Are you thinking about adding a new home to your holiday shopping list this year? If so, hitting the real estate market this holiday season may land you one of the biggest and best gifts you'll ever get. Providing you don't mind adding house-hunting to your list of holiday activities, there are definite advantages to shopping for a home during the holidays.
Seller's Need to Sell
Homes that are for sale during the holiday season often are properties that the sellers need to sell–a factor that you can use to your advantage. The timing of a move frequently is beyond a seller's control, which can cost you less in the end. For instance, if the homeowner must move to another location to start a new job at the beginning of the new year, the seller's motivation to sell may get you a lower price on the home.
Divorce or other tax implications may be the reason why some homeowners put their properties up for sale during this time of year. Potential tax deductions can work in your favor too.
But whatever the case may be, when homeowners need to sell their home fast, they may price it more conservatively or offer an incentive such as paying for some or all of the closing costs, either of which can save you money. Often homeowners eager to sell their homes during this time of year will price them slightly below the list prices of similar homes in the area that are also on the market. They may do this in an attempt to get more traffic to their front door. Even if a home's description doesn't catch your interest at first, the price may be enough to make it worth your while to take a look.
Not every house-hunter is willing to come out in cold or wintry weather to shop for a home. Even if home shoppers don't mind the inconvenience of contending with frosty weather when looking at properties, snow covering rooftops, landscaping, and lawns scares some people off. They worry about what may be lurking underneath. So if you're willing to home shop in the "off season," you'll likely have to compete with fewer other home buyers.
Shorter days during the winter months also make it difficult for sellers to show their homes. Consequently, not everyone who has a home to sell is willing to list it during the cold-weather months or over the holidays when potential home buyers are busy with other activities.
How does that help you? Although there won't be as many properties available for you to choose from, fewer people looking to buy the homes that are listed on the market can give you more negotiating clout. If the home isn't already priced to sell because of the time of year, there's a good chance that you can get the price down. Usually, if homeowners have their properties for sale during the holiday season, they really want to sell.
More Time to Look
If you're one of those lucky people who gets vacation time over the holiday season or at year's end, you'll have more free time to look for a home and apply for a mortgage loan. And since fewer people will be looking for homes and applying for mortgages, the loan process may move along faster.
Although there is no perfect time to buy a home, when you aren't pressed for time, you won't have to rush from one home to another in your search. You can take your time and give each house and its neighborhood a really good look. Your work schedule also won't keep you from viewing homes in the daylight hours when you can see a lot more of what a home has to offer.