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Real estate values have been climbing in many markets, making bargains all but impossible to find. However, this time of year might be your best chance for buyers to find more value for their money or at least enjoy less stress during their search.

Similarly, sellers who decide to list during the winter months will want to have a strategy to maximize interest in their property. Either way, we’ve put together what you should know about home sales during the holiday season.

Less Traffic, More Interest

While it’s true that fewer people buy and sell homes during this time of year, it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong time to try. Those who are trying to complete a transaction are likely to be more motivated. Whether it’s a job change or personal circumstances, they may have a deadline behind their listing or house hunt.

Buyers may be hoping to avoid the competition and bidding wars that were common during peak season and anticipate their return in the spring. They will be more inclined to move quickly if they see a home that meets their needs. Sellers interested in a speedy sale should price their properties fairly to attract interest rather than inflating their list price in hopes of negotiating. Working with an experienced Realtor is often the best way to avoid overpricing your home and missing out on prospective buyers.

Holiday Highlights

The holidays are typically the time of year when a neighborhood can look its best. If the home you want to sell is in a particularly festive area, it can be an added amenity for your efforts. Feel free to decorate your home for the season, even if you will be hosting potential new owners. Just don’t go overboard with decorations that will distract from the curb appeal or layout.

Buying during the winter offers a chance to evaluate a home during the challenges of cold weather. A showing during low temperatures or snow can make it easier to judge the efficiency of a home and the maintenance it might require this time of year. In addition to other motivations, the spirit of the season can also lead sellers to be more agreeable when it comes time to negotiate.

Timing Advantages

Holiday cheer isn’t the only advantage that comes from off-season buying. For both sides of the transactions, the professionals needed to close the deal are often less busy than they would be at other times of the year. As a result, your real estate agent’s attention will likely be divided among fewer clients, and professionals such as inspectors, appraisers, and lenders may be easier to schedule.

Depending on where you live and your financial situation, there can also be tax advantages to buying or selling a home before the end of the calendar year. Some property tax exemptions can depend on occupying a home before January 1, and income tax breaks may become available on your upcoming return.

If a new home is on your wishlist this winter, start by exploring the resources on our website or call to speak with one of our lending experts today.

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