It is unquestionably less pleasant to shop for homes in December – the weather can be treacherous and darkness prevails.   But if you’re savvy — and willing to brave the elements — shopping in the low season might get you into a home at a discount compared to prices in peak home-shopping months.

Here are five reasons why December can be a magic month for bargain-hunting home shoppers:

Less competition

In December, there’s not much competition to speak of. Other (saner?) buyers are at home celebrating the holidays with family, so bidding wars will be less common.

One worry: You might have trouble finding an agent who’ll write up your offer. But if you don’t wait until the last minute to find a realtor, you should be fine.

 Tax benefits

Looking for some end-of-year tax deductions? If you close your home purchase before the end of the year, you can deduct certain costs from your upcoming tax return. Including mortgage interest, loan points and property taxes.  Remember, mortgage interest costs tend to be especially high in the early years of a home loan. So, this could be a nice last-minute tax break for your family.

Eager sellers

With the holidays looming and a new tax year nearly upon them, sellers who put their homes on the market in December might be especially motivated to close the deal and start the new year fresh.  Whether it be a job relocation or death in the family, most people selling their homes in December are highly motivated to make a deal.

You get a realistic look at properties

Winter home shopping allows you the chance to see potential homes in a clearer light. With flowers gone and curb appeal at a minimum, shoppers can more easily focus on the permanent features of the home.

As you tour a property, pay attention to things such as:

  • How well the home is insulated.
  • Whether you feel cold drafts.
  • Whether the window seals seem tight.
  • How well the furnace is working.

Another advantage to winter shopping is that your inspector will get a good look at the home while it is under the stress of lower temperatures, winds, snow and rain.

The downside: selection

The downside to winter house hunting is that you will probably be frustrated by the thin selection of properties on the market forcing you to make compromises.  However, the cost-savings may offset any concessions you might need to make.

Are you ready to buy?  Be sure to contact A1 Mortgage for the best rate and close in as little as 10 days!