By JIM SMITH, Realtor®
I’ve written in the past about how winter can be a great time of year to sell a home, as there’s often less competition for buyers’ attention due to lower inventory. Also, buyers who may have failed to secure a home earlier in the year are still out there, and still getting auto emails with new listings (yours?) that match their search criteria.
But let’s look at winter from the buyer’s perspective for a moment. Here are some reasons that buyers might want to include house hunting in their holiday shopping plans.
First of all, it’s likely you’ll be competing with fewer other buyers, particularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This could make it easier to land the home you fall in love with.
Second, homeowners who put their home on the market during December may be a bit more motivated to sell for reasons that may or may not be disclosed.
For example, there could be a job relocation, or they may have tax considerations making them want to consummate the sale before year’s end. Check the days on market for each listing. If the home was listed in the summer or early fall, the seller may be in a position to settle for less now that it’s December.
You, as a buyer, may have tax considerations of your own. Some of your mortgage closing costs are tax deductible, so you may want to close in December to get those deductions a year earlier.
On the other hand, if you close on a home in January from an elderly seller who has a senior property tax exemption, that tax exemption applies to you, too, for the entire 2018 tax year. (That benefit is based on who owned the house on Jan. 1st.) Weigh this against other tax considerations before deciding whether to close on that house in December versus January.