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Falling leaves may bring first day of school and pumpkin-flavored delicacies to mind. But what about homebuying? Spring and summer are known to be the housing market’s favorite season, fall may be just the right time for you to look for a new home. While buying a home in the fall isn’t necessarily the norm, you may still be able to find the right house for you at a reasonable price. Check out some tips to help you find success on your home search this fall.

1. Know Your Market

Different areas may follow different patterns during the fall. Sometimes there may be a limited selection of properties, while some may be experiencing value appreciation. You can work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who will help you navigate the market or do some online and in-person research yourself. The more you know about your ideal destination and the homes nearby, the better you will be able to find something you are looking for in your price range. You can use this calculator to see how much house you can afford. Keep in mind that your credit standing will have a big impact on that number — you can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.

2. Check on Maintenance Needs

Seeing homes in a different weather pattern can help you get an idea of what a property can really handle and what it needs in terms of improvements. Observe how the gutter drainage and general yard upkeep is going and try to check if anything needs repairs. You can go inside and see how a lower temperature impacts your comfort while looking out for drafts, leakage issues and other possible structural or maintenance problems.

3. Look for Negotiation

The fall real estate season may mean fewer options, but it also often means fewer competitors. While many families may have wanted to be in a new home before the school year started, there may be home sellers who are now willing to lower the asking price. There will probably be some homes you may have seen on the market a few months ago that have not been sold. Sellers may even be desperate to sell, giving you room to negotiate.

4. Ensure Cheap Labor

No matter what level of work a property needs, the fall and winter can be a great time to do it. Especially in colder climates, construction tends to slow as the holidays approach. You may be able to get some deals from your local contractor to replace the outdated kitchen or bathroom in your new home.

5. Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

The fall season means people are starting to think about year-end tax breaks. Many sellers and builders try to offer various incentives to buy a property before Dec. 31 to avoid paying another year of maintenance and property taxes. Owning a home can yield some serious returns in tax breaks as both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income.

No matter how the trends make it seem, the real estate market is open every day, every season. Fall can offer all sorts of benefits for homebuyers, but you should always be focusing on buying at the right time for you and your family.

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