Are the Holidays a Good Time to Buy a Home in South King County?
This is a question I often get when November rolls around. And I’m hearing it even more often than usual this autumn!
That’s because 2018 was a crazy, crazy real estate market in the areas my team serves. Like much of the greater Puget Sound, homes in Covington, Kent, Maple Valley, and Renton saw increases in sales prices and multiple offers, as well as decreases in market time.
We were definitely in a seller’s market – and that was tough for many buyers.
But the market has shifted (watch for my upcoming blog post summarizing Q3 homes sales in the micro-market I specialize in). And between that market shift, and changes that traditionally occur this time of year, now is an excellent time to buy a home.
MARTI’S SEVEN SURPRISING REASONS TO BUY A HOME DURING THE HOLIDAYS
- Dark winter days. Did that get your attention? Here in the Puget Sound, we have a lot of grey winter days. A home feels very different inside during the sometimes sunless winter than it does on a sparkling sunny day. Everything looks better in the summer. And yet, you’re going to live in your home year-round. It’s definitely an advantage to see your new home at the least interesting time of year. If you love it then, you’ll likely love it every month of the year.
- Less competition. Fewer buyers are in the market for a home at year-end. That works to your advantage! Less competition = sellers who must work harder to get their home sold. We rarely see multiple offers at this time of year, and often are able to negotiate price reductions or other concessions on behalf of our buyers.
- Reducing the overwhelm. Competing in a multiple-offer environment is one of the most stressful parts of the home purchase process. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that? Well, serious buyers can – by purchasing a home at the time of year when the market is traditionally slower. While you may have fewer homes to pick from, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Isn’t it easier to select from 5 or 6 great homes listed by motivated sellers than 3 dozen owned by sellers who are expecting bidding wars?
- Better interest rates. There is often a trend of lower interest rates over the holidays. No, it’s not because lenders are feeling generous and want to spread holiday good will. It’s simply a question of supply and demand. With fewer buyers in the market, lenders may be willing to offer better interest rates. It’s also worth noting that interest rates are expected to rise next year. Since a 1% increase in rates equates to a 10-13% reduction in purchase power, buying a home now could well be in your best interest.
- Tax benefits. Full disclosure here: I’m not a tax advisor. I do, however, recommend you talk with one to see what tax benefits are available to you if you buy before the end of the year. You may be able to deduct any points you pay at closing, as well as prepaid property taxes, and mortgage interest. Everyone’s situation is unique, and it likely won’t make sense to buy strictly for tax benefits, but it could be beneficial.
- Greater accessibility to skilled professionals. During the peak months in the real estate market, it can be difficult to get stellar service from overworked professionals (real estate agents, mortgage lenders, escrow officers, inspectors, and movers). When year-end rolls around and the market is typically slower, these critical professionals have more time and energy to devote to helping you make the best possible move. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
- Tis the season! While we can’t make any guarantees, there’s often a sense of goodwill in the air over the holidays. Sometimes sellers are just a little easier to work with because they are in the holiday spirit! As a result, you may find that they’re willing to work just a bit harder to make your purchase dreams come true.
Are you rethinking the possibility of buying a home over the holiday season? Or do you need a little more information?
I invite you to contact us so we can discuss your situation and create a home-buying plan perfectly tailored to meet your needs.
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