Most realtors will tell you that spring and summer are the hottest real estate seasons — in fact, in a typical year, about half of all homes sold are sold in these warmer months since it is easiest for families to purchase, settle, and move before a new school year starts. But just because the weather is colder and the year end is fast approaching, this shouldn’t stop home buyers from shopping!
With your time off around the holidays and a lull in your usual hectic schedule, take advantage of time to browse your favorite home apps (and the ListWithElizabeth.com website!), get inspired about your dream decor, and maybe even schedule some showings.
Trust us, you won’t want to hibernate on a winter home purchase! Here are eight reasons to get excited about a home purchase at the end of the year.
As mentioned earlier, supply and demand for housing generally both go down during the winter months. A smaller pool of buyers is great news… it gives you increased negotiating power when submitting an offer for a house.
Less foot traffic and buyer interest could make some sellers motivated to entertain lower offers. You should feel empowered to negotiate with confidence both on making necessary repairs and lowering the price. This could lead to you saving big on your purchase.
Slowdowns during the end of the year don’t only affect sellers of resale properties, but also new construction homebuilders. Some builders have been known to offer additional incentives to attract interest and boost sales during the winter. Think upgrades, discounts, and maybe even comp’d closing costs.
Because not as many motivated buyers are looking in the winter, you likely won’t have to deal with as many competing buyers as you would if you waited to buy in spring.
If you’ve been outbid, caught in a bidding war, or even had your dream home snatched before you could make an offer, you know how delightful it can be to get first choice of the available offerings.
Better Moving Prices
Lulls during the end of the year also have an impact on moving prices. If you’re thinking about hiring a moving company, this is the best time to book.
Due to greater demand in the spring and summer, some companies charge more for standard services. But during the winter, when moving companies are less busy, you not only have more companies to choose from, but also better moving prices. Since there are more options, some companies may discount their services to stay competitive.
Access to Affordable Contractors
The winter season slowdown in real estate also makes available more contractors, including inspectors, electricians, plumbers, and roofers who may be needed to pass inspection and make your new home habitable. With less work to be done, your repair and renovation project could be completed faster and at lower cost.
See Homes at Their Harshest
Sure, house hunting in summer is easier and lets you see your potential new home at its greatest and greenest. But house hunting in winter allows you to witness the full picture, especially seeing how your potential new home handles harsh weather.
Because if you can fall in love with a house even with the weather at its worst, then you can be confident that living there will only get better in warmer weather.
Time to Move and Unpack
Summer isn’t the only time that families have downtime to get themselves resettled. Most companies offer holidays or shut down for one or two weeks at the end of the year.
If your employer offers time off around the holiday season, this might be the perfect time to buy a house because you’ll have time to move and unpack before heading back to work.
A year-end home purchase, in particular, can make excellent sense from a financial standpoint.
Those that are self-employed or in higher tax brackets know that it’s best to take every allowable deduction available. And if you purchase a house at the end of the year and close on or before December 31, you’re eligible for mortgage-related deductions!
Obviously you can still take advantage of these deductions by closing on your mortgage after January 1… but only the following year when you file your tax return.
Buying before the end of the year can lower your tax liability in the current year with deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, interest costs and points. Depending on the price of your home, this could save you hundreds!
Here’s another useful year-end financial tip: If you can afford it or need additional tax savings for the year, make an extra mortgage payment late in December with enough time to be processed by your lender before the end of the year. Also take care of any repairs before the end of the year to be fully deductible against income taxes.
Spring and summer may be the sweet spot for some home buyers, but if you can handle a few inconveniences – like winter weather – and can work your search into a hectic holiday schedule, there are many reasons why winter may actually be the best time to buy a home.