Aaaah, the holidays. Such a great time for reconnecting with family and friends, making memories and…buying a home?
That last one might not be on your holiday to-do list, but if you’re in the market for a new home, this very well may be the best time to buy. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at five legit reasons why holiday house hunting is actually a great idea.
The holidays are a busy time for most people, which means your competition will probably be shopping for gifts, decorating, cooking feasts and preparing to entertain. That leaves you with far less competition on the home-buying front. Fewer prospective buyers means you’ll have a much better chance, not only of landing the home of your dreams, but also getting it at the price you want. Cha-ching!
It’s no secret that the holidays aren’t an ideal time to sell a home. In most cases, home owners who are choosing this time of year to sell are doing so for a reason, and that reason typically involves some type of time crunch. Maybe the seller needs to relocate for work or is trying to get that last-minute tax break. Whatever the case may be, it puts you – the prospective buyer – at a distinct advantage. A seller that is highly motivated to sell, and quickly, can provide great leverage in the negotiation process.
Not only do sellers get a tax break for closing before the end of the year, but in many cases, so do buyers. For instance, by purchasing a new home prior to January 1st, you may be able to deduct and/or itemize some of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as mortgage interest, closing fees and sometimes even moving costs. (Check with your accountant to be sure.) Of course any applicable tax advantages would apply regardless, but by closing the deal by December 31st, you’ll realize those savings sooner, without having to wait another year.
While there’s certainly no guarantee, interest rates do tend to dip a bit during the holidays due to less activity in the housing market. So, not only could you save on taxes by buying now, but you could also keep more money in your pocket long-term by locking in at a better mortgage rate. If you’re considering a major home purchase over the coming weeks, keep an eye on the market and be ready to jump in at the right time.
Sellers aren’t the only folks motivated to close deals over the holidays. Real estate agents, appraisers, inspectors and mortgage professionals are also eager to generate business during what’s typically a slow time of year. And since they’re not super busy, access to the resources you need should be fast and easy. As a buyer, you can take advantage of this to move the process along faster so you can settle into your new home sooner.
With all the benefits listed above, buying a home before the end of the year can make a lot of sense. But before you jump in and get ahead of yourself, here are a few important things to keep in mind:
Pay attention to prices. Remember that sellers who list their homes this time of year tend to be in a rush to close the deal, so use this to your advantage. Keep an eye on prices so you’ll have an idea of where to begin with your offer and what kind of leverage you’ll have for negotiations.
Get a realist view. One of the challenges of house-hunting during the holidays is that they are often decorated for the season, which can make it more difficult to get a realistic view of the home’s actual appearance. Ask for pictures of the property when it’s not all dressed up and take measurements of rooms to gain an accurate perspective of what you’re dealing with.
Be proactive. During the holidays, things like scheduling and approvals can take a bit longer than other times of the year. To ensure a smooth and timely process, get ahead of the game by getting paperwork completed and filed as soon as possible.
Be understanding. While some people may be more accessible during the holiday season, like realtors or mortgage brokers, others – like the homeowner – might be less available. Try and be as understanding and accommodating as possible and prepare in advance for any potential delays.
The holiday season is a joyous time. It can also be a great time of year to land the home of your dreams. Not sure where to begin? We can help! Talk to one of our experts today!