Holiday Home Buying: Shopping For Homes During the Holidays

How to Buy a Home During the HolidaysBuying a home during the holidays - sounds crazy, right? You have about a million tasks on your to-do list and none of them checked off. You have relatives coming into town, the local bake sale needs more holiday cookies, and the cat just crawled-up the tree - again. In the midst of all this holiday chaos you may think the last thing you really want to do is search for your new home. However, you might be missing out. The holiday season can be a fantastic time to buy real estate!

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Sellers Want to Sell - Especially at Holiday Time

Listing inventories tend to drop during the late fall and winter in the Austin market - not only due to the holidays, but also due to the weather. Often, the darker and rainy days are not conducive to home shopping. But, just as there are fewer homes for sale, there are also significantly fewer showings. For sellers who really want and/or need to sell, the slower buyer traffic naturally causes concern. Thus, these sellers may be more motivated to negotiate in order to make a deal before the New Year, by reducing the price, or offering concessions - such as paying all, or a portion of the buyers closing costs in order to finalize a sale.

The long and short - with all the challenges of selling a home in the winter months, home buyers will often find that only the most serious home sellers keep their homes on the market during the holidays, which means potential savings to the savvy home buyer.

Holiday House Hunt - Avoid the Hectic Spring Housing Market

There are a number of advantages to shopping for a home during the winter months, one of which being that you can avoid the hectic spring housing market when most people traditionally buy and sell their homes. Though there will be less inventory, most buyers and sellers are more motivated to complete a transaction, and there will be less competition for the existing inventory.

Avoid Competition from Other Buyers

Springtime in the Austin housing market is typically when home prices rise - sometimes dramatically, due to pent-up buyer demand during the winter. Inventory is often in shorter supply during this time. So, when your dream house is also the dream of another buyer, bidding wars may ensue. Looking for a home during the holiday season means you'll have less competition. While most buyers table their home search until after the New Year or in the spring, you may be securing a much better deal.

Cheaper Moving Costs

You may also find yourself with more time to move. As business tends to slow down around the holidays in many industries, you may find it easier to request time off for the house hunt as well as packing and moving. You might be able to negotiate a lower rate with a moving company as well, as this is also their off-season, by a wide margin.

3 Holiday Home-Buying Strategies

When you're buying a home in the winter, odds are, you need to move as soon as possible. There are a number of strategies buyers can employ to ensure they land the home they want in the timeline they need. Here are a few tips to get ahead when buying a home during the holidays.

Watch Holiday Spending

Buying a home requires a lot of money. Closing costs, moving costs and the down payment are all major expenses that can set home buyers back by thousands of dollars. Home buyers who spend money on gifts, parties and travel may find they're short of cash to buy a home. Buyers can save money by limiting their holiday spending and by agreeing to have a simple holiday season with fewer gifts than normal.

Work With Motivated Sellers

Some home sellers are less motivated at the holidays than others. Sellers who have had their homes on the market for a long time may be less motivated than sellers who have just put their home on the market. Working with a motivated seller makes the buying process easier and faster. 

Find a Reputable Real Estate Professional

Working with a reputable real estate professional makes it easier to negotiate a good price for a home. Working with a real estate professional also makes it easier to get through the purchase process at this busy time of year. Home buyers who want to purchase a home around the holidays should start by hiring a reputable, experienced real estate agent.

If you're serious about buying your next home during the holidays, with a little luck and a good real estate agent, the best gift you'll unwrap this holiday season will be a new home!

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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