How buying Real Estate just before Christmas can save you thousands
It rolls around at the same time every year, and yet every year we seem to be caught unawares. Believe it or not, Christmas is upon us once again. It's the time of year when all other concerns are put aside, in favour of gift shopping, party planning and holiday making.
What does the festive season mean for those of us who are in the market for a new home? For most real estate agents, the months of November and December are relatively slower months of the year, with a greater emphasis being on prospecting for listings to bring to market heading into the new year.
There are plenty of reasons why buying a home before Christmas can be a smart move.
For buyer's agents however, it can be one of the busiest, most exciting and rewarding times of the year. Challenging and competitive conditions in the market meaning that savvy buyers are choosing to keep their head in the game, looking for that elusive yuletide bargain.
Whether or not you see reduced competition as the big day approaches, there are plenty of reasons why buying a home before Christmas can be a smart move.
Sellers are motivated
The proof of the pudding lies in the easing property markets of our capital cities. According to CoreLogic RP Data, falling auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne can be a useful and timely indicator of housing market conditions, suggesting the capital city property boom is approaching its end.
While it's a little early for sellers to hit the panic button, it's likely some will be looking to wrap up their sales before the holiday break. The festive cheer may not necessarily extend towards lower house prices, but your ability to negotiate a lower price may be increased at this time of year.
Compounding this desire to sell is the likelihood that a significant proportion of buyers in the market have their own Christmas concerns to worry about. A reduction in buyer concentration leaves an abundance of stock on market, leaving those of us who remain keen over the holiday period with greater choice and leverage.
Giving someone else the gift of land tax
Appearing on the calendar just as regularly as Christmas – although perhaps not as welcome – is NSW and Victoria's land tax date. At midnight of December 31, any property you own or jointly own is counted towards your land tax threshold. For owners over the limit, this translates to finding an unwanted lump of coal in their stocking, in the form of hundreds or thousands of dollars of taxes.
It's just one more reason why sellers may be looking to urgently offload their homes for sale before the changing of the calendar. Your buyer's agent will likely advise you to be fully prepared for rushing through any deals you could find in December. Desperate buyers looking to stay off the tax man's naughty list might just be willing to accept an offer that wouldn't have a chance in the middle of the year.
A reduction in buyer concentration leaves an abundance of stock on market.
Even agents are scrambling
A real estate agent's duty is to get the best price they can for their client, based on the market conditions at the time. That said, at this time of year, even real estate agents are susceptible to the pressures of the season, and will be working extra hard to secure sales and draw in those last commissions of the year.
The more cash coming in, the merrier the Christmas will be, so if you're showing serious interest in a house for sale around the festive period, eager real estate agents should be willing to accommodate any requests you might have. Best of all, your buyer's agent can use their extensive connections in the property industry to learn which properties are on the must-sell list, opening up the chance for you to make a lower offer.
Of course, another concern just over the horizon for real estate agents comes from the expected influx of home listings as the new year gets underway. More stock hitting the market means more competition for those properties they are already trying to offload, so expect some heavy reductions before the year draws to a close.
Use the holidays to your advantage
Never forget that even the most tirelessly working real estate agents are, deep down, just people with families and holiday plans of their own. In some instances, this can also work in your favour. Senior agents taking their Christmas breaks away from the office could potentially leave less experienced agents – or even assistants – in charge of transactions conducted over the festive period.
There are no sure things in this situation, but your buyer's agent may be able to negotiate more aggressively with less seasoned agents, leading you to further savings.
Christmas comes but once a year, and along with it some unique real estate opportunities. If you're dreaming of hearing the sound of reindeer on a new roof this year, speak to your buyer's agent about properties for sale this silly season.