The holiday season is full of hustle and bustle. It’s traditionally a time spent gathering with friends, attending celebrations, and searching for the perfect gifts. If you’ve added buying a home to this year’s holiday to-do list, you may face some unique challenges, but you’ll also be poised to take advantage of exciting opportunities. Understanding what you’re up against and how to take advantage of this unique time of year can help you navigate the holiday home-buying process with ease.
1. Anticipate and Plan for Delays
During the holiday season, most people are busy and may be taking extra time off. This could include your lenders, home inspectors, contractors, and moving companies. There are also many bank holidays during the months of November and December, which could create some slowdowns that delay your closing. Keep this in mind and try to be as flexible as possible as you plan out the timing of your property purchase.
2. Recognize the Seriousness of Holiday Buyers and Sellers
With so many other things to focus on, it’s common for buyers to put off home purchases until the New Year. Sellers may also temporarily pull their homes from the market, planning to re-list again in the spring. This means that the buyers and sellers that are left are generally highly motivated. Those that are still in the market are often buying or selling due to a change that requires a move, rather than a desire for a new home. During your negotiations, you may be able to be a bit more aggressive, since sellers likely won’t want to lose a qualified buyer.
3. Be Prepared for a Limited Housing Inventory
Since sellers often decide to hold off on listing until after the colder months and the busy holiday season, the number of available listings can decrease. This limited inventory means you’ll need to be proactive in your search, and it may take a bit longer. It’s also important to get your financing in place. A pre-approval shows that you’re a serious buyer, which can help make your offer more appealing to sellers.
4. Be Flexible with Your Schedule
While the holiday season is often busy, it may also bring more flexibility in terms of time off from work and school. This can be an advantage when scheduling property viewings or meetings with real estate professionals. Use this extra time to view homes that catch your interest, and consider being open to taking care of business during unconventional hours.
However, don’t forget that the holidays are also a time for celebrations and family gatherings. It’s crucial to strike a balance, making sure you’re available for potential real estate opportunities without missing out on the festive fun. Clearly communicating your availability with your real estate agent can be a key to successfully managing these two goals.
5. Delay Your Move if Needed
If the thought of packing boxes and coordinating a move during the holidays feels overwhelming, don’t worry! You may have found and purchased your dream home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move right away.
Many sellers and buyers negotiate move-in dates that work for both parties. For instance, sellers might request a longer time before handing over the keys, so they don’t have to move during the peak of the holidays. Locking in a property without the immediate pressure to move can allow for better planning and a more relaxed transition into your new home.
6. Maximize Year-End Tax Benefits
If you itemize your deductions, owning a home before the end of the year can create some significant tax benefits. This may include the ability to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and points on your loan from this year’s taxable income. Consider consulting with a tax professional to learn how you can best capitalize on these benefits.
7. Keep an Eye on Interest Rates
While it’s difficult to predict interest rates, historically, they have tended to dip during the holiday season. Fewer financial transactions and a quieter lending landscape can sometimes lead to more attractive interest rates for borrowers. If you’re noticing this trend as the holidays approach, it might be an opportune time to lock in a rate. Remember, even a slight percentage drop can mean substantial savings over the life of a mortgage.
8. Don’t Get Distracted with Holiday Sparkle
Homes decorated for the holidays have a unique charm, providing you with a vision of what your own celebrations could look like in that space. If you’re visiting homes during this time, don’t forget to pay attention to the underlying features of the house rather than getting too wrapped up in the holiday decor.
9. Enlist an Experienced Local Agent
Having a local real estate agent who understands the specificities of buying a home during the holidays can be extremely valuable. A trusted agent can provide practical advice to help you manage timelines, understand market dynamics, and handle negotiations, helping to ensure the process is smooth and efficient.
10. Take Advantage of Seasonal Deals and Discounts
During the holidays, retailers often offer sales and promotions on home goods, appliances, and furnishings. Once you’ve closed on a house, take advantage of these seasonal discounts to furnish and decorate your new space. Not only can this save you money, but it can also help you give your home a festive touch right away.
How Keller Home Loans Can Help
At Keller Home Loans, we recognize the unique challenges and opportunities that come with buying a home during the festive season. We offer tailored financing solutions and expert guidance to simplify the process, ensuring you can focus on what matters most—celebrating with loved ones in your new home.
Contact Keller Home Loans today to learn how we can help make your holiday home-buying wishes come true.