Buying a house: When are the best and worst times to do it?

Buying a house: When are the best and worst times to do it?

Properties look very different at certain times of year, don't they?

And it's not just their appearance that varies depending on the seasons - pricing, demand and other market conditions can be hugely different depending on the weather.

Whether you're buying or selling, there are seemingly good times and bad times to do either.

When is the best and worst time to buy a house?

Generally, the seasons play no part in whether it's buyers or sellers who have the upper hand in the market.

That relies far more on economic and political certainty (or uncertainty in the case of the past two or three years).

There are, however, general trends when it comes to the best and worst times to buy.

The best time to buy a house

Traditional wisdom will tell you that spring is the best time to buy a house in the UK.

There are usually more properties on the market as sellers emerge from winter and consider a move, while the market is generally more active once the weather starts to warm up and the clocks go forward.

However, summer can sometimes be a great time to buy - but only if you're willing to put the leg work in while everyone else is on holiday.

The market usually slows up during July and August, with the kids off school and families away grabbing some continental sunshine.

Properties are still up for sale, though, and for buyers this represents a chance to take a look while the market is less busy.

Worst time to buy a house

Winter is largely considered the worst time to buy a house - and sell a house.

As the nights draw in and Christmas approaches at pace, the property market slows up.

And unless you're lucky enough to be able to complete a purchase quickly, getting into your new home before the festivities generally requires you to have an offer accepted in the autumn.

However, winter can sometimes drive prices down, so buyers looking for a bargain should continue to search during the colder months.

Buying a house in autumn

Sellers can often take advantage of the post summer rise in interest from buyers, though.

Once the kids are back at school and with completing a purchase at the forefront of buyers' minds, the market generally sees a spike in demand through September.

The colours of autumn and any lingering warmth from summer also make this time of year a nice one to display properties in their best light.

Best time to move house

Moving is stressful at the best of times, but if you can factor in your moving date for a less hectic time of year, this can help.

Removals companies are usually less busy late in spring or after the summer holidays and with the kids back at school by then, late summer and early autumn are probably the best times to move home.

The unpredictability of winter weather means that time of year is never good to move unless you really can't avoid it.

Summer, also, can be tough on extremely hot days.

Tips for moving home - whatever the season

Regardless of whether you're moving in spring, summer, autumn or winter, there are a whole host of things you can do to make your move much less stressful, including these 10

1. Start as soon as your offer is accepted

That doesn't mean dismantling your furniture and packing your whole world into boxes just yet. 

But you can start enquiring about removal company availability and thinking about the things you want to keep and the things you don't.

2. Break down your packing into sections

Start with the rooms or areas of your property you use the least - these can be done as early as you like and will give you a headstart when it comes to your packing. 

Then, as you move through the sales process, progress on to other rooms.

3. Be organised with wires, screws and bolts

Anything you dismantle will require construction again in your new home, so try to organise your fittings and wires for devices like TVs in an orderly way. 

The last thing you'll want is a TV without a power lead when you arrive at your new home and just want to flake out in front of a film.

4. Pack a box of key items

Before you sit down in front of that film, surrounded by boxes, you'll almost certainly want a cup of tea, coffee or even something stronger.

So, pack a box with milk, sugar, a bottle opener, your phone charger and a bottle of something nice before you set off for your new property.

5. Make your bed quickly

There's nothing worse than heading up to bed on moving day only to find your bed in bits and your duvet, cover and pillows somewhere among the boxes downstairs.

As soon as you arrive at your new property, get your bed constructed and made (before the film and the wine). 

When you turn in for the night after such a stressful day, you'll be glad you did.