The timing is right to buy a home—or a big-screen TV

The timing is right to buy a home--or a big-screen TV
The timing is right to buy a home--or a big-screen TV

Timing isn't everything when it comes to making a big-ticket purchase—but it can certainly save you cash.

Experts say there's often a best time to buy, based on market trends. Gym membership prices, for example, often hit lows during the summer slump, while the week before the Super Bowl can be the best time to hunt for a high-end, super-sized flat screen.

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Of course, it's not smart to rely on timing alone. There are other factors to getting a good price and making sure that big purchase is the right fit for your needs. "The best time to buy is when you have done your research," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book.

The timing edge for home buyers runs from November through February, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. "There's less competition from other buyers," he said. Not only does that mean less chance of a bidding war, but sellers may also be more open to negotiate, if their property has been sitting on the market for months with few visits or offers. The catch: Buyers may find a slim selection compared to prime house-hunting seasons in spring and summer, Yun said.

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Car buyers' best window is August to September, when many automakers start clearing their lots to make room of older model-year vehicles. Incentives rose 13 percent in August compared to July, according to, with the average at $3,199. Those sales are great if you're a "buy and hold" customer who will keep the car for years, Nerad said.

Exercise caution, however, if you expect to trade in the car within three to four years. "That car is already a year old in the eyes of the market," he said, and won't be worth as much at resale.