Spring has sprung, which means the housing market is in full bloom. "For Sale" signs are sprouting up along with azaleas and dogwoods as buyers start to search for new homes. Each year, around 40 percent of real estate transactions occur between the months of May and August, with peak inventory times varying some depending on the region. Metropolitan areas in the Sun Belt have a much more consistent market, for example, because of their year-round warm weather. It is important to be aware that although there are advantages to buying and selling in these prime months, they aren't necessarily the best time for real estate transactions. Peak Season Market Tips for Buyers House hunting during peak months has more inventory so you may be more likely to find your dream home. It's also easier to conduct a home inspection when the lawn isn't covered with snow. If there are problems with the air conditioner, the pool, the driveway or the roof, they are easier to spot in the summer. This is the easiest time to make a move with school age children, so families frequently opt for peak month purchases. On the other hand, there is more competition. You may find homes being snapped up before you even have a chance to view them or you might find yourself in a bidding war for prime properties. Sellers are more likely to reject lowball offers or contingency requests. You may also discover that lenders and home inspectors have very busy schedules. Off Season Market Tips for Buyers Because there are usually fewer buyers, you may find that sellers are more willing to negotiate their price. You could find a real bargain if the seller has put the house on the market due to an urgency, such as an unexpected job change or a death in the family. Of course, winter house hunting can be a headache working around the holidays and contending with bad weather. Inspections are more difficult in snowy areas. You might also find a number of homes that are for sale during these months because they failed to sell earlier. Be sure to ask your agent how long a house has been on the market and why it hasn't sold if it has been languishing there for a while. Peak Season Market Tips for Sellers You can expect a better valuation for your home because the increase in sales will give more comparable data with heftier spring/summer sales. If all you have available are lower priced winter comparisons, your valuation could be hurt. Green lawns and blooming flowers will make your home look its best and curb appeal is key. The arrival of daylight savings time means days are longer and buyers have extended time to look. More people viewing your home will give you a larger pool of prospective buyers. While buyers hope to avoid bidding wars, they can be a big bonus for you. Enthusiastic buyers are less likely to demand repairs or make other requests. Off Season Market Tips for Sellers You may have to contend with thrifty buyers who have waited for the off season hoping to find bargains. They may want you to take on closing costs or repairs that you will have to accommodate to get your house sold quickly. Buyers can be pickier this time of year and may decide to pass if your home needs lots of work. The winter weather means more work to make your home look inviting. Shoveling walks and steps is essential both for visual appeal and safe access for visitors. You might want to have photos of your home during the spring months included in your online listing and displayed in the house for buyers to see. Be Smart and Make the Season Work for You Although some people are able to be very precise about when they buy or sell, most moves are dictated by life changes. Ultimately, the best time will be when it's right for you. With the help of an experienced real estate agent, you can navigate the perils and advantages of the housing market no matter the season.