Buying a house over the holiday season: do’s and don’ts
There’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t buy a house in December — that you should wait until mid-January once the housing market kicks back into full swing. However, for the savvy buyer, the holiday period is as good a time as any to buy a home, provided you know what to look for.
In this post, we take a look at some of the key benefits and drawbacks to buying a house in December, as well as do’s and don’ts if you’re looking to purchase real estate during this time.
Benefits of buying a house over Christmas
- Shorter settlement time. Any owner who can wait to put their property on the market will most likely do so. This means that anyone who is selling over Christmas is doing so for a reason — and that they’ll be motivated for a quick sale.
- Sellers are more willing to negotiate. Most sellers who are on the market over the holidays are motivated to lock in a sale before the New Year. As this deadline draws closer, they may be more open to meeting the market in order to get everything done and dusted before Christmas.
- Less competition for existing properties. With many buyers hitting pause on their home search until the New Year, there’s often less competition on the market during this time. You’ll have fewer people vying for the same properties as you, which gives you a greater chance of securing the home you love.
Drawbacks of buying a house over Christmas
- Fewer listings on the market. Many sellers who can wait will most likely choose to put off listing their property until the New Year. In turn, there are fewer new properties available — and buyers have to work with what they’ve got.
- The settlement process may take longer than expected. Despite your’s and the seller’s motivation, you may find that it takes longer to do things over Christmas. Depending on the timing, you may run into business closures over the holidays, which can lead to a drawn-out settlement period.
- Having to house hunt during the summer. While others are spending their weekends by the beach, you’ll find yourself attending open homes or seeking approvals on your home loan application. This, coupled with the added stress of securing a property may take away from the overall enjoyment of the festive period.
Do’s and don’ts for buying a home over the festive season
It is possible to buy your dream home in December, as long as you plan ahead. If you’re hunting for property at the tail end of the year, these do’s and don’ts will put you in the best position possible for a smooth application and settlement.
- Keep going. Don’t stop looking at homes just because others are doing so. If you remain vigilant, you may be able to score a great deal on a property simply because you were looking when others weren’t.
- Be patient. The market typically slows down at this time of year: there are fewer listings on websites like Domain or realestate.com.au and people may take longer to respond, whether it’s the bank or the seller. Take this into account when looking around and make sure to allow for delays along the way.
- Get ready to act fast. If you spot a bargain over the holiday period, you need to move quickly if you want to lock it down. Make sure your finances are in order and that you’ve already got a solicitor, building inspector and conveyancer lined up and ready to go if you do secure a property.
- Use a mortgage broker. A seasoned broker will be able to help you find the sharpest home loan rate on the market, so you can get the best deal possible for your mortgage. At the same time, they’ll be able to help you secure the finance you need to purchase any property that catches your eye during this period.
- Lead with your best offer. Put an offer on the property that’s reasonable, but expect to negotiate. If you go in at the upper threshold of your budget, that leaves you with very little wiggle room if you need to bump up your offer.
- Be afraid to wait. If nothing good pops up, don’t settle just because you want your property hunt to be done and dusted before the New Year.
- Get hasty. When something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Many buyers make the mistake of thinking they’ve scooped up a great deal over the festive season and are quick to act without doing their due diligence. If a property is heavily discounted and/or has been on the market for an extended period of time, ask why: check recent sales in the neighbourhood and visit the property multiple times (if possible, at different times of the day) to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
Buying a house over Christmas?
Make the process as easy and hassle-free as possible by working with a trusted mortgage broker. From seeking the sharpest rate on the market to helping you get your finances in order, we’ll put you in the best position possible to purchase your property ahead of the holiday season.
** General Advice Warning
The information provided on this website is general in nature only and it does not take into account your personal needs or circumstances into consideration. Before acting on any advice, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice in relation to legal, financial, taxation, mortgage or other advice.