While most people are understandably apprehensive about starting the buying process in December, real estate professionals can - and should - explain the many benefits to doing so. Certainly, agents will find that this is probably the time of year when they're the least busy facilitating real estate sales, but that too can work in buyers' favor.
First and foremost, it's important for shoppers to keep in mind that buying in December is likely to get them some of the best prices of the year, thanks to the fact that many other buyers pull out of the market to concentrate on the holiday season and sellers may be trying to close a sale as soon as possible, according to Trulia. When there are fewer buyers, those who stick around have more negotiating power and are less likely to get sucked into bidding wars.
Big benefits available
Along similar lines, because agents have relatively little to do at when December arrives when it comes to helping clients, it becomes a lot easier for all involved to schedule meetings and house showings. That even includes dealing with mortgage lenders, who typically also face a seasonal lull in financing activity and may be more inclined to give shoppers better deals than they might get after the new year.
Furthermore, for those looking to buy newly built homes, it's quite common for developers to make sure they're enticing people to keep buying homes throughout the month of December. Often, they will either knock several thousand dollars off the price of a home when possible, or otherwise upgrade some of the amenities for the interior, with better cabinets in the kitchen, higher-quality carpeting in the living room or more perks that wouldn't be available at other times of year.
What to keep in mind
Of course, given the amount of demand in residential real estate, it's not exactly a buyer's market for shoppers, but it's better than what's been available since the start of the buying season several months ago, and what's likely to come in just a few months more, according to Bankrate. The fact is that for first-time buyers in particular, the process of shopping for a mortgage and a home and then closing the deal in a timely fashion can be daunting.
Moreover, because of the holiday season, just like many buyers pull out of the market, some owners - even those who have been trying to sell for some time - take the month to concentrate on celebrating with friends and family. However, even as inventories drop by as much as one-third when the calendar year is nearing its end, those sellers who remain on the market are likely quite motivated to get a deal done quickly, meaning buyers might be able to move in shortly after the start of 2019.
During the holiday season, agents may need to do more to drum up business, and highlighting the benefits of buying in the offseason can certainly be an effective approach, even if some consumers may not be thinking in "buyer mode" these days.
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