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5 Reasons Why Year-End May be the Best Time to Buy a House

Year-End Home Buying

With temperatures falling and thoughts increasingly turning to turkeys, tinsel and other holiday traditions, late fall and winter would hardly seem the best time of year to buy a house.

Yet if you’re willing to uncurl yourself from in front of the fireplace to dodge the coming snowflakes and raindrops, you may find a great homebuying bargain this holiday season.

Here’s why –

Less Competition

As the climate changes, many of the buying hordes you encountered in summer go into winter hibernation. They may have decided they don’t want to uproot their kids in the middle of the school year or have simply seen their homebuying interest wane as the spectacular lawns that dazzled them in summer have now turned brown under a blanket of winter frost.

Your buying advantage:

With fewer buyers parading through their doors, sellers may grow nervous and price their homes more aggressively, especially if their homes have been up for sale since summer. This is particularly true if they’re about to start a new job in the new year. Perhaps they’ve already moved and don’t want to incur the continued expense of their old home. If they’re investors or flippers, they could even be selling for tax reasons, selling the home at a loss to offset an investment gain.

With your preapproval in hand, these sellers will likely be more receptive, from the open house to the offer table.

Potential Tax Benefits

If your mortgage closes before the end of the year, you may be able to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes and other costs related to your home purchase. The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, imposed new rules and limits on these potential deductions, so it’s more important than ever to discuss these changes with your tax advisor.

Your buying advantage:

Homebuying still offers potential tax savings that are not available to renters.

Builder Incentives

Just like car dealers and other high-volume merchants, builders don’t want to carry a lot of inventory into the new year. They want to clear their books and start fresh. Every day that inventory sits, builders are losing money.

Therefore, there is a good chance new construction homes will be incentivized to attract buyer interest and boost sales by tossing in extra perks, such as appliance and material upgrades and discounts on asking price or paid closing costs.

Your buying advantage:

As they say, timing is everything, and by hunting for a home in the fall\winter season, your timing couldn’t be better.

Stress-Tested Homes

In the height of summer, you may have been tempted to make an offer within an hour or two of seeing the house. In a such a frenzied seller’s market, you may have waived a second showing or even the home inspection that could have identified lurking hazards or costly repair issues.

But in the relative calm of searching for homes in the off-season, you will be less likely to waive that important protection and bargaining chip. Indeed, a winter inspection may reveal how the house’s heating, plumbing, roof, insulation and other vital systems perform under extreme weather.

Your buying advantage

Leaky roofs typically don’t reveal themselves on sunny days, so a winter inspection may offer more revealing insights into the true condition of the potential property you’re considering to buy.

Moving Company Discounts

Moving families across the street or across the company is a service subject to the laws of supply and demand. In summer, when moving activity is highest, moving companies typically charge more and when demand eases, many outfits often lower their prices to keep their crews working. 

Your buying advantage

Paying less to move could leave you with more money for other expenses, such as furnishing your home when that old sofa or bedroom set won’t do. At the same, making a year-end move may allow you to use any leftover vacation time that you would otherwise lose. Combining those days with plant or office shut downs that many companies schedule around the holidays may provide you with more time to move and unpack before heading back to work in the new year.

When asked why he had such a high batting average, baseball legend Willie Keeler, all 5-feet-4½-inches, 140 pounds, simply replied, “Hit ‘em where they ain’t.”

Well, you can collect more housing hits too if you view the off-season as the best time to buy a house. With your competitors not willing to brave the cold or interrupt their comfortable holiday schedules, you’ll practically have the homebuying field to yourself.

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