It’s counterintuitive, but December can be an excellent time to find a home. That’s particularly true for buyers sick of losing out to others in the busier home buying months. But if you are savvy — and willing to brave the elements — shopping in the low season might get you into a home for less money than you’d spend in May.
Chances are excellent you’ll be able to buy at a discount compared with prices in peak home-shopping months. Here are five reasons why December can be a magic month for bargain-hunting home-shoppers:
1. Limited competition
In December, there’s less competition — other (saner?) buyers are out shopping for gifts, preparing big meals or too busy to think. If you plan it right, though, you could plan around your other festivities and your wallet will benefit in the end.
2. Tax benefits
Looking for some end-of-year tax deductions? If you close your home purchase before the end of the year, you can deduct certain costs from your 2016 tax return. They include:
• Mortgage interest
• Loan points
• Property taxes
Remember, mortgage interest costs tend to be especially high in the early years of a home loan. So, this could be a nice last-minute tax break for your family.
3. Desperate sellers
With the holidays looming and a new tax year nearly upon them, sellers who have their homes on the market will into December might be especially motivated to close the deal and start the new year fresh.
Some desperate reason for a December listing could include a death in the family, financial pressure or a job relocation. If you’re a buyer, that urgency to sell can put money in your pocket.
4. You get a realistic look at properties
Winter home-shopping allows a chance to see real-estate properties in a clearer light. With flowers gone and curb appeal at a minimum, shoppers can more easily focus on the permanent features of the home.
As you tour a property, pay attention to things such as:
• How well the home is insulated.
• Whether you feel cold drafts.
• Whether the window seals seem tight.
• How well the furnace is working.
Another advantage to winter shopping is that your inspector will get a good look at the home while it is under the stress of lower temperatures, winds, snow and rain.
5. Rates still are low
Mortgage rates are still attractive compared with historical norms. Make sure to shop around for the best option for you. Talk to our expert mortgage team to answer any questions. Getting pre-approved is always the best option for an expedited home buying process.