Turkeys and tinsel, dreidels and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it's the perfect time for ... house hunting. I know you're busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations, but hear me 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. Here’s Why:
1. Less competition from home buyers Most home buyers take the month off to celebrate the holidays, attend parties, host out-of-town guests and, quite frankly, avoid trudging around in inclement weather to look at houses. 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.
2. Motivated (or maybe desperate) home sellers The 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. 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. 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.
3. Tax advantages In case you weren't aware, the tax benefits go both ways. 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 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 the clients itemizes—although you should instruct clients to always double-check with an accountant about any tax questions.
4. 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 a more accurate idea of what clients might be living with the rest of the year.
5. Greater accessibility to professionals Since December is usually a slower month all around, we would have easier access to movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers. In addition, I’m motivated to bend over backward to provide service with fewer client demands and I share the desire to get it done and in the books before the new year rolls around.
While all of this makes the case for buying over the holidays, of course every situation is going to be different, so I'd be happy to look at your situation and make recommendations that are in line with your needs. We can work together to advise the best course of action based on all that detailed information above. Give me a call anytime; I am always happy to help... even over the holidays.
In the meantime, MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thanks & Best Regards,
Mary & John Kennedy