Turkeys and tinsel, dreidels and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it’s the perfect time for … house hunting? OK, we know you’re busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations, but hear us out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big-ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense.
Don’t believe us? November and December are historically our slowest months for home selling activity here in the Phoenix area… but that doesn’t mean that homes aren’t selling and there aren’t deals to be made!!!! Check out these surprisingly smart reasons to let everyone else hit the mall to buy half-off sweaters while you make the purchase of a lifetime: a new house to ring in the New Year.
- Less competition from home buyers
Most buyers take the month off to celebrate the holidays, play some golf, attend parties and host out-of-town guests. Or, maybe they’ve heard that this is a lousy time to buy a house. Whatever the reason, shopping for real estate at a time when fewer buyers are in the market can pay off big.
That’s because competing with multiple offers can be one of the most stressful parts of the home-buying process – especially when we have a low inventory of homes, like we do here in the Valley right now.
- Motivated home sellers
The November and December seller is likely to be serious and motivated—and therefore more open to negotiation. So what you might lack in choice of available homes could be balanced out by dealing with a more flexible seller.
Most sellers have a compelling reason for putting their house on the market during the holidays. (Let’s face it: It’s no holiday party for them to have strangers wandering through their house.) They might be facing a relocation and want to get their kids settled before the new term. Or they might just be feeling some stress if they listed their home in the fall and it’s still languishing post–Turkey Day, making them just a little more desperate and anxious to deal.
Many sellers might also want a contract in hand for tax advantages. If it’s a rental property on which they incurred a loss, they are likely to want to take the deduction this calendar year.
Another tax-related reason: If sellers are likely to make a hefty profit and have a salary raise set to kick in on Jan. 1, they might be subject to a higher capital gains tax on their home sale in the coming year. In this scenario, sellers may want to unload a property before the new year.
Sellers are exempt from paying capital gains tax on the first $250,000 in proceeds from a home sale for a single person, or $500,000 for a couple. After that, the capital gains tax kicks in, based on their income bracket.
- Tax advantages
In case you weren’t aware, the tax benefits go both ways – they’re not just for the seller. Buying now can help you save in April and beyond. Homeownership brings numerous tax perks, from deducting mortgage interest to property taxes. (Update: The House of Representatives just passed its version of the GOP proposed tax plan, which would cap the property tax deduction at $10,000. The House bill also would only allow homeowners to deduct the interest on mortgages up to $500,000, down from the current $1 million.)
Also, many closing fees are tax-deductible if you itemize—although you should always double-check with your accountant about any tax questions.
- A realistic picture of the house
What house doesn’t look amazing in the typical spring buying season, with newly planted flowers and plenty of sunlight streaming through the windows? Checking it out during the winter season, on the other hand, might give you a more accurate idea of what you might be living with the rest of the year.
Of course, don’t forget that issues that crop up more during summer will be less accessible—such as how well the air conditioning works — so make sure that your home inspector does a thorough job with your AC too.
- Greater accessibility to professionals
Since December is usually a slower month all around, you should have easier access to movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers..
Our team of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and our valued vendor partners will definitely be available for you throughout November & December – so if you’re considering buying a home or selling your home… just give us a call at 480.758.3070 or contact us online!