Who's working -- and who's not?
Not only sellers and buyers, but also real estate professionals like to take time off from work in November and December. Realtors and mortgage brokers have friends and family, too.
That said, many pros do work during these months, precisely because they know many buyers have vacation time to devote to year-end house hunting, Pozek says.
Either way, it's a good idea to ask your agent what his or her plans are so you won't be caught off guard or left hanging if your calls or emails suddenly aren't answered as quickly as you'd expected.
Individual mortgage brokers also might take some time off at the end of the year. But it would be unusual for a mortgage company or bank to be closed any normal business day other than Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, according to Julie Miller, branch manager at Broadview Mortgage in Tustin, Calif.
"I don't know of any mortgage company or bank that closes for longer than the typical holidays," she says.