Even in superheated housing markets, summer is the hottest season — and 2018 has been particularly brutal,  fueled by declining inventory and strong demand. But by September, the  real estate market cools down, along with outdoor temperatures. Which  may mean it’s the perfect time to harvest a home.

“Fall is a great time to be in the market for a new home,” says Nancie Kosnoff,  a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle, Washington. “The  spring and early-summer frenzy of buyers wanting to get into a home  before school starts has settled down.”

So in autumn, a curious thing happens. Listing prices don’t drop — but sale prices do. That adorable colonial home may still  be listed outside your price range, but you can avoid a bidding war, or  even cut a deal with the homeowner. As a result, perhaps you’ll even  pay below market value — up to 2.6% less, according to some estimates — and take out a smaller mortgage.

“Sellers  are motivated, due to increased selling inventory and [less]  competition from buyers,” Kosnoff says. “The market is more balanced and  we can go back to creating ‘win-wins’ for buyers and sellers.”

Autumn  shoppers tend to be those buying for the first-time, relocating, moving  up or downsizing, or hoping to change houses within an area. “They’re  serious buyers who are more analytical, because there’s more to choose  from. The pace is a touch calmer,” says Chelsea E. Ialeggio, sales manager of Vanguard Properties in Marin County, California.

For first-time house hunters, more starter homes come on the market in the fall months,  compared to spring, according to real estate website Trulia. In fact,  starter-home inventory typically peaks in October. Starter homes are  defined as a real estate market’s lowest-third in cost  , among houses for sale. That’s often the range for first-time buyers.

First-time  buyers who are ready to own a home versus rent an apartment can find  great deals on essential equipment and appliances. According to Consumer  Reports magazine, autumn coincides with the best time to buy certain  household equipment and goods. In September, new homeowners can shop for  paint and snowblowers. October may score you some steals in gas grills  and lawn mowers. November brings a homebuyer’s bounty: blenders, fridges, TVs and coffee makers.

Autumn rains also mean your home inspector  might spot problematic leaks. Ialeggio says, “It’s nice when we see  rain, because we know what’s going on with the house,” her autumn  shoppers benefited from seeing a home’s water issues firsthand.

“We  had a ton of rain, and hadn’t in a while,” she says. “If they’d bought  in summer, they wouldn’t see where the roof leaks, or the window frames  by the front door.” Negotiating over remedies could bring down the price  — or at least give you the ability to rescind an offer on a money pit.

In  addition to leak awareness, a home’s winterization isn’t yet a crisis.  Door drafts won’t freeze down to the bones (yet), but cool air is  definitely creeping in. Acquiring a home before winter offers a chance  to ward off winter’s chill and maintain the furnace and water heater, seal cracks, and add insulation, all of which cut energy costs.

Taking advantage of homeowner tax deductions  on next year’s returns may save money, too. Write-offs may only be a  percentage of a full year’s deductions (when you’ve been residing in the  home continually), but getting in before the December 31 tax deadline  means you’ll be able to write off some of this year’s mortgage interest,  along with deductions for points, property taxes and home offices.

Perhaps  most importantly, you’ll have the chance to slow down and consider your  options in a pleasant shopping environment, rich with the coziness of  “home,” from wood-burning fireplaces to early-holiday lights. “You’re  out of any summer heat and humidity, but not yet in the crazy winter  patterns,” Ialeggio says. “Fall is a lovely time.”

This article originally appeared on Pennymacusa.com