After Summer, we typically see fewer For Sale signs posted in front of properties. This can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and for owners who want to sell their property during the holidays. Many believe that Fall & Winter home sales are more for investors who are bargain shopping and trying to flip homes. While this may be true to some degree, don’t fear that you’ve missed the boat on making your move yet. Allow me to share why you may benefit from buying and selling during the holiday season.
Less Competition/Lower Inventory –
From a selling standpoint, if there are less people selling, you have less competition in general. Buyers will be less distracted by other options. Lower inventory also means you might be able to sell your house at a more favorable price, since buyers have less to choose from. It can be tougher for sellers during Fall & Winter due to there being less of a buyer’s pool, but the buyers out there are serious and ready to work out a deal. From a buying standpoint, there has been such a lack of inventory recently that everything coming on the market has had multiple offers. Now you can avoid the bidding wars and negotiate more strategically.
More Time –
Selling your home can be a lengthy process; attracting buyers, arranging meetings and drawing up offers to complete a sale takes a lot of time. During the Fall, people are usually home from vacation and back into their scheduled routines. This applies to both sellers and buyers. It can also apply to professional home inspectors, engineers, contractors, appraisers and notaries which you may need to hire to complete your sale. Back to their scheduled routines means they’re able to complete work more quickly.
Tax Breaks –
For Buyers, property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your entire year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December. Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year! Sellers can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of their house. Increasing your cost basis decreases your capital gain because what’s subtracted from the sales price will determine how much of a gain (or loss in some cases) you’ve realized. If you have less of a gain, you’re more likely to fall within the exclusion limit. If you’re gain isn’t excluded, you’ll still pay taxes on less.
For Sellers, closing costs and home improvements may also be tax write offs.
Home for the Holidays –
If your home is selling during a holiday, you can decorate to show off the warmth and approachability of your home. Elegant holiday décor or a lit fireplace can show potential buyers the cozy atmosphere of the home. Highlighting your home’s seasonal appeal definitely gives an added vantage point to a Seller. Moving during this time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons. Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits.
Realistic Pricing –
It’s fairly common to list in the spring or summer with a higher sales price you’re hoping to get because it’s a hotter market. Whether you’ve had a revelation about the price you should be asking for, or have made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you’re probably in better shape to get a more realistic asking price in the Fall. Buyers may also have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and properties that are over-asking-price.
Cooler Weather –
Many people hate shopping for homes during the warmer seasons because being out home shopping and then moving in hot weather is not much fun! Take advantage of the milder weather and stage the outside of your home so a potential buyer gets a good first impression and wants to actually explore it instead of just going inside.
Additional Tips for Sellers:
When marketing your home, use photos from the Spring or Summer when flowers and trees were in bloom. The last thing potential buyers want to be shown are bare trees, dead grass and snow on the ground.
As days get shorter, it gets dark earlier. Be sure your home remains well-lit for potential showings.
If you are looking to buy or sell during the holiday season, please get in touch ASAP so we can discuss your goals and get the ball rolling!