Taking Advantage of Real Estate’s Off-Season
As we approach real estate’s off-season, I want to stump a few myths. Most are usually under the impression that once November rolls around, opportunity to buy is not only limited, but a bad idea. Many decide to wait until after the New Year to get serious about buying without realizing the large number of hidden benefits to house hunting DURING the holiday season.
Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Lower competition:
We all know the spring and summer months are the most competitive in real estate. Families want to be moved in before school begins; the warmer weather means people are more motivated to hunt for their next home; and most would prefer to be completely settled before the holiday hustle and bustle begins. If you do decide to house hunt during the off-season, however, you’re looking at fewer competitors, fewer multiple offer scenarios (if any!), and less likelihood of being outbid (hallelujah).
2. Enthusiastic sellers:
Seriously, if someone is going to put their house on the market while everyone else is cuddled together by the Christmas tree, you’re going to find yourself meeting quite a few highly, highly motivated sellers (yes, I said highly twice). If a seller wants to sell over the holidays, they’ll be much more inclined to entertain your offers if it means getting the job done.
Even banks and asset managers who are handling short sales and foreclosures will be more inclined to give you a deal if it means getting some properties off their books and into someone else’s hands before the end of the year. I’m not implying that you’ll be buying mansions for nothing, but you’ll find yourself receiving more attention, consideration and experiencing an over all expedited process when it comes to your transactions.
3. Weather conditions make for accurate house inspections:
Buyers rely on house inspectors to surface any hidden house defects. However, as an agent with decades of experience, I can tell you that there are always caveats and exceptions within a house inspection report. For example, inspectors can’t vouch for a feature if they are unable to see it at work at the time of their inspection; the roof, drainage systems, basement and slopes often offer unpleasant surprises for summer and spring buyers. Off-season house hunters, however, have the advantage of having their house inspection during weather conditions that are perfect for testing such features. If there is a roof leak, this is the time of year to discover it! As a result, you’ll be able to negotiate with your seller so that you can come to a deal that you might deserve but not be able to take advantage of during the high-season.
4. Keeping a handle on your cash:
Over spending during the holiday season is way too easy to do. If you’re keeping your focus on house hunting and not on holiday binge shopping, you’re more likely to have the money when the house of your dreams shows up. By staying focused, you minimize the possibility of having to postpone your real estate plans post-holiday-financial-crisis.
5. No more stressing about opportunities that won’t wait:
It’s true that there are fewer listings that come on the market during the off-season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome, unique and beautiful hidden gems. There are always sellers with gorgeous homes that haven’t found the right time to sell, or perhaps something in their lives has changed that requires their home be sold as soon as possible. You never know the reason, but rest assured, there’s always something. Putting your house hunt on full speed when most shoppers are taking a break means you’ll get first dibs when “the one” comes on the market.
6. Interest rates are still low and very attractive. They may be higher next Spring, so take advantage of great rates now!
Embrace this coming off-season with open arms.
It might just be the season where you land your dream home at your dream price.