I felt inspired to write this piece this week after learning how few colleagues intend to hold open houses for their listings and reading about how charities are overloaded with well-intentioned volunteers who want to work with the less fortunate and count their blessings--only this time of year. I relate this to the perpetual busyness everyone complains about when not focusing on their home search. Historically, the holidays have proven an excellent time for buyers, from reduced competition to sellers wanting to unload for tax purposes. Read on for all 5 reasons to purchase now--with the bonus 6th reason that I’m here to help!
1. Decreased competition. Have you been making the busyness excuse? Too busy to get pre-approved or to meet up and discuss your search with me? So is everyone else! The holidays are the ultimate chosen excuse, but it turns out that soup kitchens and other nonprofits need you more the rest of the year than right now. Family obligations? These are trickier, but if you wish to get out of these obligations, buying a home is a perfect excuse. Beat out your competition at the busyness game!
Relatedly, agents and sellers are holding fewer public open houses, citing holiday travel as the primary reason. So it’s a perfect time to grab your agent--me!--for some personal off-hours touring. Also, while much of your buyer competition is traveling and unavailable, your most important resources are available: banks/mortgage lenders, title/escrow companies, and movers.
2. Motivated sellers seeking end-year resolution. Given that “conventional wisdom” tells sellers to wait until spring, some may be selling off a family home in probate or relocating with children and taking advantage of winter break. Others may need to finish out a tax-deferred exchange or divorce or have other tax- and financially related reasons to sell. All these reasons often result in easier negotiations and concessions.
3. Historic data is in your favor. Historically, the largest price cuts have been in December, where the longest number of days on market at closing and lowest total price is in January.
4. Rates are pretty stable (and low right now). Also historically, less is happening in the banking world during the holidays. Fewer mortgage applications may have some influence on rates, while mostly global and federal economic indicators rule the rest. Overall there tends to be less in the world of trading and volatility. Rates ticked down ever so slightly this week, and we have every reason to expect them to stay low and stable into the new year. (Notably, one exception was last year, when rates peaked in November in a generally “high” period from August 2018 to March 2019. Prices, however, lowered to balance the higher rates.)
5. Tax benefits. Enough significant changes occurred with recent tax codes that it’s really best to consult your tax professionals on this benefit, but closing on real estate in one tax year vs. another tax year has notable implications for some filers--both homeowners and investors. You may have reasons to wish to take eligible deductions this year, should the right property come along.
How will you find this “right property?” Your 6th bonus reason for holiday buying is that your trusty Highrises guide--me!--is in town through the holidays and available to talk and/or meet. Remember, online alerts are triggered only by on-market listings. I can share with you off-market and coming-soon listings, as well as just be a sounding board for location and building features.
Do not hesitate to reach out, and have a safe and happy holiday season!