gaps with a professional’s eye. The thing is, if you really want the home, you don’t have to let problems deter you. You are in position to negotiate a price reduction with the seller or insist repairs be made to the property before your offer is finalized.
If you can afford a house, you can afford the luxury of taking your time to find the right one for you.