December is a great time of year to buy a home

Holiday spirit is undoubtedly ramping up. As people bake cookies, festively swathe their homes in a mixture of twinkling lights, garland and tinsel and prepare to take leave of their normal nine to five duties for some unrestricted family time, it may seem impossible, and unreasonable, that you could possibly fit hunting for a home into the holiday chaos. You feel as deflated as the final tree, small and without many of its needles, neglected on the Christmas tree lot. “I guess we’ll just postpone our search until the New Year,” you cry, dejectedly, into your glass of eggnog.

But that’s simply not true! December could actually be the BEST time of year to find a home. Read below to see why, between the merriment you have scheduled this holiday season and the clinking of champagne glasses that herald the beginning of 2011, fitting in the house hunt is an absolute must!

  1. Lower home prices. Getting the house of your dreams at a lower cost? It’s a holiday miracle come to life! But it’s true – you’ll see the slackening of demand, a direct result of people spending their time holiday party hopping instead of open house shopping, reflected in softer house prices. Houses that failed to sell in the months prior may be reduced, and new listings will be priced within the confines of a slow market. So instead of perusing the sales at the mall, give yourself the biggest gift of all by bargain hunting for a new home.
  2. Lower mortgage terms and possible tax deductions. Mortgage terms may be more favorable this time of year, as less demand for mortgage money during the holiday season means lenders might be more willing to forgo some of their usual fees or negotiate a few sticking points to get your business. And if you close on or before New Year’s Eve, you are likely to be eligible to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and points on your loan on your income tax return for that year. Significant deductions sound like a great way to ring in the New Year!
  3. Less competition. With less people searching, the competitive landscape is much less fierce. You’re unlikely to end up in a bidding war that could drive up the price for your home, or make it slip through your fingers. Now is a good time to go after what you want, with other househunters less likely to affect your offer.
  4. Motivated sellers. Just like you’re serious about finding a home, people who keep their home on the market during the holidays are serious about selling their home, especially if it has been on the market for several weeks. This eagerness to sell means they are more likely to approach offers with a favorable attitude, and be willing to negotiate on price, give you the closing date you want and even throw in a few extras, like appliances, repairs or window coverings.
  5. Less stress. Should you make an offer on a house and it’s accepted, it’s much easier to book movers this time of year. Most moving companies are booked six weeks or more in advance during the busy summer season. And with lower home prices, lower mortgage terms and possible tax deductions, the competition that’s less fierce and motivated sellers, you hold the power in this buying process. And this control ultimately means a less stressful hunt.

So plate up some cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer, leave the gift wrapping to the professionals and spend some time this season searching out the perfect place to host next year’s holiday gathering: your new home.