So you missed the boat on the summer buying season, huh? If you've got kids in school, you probably think you have to stay put now for another year.
But maybe not.
Here are a few reasons you should buy a house right now.
Inventory is down but so is the buyer pool. That means prices may be coming down.
You may well have less competition for homes right now, especially if you're in the ultra-competitive first-time buyer market. That means your chances of finding a home—and getting it for the right price—are good.
"According to NAR numbers, home prices tend to plummet by an average $7,000 once Labor Day passes. That's not always the case out West or in the South, where prices level off or even jump a bit during the cold months, but Midwest home prices fall by an average of $10,000 between August and September, while Northeast prices plummet by nearly $20,000 by October."
And this will be likely be true through the end of the year, as holiday home shopping tends to be an even tighter market.
School enrollment rules may be looser than you thought
Most buyers with kids like to be settled before the school year starts. You too, right? Yes, it definitely makes things easier. But moving during the school year has its advantages (see No. 1). And if you're moving locally and have already confirmed your address with your kids' school, you should have no problem keeping them in place for the rest of the year.
If you are considering moving into another area and are in need of solid information regarding transfers and rules that may make it possible to move out of school boundaries but stay enrolled, Great Schools urges listening to the right people.
"Make sure you get information from the correct source, which is the district office," they said. "Your school secretary or teacher might not have the latest information." You'll probably want to make sure you have those important conversations before you move.
The "ask for forgiveness instead of permission" principle is a dangerous one to play with when your kids' happiness is at stake. Rest assured, though, enrollment rules today are more lenient than they used to be—which could definitely play in your favor.
"It used to be that when it was time to find a school for the kids, most Americans looked no further than the neighborhood school," said Great Schools. "Now, however, with the expansion of open enrollment policies and the growth of the charter school movement, competition to get into public schools with good reputations has become more widespread. A competitive admissions process is not just a private school phenomenon anymore."
Weighing the positives (new house, less competition, great value) of a move in fall versus the negatives (big hassle, bad timing, potential school upheaval) is, in the end, a personal choice. But it might be worth a look at what's out there. You never know – you could fall in love with a house that tips the balance. And then it's just you, the movers, and an important call to the school principal.