Buying or Selling a Home in the 4th Quarter

Don't Put Plans to Buy or Sell a Home on Hold for the Holidays

It’s the time of year when Americans collectively shift into holiday mode. Shopping, parties and special meal preparations take center stage, and many regular activities are pushed aside. You enjoy this festive time of year as much as anyone, but what if you want—or need—to sell your home or buy a new one? Should you put that plan on hold until the New Year? Is everyone else thinking the same way, and there won’t be many suitable homes available? Will buyers make moving their New Year’s resolution rather than the ultimate Christmas gift to themselves?

Selling or Buying a home in the Fall

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Holiday Home Sales from the Buyer and Seller Perspectives

SELLERS: While it’s true many people will wait till the new year, there is a silver lining to late year home sales to go with all the tinsel and glitter. You likely will sell your home more quickly and for a higher price with less competition. With fewer homes on the market, your beloved abode will be more visible to buyers who are out shopping for a home along with warm socks for Uncle Ben and a new casserole dish for grandma. In addition, house hunting during the busy holiday season usually is done by people who are serious about making a move. They may be happy to pay your fair asking price and be less demanding about repairs revealed through the home inspection.

BUYERS: If you’re in home buying mode toward the end of the year, the seller also is usually highly motivated. Coming to agreement on transaction issues may be easier this time of year. Interest rates are hovering around 4 percent, which makes buying a home more affordable for more people. When you consider these affordable interest rates and the fact that home prices are only expected to rise in 2018 (according to Freddie Mac), there’s no time like the present to get the most house for your hard-earned dollars.

If the buyer is also selling a home, both parties may be willing to make concessions to realize the tax benefits of completing sales before January 1. A buyer will be able to deduct mortgage and property interest on their taxes, which can be significant depending upon the price of the property—especially early in the loan process when they are paying off a lot of interest. If there is a reason the seller must move, s/he will not want to carry two mortgages in the New Year.

Even though it’s traditionally been considered a slow time of year for real estate sales, current market conditions make it a a great time to sell a low to moderately priced home. The number of available homes under $300,000 is limited, so the law of supply and demand applies.

Tips for the Holiday Home Seller

DECOR: While decorating for the holidays, your goal must be to “think like a buyer.” That means helping potential sellers visualize celebrating next year’s holidays in your house. DO add attractive touches that make your home feel warm and inviting, but DON’T overdo decorations and remove personal items from view. Also keep in mind the diversity of buyers and AVOID using any religious-based holiday decor. 

CURB APPEAL: Yards are not great selling points at the end of the year, but you can showcase your landscaping by framing and setting out pictures you took when your flowers and plants were in bloom. You also will garner greater curb appeal if gutters are clean and leaves don’t carpet the ground. If snow is in the picture, be sure to keep driveways, walkways and the porch clear. Appearance is important, but more importantly, you want to avoid any claims on your home owner’s insurance due to an accidental fall.

As you can see, buying or selling a home toward the end of the year can be a very good time to make a move. If you need the services of a professional REALTOR® now—or any time of the year—we invite you to contact Semonin Realtors®. Our agents are ready to walk with you step by step through the complex process of the real estate transaction. We’ve been helping make the dream of homeownership come true for more than 100 years, and we would love to do the same for you!