As the malls are bustling with busy holiday gift shoppers and airports and bus terminals are filled with travelers eager to visit family, you might have your mind set on something completely different – buying a new home. But is this really the time to buy? Shouldn’t you wait until the spring season that has traditionally been known to be the best time for buyers and sellers?
While springtime is certainly a great time to buy, the holidays can bring their own set of advantages for buyers who are looking to settle into a new place before the New Year ball drops. Here are just a few to consider.
1. Fewer Buyers on the Prowl
During the holidays, people are typically preoccupied with other things besides house hunting. This time of year isn’t generally when most people focus on buying a home; rather, they tend to be more fixated on holiday parties, visiting with family and friends, holiday gift shopping, and taking advantage of some time off work and school to go on vacation.
As such, there are often fewer buyers on the market looking for their next house to purchase. That’s great news for you, as that translates into less competition to fight against. You may be able to have an easier time finding a home and negotiating a deal without having to worry so much about other prospective buyers putting the pressure on.
Compared to the spring when the real estate market is generally the busiest, you’ll be more likely to have less of a fight with other interested buyers if you start and finish your house hunting process during the holiday season. Shopping around for a new home when there are fewer buyers can really pay off.
2. Motivated Sellers
The holiday season is not always the ideal time for sellers to put their homes on the market considering the possibility that there may be fewer people interested in their listing, as discussed above.
Sellers who do decide to put their homes up for sale during this time of the year are therefore more likely to be very serious and even extremely motivated to get the home off the market sooner rather than later. Nobody wants to have their listing drag on for longer than necessary. With fewer buyers looking for a new home during this time of year, sellers may be more open to an offer you may have.
Many sellers who choose to put their homes up for sale throughout the holidays likely have a very good reason to do so. Perhaps they’ve been transferred to a new job location and need to get settled in before the new year, or maybe their kids have been enrolled in a new school in another district and start class right after the holidays.
Whatever the reason for deciding to sell during this time of year, sellers are typically very motivated. This can be very good news for you as it often means they are more open to negotiation and anxious to close a deal.
3. Tax Benefits Before Year-End
Selling before 12am on December 31st can bring certain tax benefits to buyers. Purchasing a new home before the end of the year can provide you with some savings by the time tax season rolls around in April. There are several tax perks that come with homeownership, including deductions of property taxes, mortgage interest, or any points you pay at closing, as long as you itemize your taxes.
You might also be able to save on capital gains if you sold a house earlier in the year and made a profits from the sale. As long as you purchase another property within 180 days of selling your previous home, you can potentially avoid paying capital gains tax, which can add up to a hefty amount.
Speak with your accountant about any tax questions you might have when it comes to buying a home before year-end. Even if you’re not necessarily buying a home during the holidays specifically to take advantage of tax benefits, it might still be beneficial to you to close before January 1st arrives.
4. Quicker Closing
Just about everyone involved in a real estate transaction is looking to close quickly. Sellers may want to close on a deal to start anew come January 1st, while real estate agents may want to get their commission checks by year-end.
As a buyer, you may also have your own reasons for wanting a quick closing that may be similar to the sellers’. Perhaps you have a new job to start and want to be settled into your new home by then, or maybe your kids are starting in a new school district after the holidays and you need to be all moved into your new abode. Whatever your particular reason for wanting a quick closing, the holiday season might be the best time to get that.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of positives that come along with buying a home during the holidays. From less competition, to more motivated sellers, to faster closings, the advantages to buying during this festive time of the year are plenty. That said, anything can happen, and not every housing market is the same nor will they all follow specific seasonal trends year after year.
You’d be well-advised to seek out the advice of a seasoned real estate professional to identify what your particular needs are and the perfect time for you to start house hunting in order for you to realize a successful deal.