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Why it's naughty and nice to buy a home during the holidays

When most people think of the holiday months (October through January), they envision staying inside with a good book or Netflix, enjoying various wintry gatherings with loved ones, and being warm and cozy. They don't envision the stress of finding the right house or a living room filled with moving boxes during the most wonderful time of the year. While it seems like relocating to a new home during the holidays should be on the naughty list, it is often the nicest time to buy in terms of negotiating price and escrow details.

Spring and summer are considered the hot months of real estate, and it makes perfect sense: weather is nicer, holiday season is over, parents are over their Q1 crunch at work, kids are often out of school, and for many, tax return money is in the bank. However, before you discount house hunting in November or December, here's a list of the benefits:

1. Less Competition Equals Better Pricing

There are less people looking to buy and sell their home during this time period. Even though there is a slight decrease in inventory, there are still many options available to buyers. Most importantly, the competition for buyers is much less intense. This means, buying agents are more likely to negotiate a better deal and terms for their clients due to the slower season. And just because inventory is lower, does not mean available homes are lower quality. The best-fit house at the right price can be easier to find during this season.

2. Sellers are Serious

Typically, there are two reasons why homes are listed for sale during fall or winter. 1) Homes that did not sell during summer months may still be on the market, which means sellers are likely worn out and motivated to make a deal to sell their homes. 2) Homes could also be listed because sellers may need to move or get cash at that particular time, due to career or military relocations, financial issues and family situations.

3. You are the Center of Attention

Aside from clients' hectic schedules, spring and summer are also busier times for Realtors. During the slower real estate season, Realtors can spend more undivided attention and time on their clients. On a side note, if you feel like your Realtor is not responsive enough or truly listening to your needs during the busy season, that could be a whole other issue. Perhaps it's time to find another agent who is a better match.

From my Personal Experience:

In 2014, my wife and I were not in a huge rush to purchase a home, so we remained open-minded about finding a new place during any season, as long as it was before our condo's lease was up 6 months out. We were literally at a Christmas party on December 27, when we got the appointment confirmation from our Realtor to view a house we had seen online earlier that day. While we were hesitant to leave the party early (just when it was getting good), it was worth it, because we put in an offer that evening, which was eventually accepted. Due to the slower holiday season and less competition, we got the house for a steal!

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