reasons to sell (or buy) a home during the holidays
Terri Cettina Bankrate.com||
Even though real estate sales
do fall off at the end of warm weather, there's still plenty of buying and selling
during the winter months.
Remember, sales volume cooled by winter weather is
not your problem. The only house you care about is the one you're selling or hoping
"Real estate isn't nearly as seasonal as it used to be,"
confirms Terry Hankner, a real estate agent with Comey
& Shepherd in Cincinnati. "If a house is priced and marketed appropriately,
no matter what time of year it is, there will be a buyer for it."
more, many home buyers and sellers are bucking the seasonal nature of residential
real estate. They're finding that buying or selling houses in the winter months
has many advantages -- not the least of which are the gorgeous holiday decorations
that showcase many homes to their fullest potential.
In fact, Hankner believes,
seeing a home all decked out for the winter holidays can be an emotional trigger
for many buyers.
"I bought my own house in the summer, but I was actually
imagining it with a Christmas tree beneath its cathedral ceilings," she says.
"The holidays are a great time of year to find a new home."
which side of the transaction you're on, you can make the off-season work to your
advantage. Here's why:
are motivated. Many off-season buyers are more serious than some among
the horde who descend like locusts on open houses in the spring. After all, there's
a reason they didn't buy during the peak season. Perhaps they didn't have enough
for a down payment or couldn't get financed. The fact that they've entered the
market in a downtime might be very meaningful.
is a second season. While sales definitely fall off in the early fall,
they usually escalate again in October in many parts of the country.
sales are rising. The expansion of the Internet and the numbers of
people who use it have added a significant off-season dimension to real estate
sales. Potential buyers can now find properties for sale in the comfort of their
home through a vast array of Web sites. Virtual tours can take them into homes
and they can preview neighborhoods, schools and city information before venturing
- Hindsight helps. When you put up a home for sale in the
fall or winter, you have the advantage of hindsight: You and your agent can review
which homes sold quickly in your area during the warm-weather "peak season."
This gives you the chance to adjust your price and terms accordingly and to make
your home more marketable.
- Don't skimp on holiday decorations.
Autumn wreaths and holiday lights make homes look great at this time of year --
and that can help a house move.
less competition. How many times
did that darling house you had your eye on in May get bought out from under you
while you and your spouse talked over making an offer the very next day?
are often pressured. Motivation is critical
in any real estate situation. Find out how long the house has been on the market.
If it's been hanging around awhile, there's a good chance the seller is getting
antsy. Sellers frequently drop their price -- especially as Christmas draws near
-- giving buyers lower down payments and closing costs. If it went on the market
after the peak season ended, the seller may have a pressing reason to sell, such
as a job transfer, financial problems, divorce or illness to name just a few.
- Consider tax advantages.
When you buy a new home before the end of the year, you'll be able
to report items such as mortgage interest, points, closing costs, property taxes
and more on your tax return.
- Interest rates are
still attractive. If you're ready to
buy, waiting until next spring can spell disaster. Many experts think we've seen
the end of record-low interest rates and that mortgage rates will only go up from
- Beating price hikes. As high as
the prices may seem to you now, chances are they'll only be higher when a new
real estate season starts in March.