Winds are blowing, temperatures are dropping, ice and snow are collecting on the roads. What better time to…buy a house! Wait, buy a house, you say? At the beginning of winter? In the midst of the holiday shopping season? But, there’s so much to do at this time of year. You’re busy decking halls, singing joyous and striking harps. Why add to the stress? Before you totally dismiss the idea though, this may just be the best time of year to purchase a home. Consider these benefits to you as a prospective buyer:
- Less People Buying – There are less people buying homes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most individuals are at the malls this time of year, shopping for holiday gifts, not homes. Because of this, there is less competition when it comes to bidding. When you find a house you love, odds are there aren’t many others looking at it. It is unlikely that multiple offers are coming in on the house. You will avoid bidding wars, and your offer will be more attractive to the seller because, most likely, it will be the only one they receive.
- Prices Are Lower – Housing prices are typically at their lowest in December. Sellers who have had their homes on the market since the spring and summer often lower their price to try and move it. Who better to reap the benefits of these bigger discounts than you? And with lower prices, you might be able to afford more house now than you would be able to in the spring.
- Sellers Are Motivated – Sellers are more motivated at year end because of tax purposes. If someone has their house on the market during the holidays, you know they are serious about selling. You may feel guilty for intruding on time typically reserved for family and friends. But don’t be shy about looking at these homes just because it is the holidays. If a seller has a sign out in the yard during December, it’s a welcome sign. They really want buyers to come and look at it. Take advantage of their urgency. Maybe you’ll even get some holiday decorating ideas!
- Sellers Will Negotiate – Sellers are more willing to negotiate in December. Having a house on the market is stressful. Many sellers will take a lower offer during the holidays just so they can “enjoy” the holidays with the feeling of being done with the whole process. If their home has been on the market since the spring or summer, they will be anxious to sell. In addition, they may be willing to move up their original closing date, or agree to other concessions that work to your benefit.
- Agents Have More Time – Real estate agents will have more time to devote to you. They have less clients looking at houses in December, and fewer houses to show. So you will get more personalized attention from them. They will answer your calls more quickly, get documents prepared sooner, and look out for your interests.
- Closings Are Faster – If you are a smart buyer and you have an experienced loan officer, you will have been properly pre-approved before you even start to look at houses. Because of this, you can close faster. In addition, there are fewer overall real estate transactions in November and December, making it easier to reserve a closing date. Lenders aren’t as busy either, so they can schedule you in.
- Additional Tax Deduction – You will have an additional tax deduction if you close on your home before the end of the year. This includes any pro-rated property taxes, prepaid mortgage at the time of closing, and most closing fees. (Always check with your accountant regarding any tax deductions.)
- Enjoy Your Summer – You can enjoy your home over the summer! While everyone else is busy packing, moving and unpacking during the heat of the summer, you are relaxing, possibly poolside, with a cool drink.
Did you lose out on some great deals earlier this year because of the competition? Then clearly, now is a good time to be looking. Sacrifice a little bit of your time during the holiday season, and your chances are not only better for scoring an advantageous investment opportunity, but you will find yourself truly home for the holidays.