Making the Most of Your Buyers' Winter Search

December 3, 2013

The holidays are the perfect time of year for some home buyers to purchase a house and snag a great year-end deal — but limited inventory may be the Scrooge.

After a challenging home-buying season in the spring and summer, many buyers say they plan to reignite their home search during the winter, according to a recent® survey. They're hoping for less competition from all-cash buyers and fewer bidding wars during that time. 

However, winter often brings about limited inventories of homes for sale, so buyers will likely find fewer choices. It seems that buyers expect that: 45 percent of those surveyed in the® Winter Home Buyer Report say they believe they’ll be up against inventory challenges again during the winter months.

Some real estate agents are grappling with that issue by finding homes that aren’t officially on the market to increase their buyers’ choices. They are even drumming up “old expires” — homes that were listed several years ago but never sold — to see if the owner will reconsider selling. Some brokers are also sending letters to home owners in their buyer’s preferred neighborhood to motivate a home owner to consider selling.

Still, buyers shopping for a home in winter may find sellers more amenable to striking a good deal. Particularly during the holidays, sellers can be highly motivated to sell before the end of the year, says Tim Deihl, associate broker at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston. Buyers may be able to take advantage of that sellers’ urgency.

“A seller who’s looking to move a piece of real estate during the holidays is a seller who needs to sell, because nobody in their right mind would pick that as the most convenient time to list their property,” Deihl says.

Source: “Holiday home-buying may pay off,” (Dec. 2, 2013)

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