If you’re currently searching for a home in Austin – not online but physically touring homes with an Austin Realtor – you know that one of your biggest limitations is available daylight time. That’s about to change over Spring Break as we move to daylight saving.
Starting in Early November each year, sunset happens before 6PM. That makes looking at homes on weekdays after work nearly impossible. Buyers don’t like looking at homes in the dark. Tonight, sunset will be around 6:30PM but, starting tomorrow, you’ll have an extra hour of daylight to view homes with sunset after 7:30PM. By mid April, sunset moves to around 8PM and by mid-summer you have until 8:30PM.
We all know the real estate market in Austin is better in the Spring and Summer. The accepted reason is that Spring/Summer is a more convenient time for making moves, especially for families with children in school. But I also think there are secondary factors.
One of the main secondary factors is the notion of “daylight shopping hours”. It’s just easier to buy a house when you have more daylight to work with. Also, I think buyers actually feel more like buying in warmer weather with longer days.
If you are in Austin right now, on the cusp of Spring Break with this nice weather we’re having, don’t you just feel happier and don’t you want to get outside and do something? I’ll bet half of us are going to start wearing shorts again this weekend, for the first time this season. We sort of wake up in the Spring and something inside us within our Psyche – is activated by sunny long days. Perhaps it’s a primal gene related to shelter and physical movement. We’ve been hunkered down for the winter, with short days and colder weather. Now we want to get out and move around, go places, work on our houses and yards, plant trees, trim hedges, etc. Drive through your neighborhood this weekend, you’ll see it happening in Circle C, in Legend Oaks and in Westlake neighborhoods. Everywhere in Austin.
In doing these things, we start noticing whether or not our current homes are suitable and we start thinking about things we’d like to have that we don’t. For many, one thought leads to another, and next thing you know, you’re online browsing Austin real estate listings, for no particular reason. It’s not like you’ve decided to move. You’re just curious. Then you see a house you really like, and you mutter to yourself a seemingly harmless, “Hmm”. Then “Hey honey, come look at this”.
Should you resist this stirring inside? A sudden and mild dissatisfaction with your house and a yearning for something bigger and better, maybe a different location? For most people, yes. You should resist. You don’t need to move. You don’t need a new house. The house you have is perfectly fine. You’re tricking yourself into thinking you need more. You really don’t need more, you just want more, or you simply want something different.
For others, yes, it’s time to think seriously about the pros and cons of a move up, or a move down, or a lateral move to a different location in Austin. Your stage of life, age of kids, opinion of schools, new job location, extracurricular interests and many other things will factor into this. When Sylvia and I downsized to Westlake (is that an oxymoron?) last year, it was specifically because of a life-stage decision. We have one child heading to college next year and another starting at Westlake High School. We also wanted to live closer in, have a smaller home and be walking distance to Westlake High, the Westbank library, and area shops. Budget cutting was also a factor. We achieved all of those outcomes by moving. These were good reasons to move.
So, if you catch the Spring in Austin house hunting bug, even if just window shopping online, try to write an actual pros and cons list of the outcomes that will result from a move, both financial and lifestyle related. This will help you determine whether you’re having nutty thoughts based on emotional impulse, or if there are in fact actual measurable improvements to your life that a move will bring about.
Anyway, go put on some shorts and get out in the yard with a rake, or start going around the exterior of your house with a caulk gun and see where you’re thoughts lead you. If it’s back inside searching Austin homes online, then you might prove my point.