Yes, the holidays are actually a great time to buy a home, contrary to popular belief.
Every spring and summer, the real estate market hits peak activity, and while there’s plenty of reasons to buy in the spring, if you’re a serious buyer looking for a good deal, you may want to consider taking up your search in November and December, near the holidays, when some real estate experts consider it to be one of the best times to buy a new home.
The holidays are such busy times, and here in upstate New York, it’s also a period of time where you don’t know exactly what type of weather Mother Nature will be supplying… doesn’t really sound like an opportune time to be house hunting, right? But if you’re a serious buyer and want to avoid competing against hoards of other springtime and summer buyers, tire-kickers and curious neighbors who are more likely to also get involved in the mix, then right now may be the best time for you to throw your hat in the ring and find your new home.
Still not convinced that giving up your holiday time to buy a home is worth it?
Let’s look at this a little further...
Less activity on the market means that buyers have more leverage to negotiate with sellers. Yes, the inventory in winter is usually considerably lower than in springtime real estate markets, however that doesn’t mean that a home that suits your wants and needs won’t come onto the market in the winter (there just may be less variety to choose from). Because there is generally less activity, you are less likely to run into extremely competitive multiple offer situations in the winter because less people are looking to buy at this time. Therefore, it can be easier for buyers to negotiate lower selling prices or negotiate higher seller concessions to ultimately get a better deal. If you are lucky enough to find a home come onto the market very close to an actual holiday and are able to jump on it and quickly make an offer, you stand a great chance of getting to the homeowners with an offer long before other potential buyers even resume their search after a holiday break!
There’s a greater chance that the sellers are more motivated to sell their homes in winter months as well. Let’s face it, where we live in upstate New York, considering a move in the dead of winter is logistically not the most fun thing to think about (I’ve moved in the winter multiple times and can personally attest to this fact). In many cases, the people who are selling in winter these winter months tend to be more serious and are moving for a specific reason that may have them under a time-constraint; i.e. a job relocation or new addition to the family requiring more space. In these instances, if the seller needs to move on a strict time-line, they may be more willing to give on certain things during negotiations to make the sale happen.
There’s many factors that come together to determine mortgage and loan interest rates, but in the most general sense, the lessened demand for mortgages during the holiday season and winter months could result in better mortgage rates being offered by lenders. In all honesty though, interest rates in our area are still near record lows, with many local lenders offering mortgages with rates starting in the high 2% to mid 3% range at the current time, depending on the term length, which is pretty hard to beat. If you’re a buyer who is looking to finance a home in the Ulster County area, now just might be a good time while rates are still super-low!
Buying a home in the holiday season could also benefit buyers with the potential for faster closings. When market activity lessens in this time period, many realtors, appraisers, inspectors, surveyors, lenders, and attorneys also see a bit of a slowdown in their schedules. For buyers, this has a two-fold benefit, because not only will your real estate related professionals be able to devote more one-on-one time with you than what they may have been able to in a hectic spring market, you may also find that they are able to push closings through a bit faster with the lighter workload.
And lastly, we can’t throw away the idea that people’s holiday spirit may come in the mix here a bit as well. The holidays are a time of giving, and you may just find that some people are more likely to give and negotiate a bit more during the holidays than during other times of the year.
There are pros and cons to buying a home during the holiday season, and numerous variables can make every transaction different, but just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean that your home search should take a backseat until spring.