The month of December is known for frantic shopping and attending countless holiday parties but not for purchasing a home — and this can work in your favor. With fewer buyers in the marketplace, the available homes for sale are priced to sell. Plus, with fewer fish in the sea, there’s less likelihood of multiple offers and escalator clauses.
If a home is on the market in December, there’s usually a specific reason sellers are looking to move; it could be a job relocation, financial hardship, or a personal change of circumstance. Regardless, it gives you an opportunity to negotiate a sweet deal — lowball the listing price and ask for a closing date that works with your schedule.
Purchasing a home in 2015 is good for your bottom line when tax time rolls around. If you close by December 31, you can deduct property taxes, mortgage interest, origination points on your loan, and interest costs — all while building equity in your home. These deductions can be huge money savers, especially in the early years of your loan when you’re paying off interest.
A moving company’s December calendar usually resembles a ghost town. Not only will you be able to secure movers on short notice, but with competition for prime time slots (weekends) nonexistent, you could probably score a deal as well. Ask them to consider throwing in a couple of moving hours for free or packing materials and boxes gratis. The same tactic may also work with contractors, repairmen, and home inspector services.
With everyone off celebrating the holidays, December is traditionally a lean month for mortgage brokers. Since there are fewer real estate transactions, loan officers may be motivated to offer special incentives and possibly waive or reduce origination fees. With so few loans in the pipeline, underwriting turnaround times will be quick. You may be able to negotiate a better price with the seller if you’re able to close the purchase in under 30 days.
If you’re building a new home, ask about holiday incentives — builders typically roll them out to finish the year with a bang. If upgrades such as custom cabinets, quality carpeting, and designer paint colors are on your holiday wish list, December may be the ideal time to purchase a new-construction home. With fewer units sold throughout the month, the last few days of December are particularly important for sales.
There’s no need to wait until Saturday or Sunday to cram five house showings into your schedule. Rather than using your precious weekends, take an end-of-the-year vacation day on a weekday to check out the available inventory (especially if your company has a “use it or lose it” policy). Chances are, your agent has some time on their hands as well and would appreciate staying busy throughout December.
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