While the holiday season might not be the hottest time of the year for real estate, there are plenty of compelling reasons why buyers should bundle up and start house hunting. From lower buyer competition and motivated sellers to a lull in lending and year-end tax benefits, December offers a wealth of advantages you may not have realized existed.
1. Bargain Prices
The twelfth month of the year is famous for shopping and holiday parties, but not for homebuying. Buyers can use this to their advantage: with less interested buyers in the marketplace, the homes that are available are priced to sell. Fewer customers equal fewer offers, fewer bidding wars, and a lower chance of seeing escalator clauses.
2. Flexible Schedules
Weekends in the holiday season are hectic, so why not take that unused end-of-year vacation day on a weekday to check out the housing inventory in your desired neighborhood? There’s a good chance your agent has some free time in the down month and would appreciate staying busy.
3. Motivated Sellers
If someone puts their residence on the market in December, there’s likely a specific reason they want to move. It may be job relocation, sudden financial hardship, or some change in personal circumstance. Whatever the reason, you could be staring at a prime opportunity to negotiate a favorable deal. Give a lowball offer and ask for a closing date that fits into your schedule.
4. Tax Benefits
When tax season rolls around in early 2017, it helps to have purchased a house in 2016. As long as you close by December 31st, you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, origination points on your loan, and interest costs, all while your home builds equity. These deductions can total up to massive savings, particularly when paying off interest in the early years of your loan.
5. Lending Lull
With so many people relaxing and celebrating the holidays, December is naturally a slower month for mortgage brokers. This downtime presents another opportunity to secure the best mortgage deal possible. With fewer real estate transactions occurring, loan officers might offer special incentives and even reduce or waive origination fees. Underwriting turn times will be speedy, and you can try to negotiate a lower price with the seller if you agree to close in under 30 days.
6. Vendor availability
There is also less action in the vendor marketplace, meaning movers are more likely to have openings in prime time slots like weekends and may offer an exclusive deal. Try asking for a few free hours or boxes as part of your agreement, and try the same tactic with contractors, inspectors, and repair servicers.
7. Builder Incentives
If you decide to build a new home, ask builders about holiday incentives that are rolled out to raise sales in the last days or weeks of the year. If you have your eyes on upgrades including custom cabinets, designer paint colors, or quality carpeting, December could be the month to score on your holiday wish list.
Champion Title: Title Insurance & Title Services
Besides providing Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia title insurance, Champion Title also offers an array of title services that streamline closings. Our title agents can assist realtors in residential sales, refinancing homes, securing title insurance, title searches, and filing a 1031 exchange. Take a look at our homepage to read about our services, or contact us today.