Moving during the holidays can be a headache with all the seasonal activities and obligations – not to mention unpleasant weather in many locations. However, there are plenty of positives to buying a home during the holidays that may make the headaches of moving worth the effort, including the seven listed below.
1. Less Competition – The same issues that make holiday moving a hassle tend to keep people from shopping for homes at that time. While there may be fewer homes available, there are also fewer homebuyers – and that should equal less competition for any home that fits your needs.
2. Motivated Sellers – Home sellers don't enjoy moving over the holidays any more than homebuyers do. It's likely that people who are selling their homes over the holidays are highly motivated to do so. Perhaps they must relocate for a new job, or their home has been on the market for a long time and they need the money from a sale before the year is out. Combine motivated sellers with decreased competition and you have great leverage to get a better deal.
3. Lower Prices – Home prices have been rising rapidly, in part because of an overall shortage of homes. However, December historically has lower home prices than any other month, due in part to the reasons listed above. There's no guarantee that this year will continue the trend, but it's worth checking the prices within your local market.
4. Faster Closings – As a general rule, everyone involved in a holiday real estate transaction wants to complete the transaction before the year ends. Buyers want to settle in their new homes (and if sellers are relocating, they want to settle in before the holidays as well). Lenders want to include the loan on the current year's books. Real estate agents and brokers want to include their commission on the current year's income. Motivated parties should make the closing process go as smoothly as possible – but do your part by having all the required paperwork in order.
5. Better Interest Rates – Interest rates are still near historical lows. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped throughout the first three quarters of 2019, with September seeing the lowest monthly average in over three years. While it has risen since then, it is still under 4%. As of this writing, interest rates are fairly stable around 3.70%, compared to 4.75% last December. Online calculators are available to show you how much you can save over the life of a mortgage with even a slight decrease in interest rates. You may be surprised at the savings. Remember that your credit score will impact your mortgage rate, keep you from qualifying for one. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips.
6. Motivated Agents – Lower activity in the housing market means that real estate agents are dealing with fewer clients. They have more time to devote to your situation, and, with fewer sales commissions available, they may be just a bit more motivated to bring your purchase to completion.
7. Related Seasonal Sales – Need new furniture or other items for your new home? Plenty of seasonal clearance sales will be available to help you apply a personal touch – but be careful not to spend yourself into unrecoverable debt.
These tips don't always apply during every year or in every market, but the holidays usually provide these advantages to potential homebuyers. Check out the conditions in the local market and see if you can find the home of your dreams and get a great deal in the process. Don't worry about moving during the holidays. Santa will still find you.
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