Every person that buys a home is motivated by different factors so there is no right or wrong time to buy a house in Vermont. However, there are some seasonal factors that you may want to consider when looking for a house to buy in Vermont.
The biggest factor is inventory. Historically, there is significantly more houses on the market in Vermont in the Spring and Summer than in the Winter. A larger inventory means that as a buyer you will have a greater set of choices and options. Because of the seasonal nature of the inventory buyers with very specific needs and/or desires in a home will be better suited to looking during the Spring and Summer. While buyers that are more value driven will likely benefit from looking in the Winter when there are fewer buyers looking (i.e. less competition).
Another factor that families with children will need to consider is the policies regarding public school attendance. If you are looking for a home in the Winter you will want to check with your existing school and your new school district so you understand their policies on whether your child can finish out their school year at their existing school or if they will not be allowed to remain if you purchase a home in a new school district.
You will also want to understand all of the tax implications. One unique aspect of Vermont is our "Education Tax Prebate". This is an income sensitive payment from the State of Vermont to local cities and towns helping offset the property tax costs for those who qualify. Many people do not think about this as a "seasonal" or "time of year" issue but it can impact the short term financial requirements when you purchase a home in Vermont.
In most cases the seller of a home will want to be reimbursed by the buyer for any payments made by the State of Vermont on their behalf to their city and town as an "Education Tax Prebate payment". Because Vermont's fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year, the amount a buyer may be required to reimburse at closing will depend upon when during the year the buyer closes.
For instance if you buy your home in July or August, you may be required to pay most of your property taxes for the year in advance or up front. You will do so by reimbursing the seller for the balance of the subsidy from the State of Vermont. The larger the subsidy that the seller receives from the State, the larger your payment will be at closing.
On the other hand, if you purchase in May, even if the seller receives a large subsidy from the State, your payment will not be large because the seller will have been credited for most of their subsidy prior to the closing.
Finally, whether you are planning on buying in the Winter or Summer, do not ever pay more than $3,500 to a buyer's agent. You should ask your agent how much they will make if a buy a home and whether they will give you a rebate or not. Here at Flat Fee, we provide the Flat Fee Rebate. This is where we rebate any fee we collect in excess of $3,500. Last year our buyer clients received an average rebate check of $5,500. As a result, our buyers end up paying less by hiring us.