Bargain-hunting for Real Estate at Christmas!

By: Melissa O'Connell

Christmas and New Year is a very good time to be looking for your bargain buy in real estate. If you are on a budget, and need to edge the seller's price down a little, then try buying in the Christmas and New Year period. Contrary to what you may be thinking it has nothing to do with a soft seasonal spirit!

It has more to do with the hard facts of life! The fact is that no-one really wants to have their house listed over the Christmas and New Year holidays. There is usually too much Christmas clutter in the house which means that it won't 'show' well, there is often baking going on in the kitchen making a big mess and perhaps even extra guests are crowding out the bedrooms!

You can deduce that if a house is on the market at Christmas, there is a good chance that the sellers must really want to sell! Sellers who are really motivated to sell are more likely to seriously consider a lower price offer.

Another way to spot a potential bargain is to check if there are any open houses in this period. The same expectation of the seller being motivated could apply to a house that is offering an open house in this time frame. If so, it is worth taking a look and asking all the questions that present themselves.

For instance check out the surrounding area and ask questions about it. Ask for the pros and cons so that you can hear both sides. The realtor showing the house is under a legal obligation to tell you any defects of the home - so ask! Remember the person showing the house may not always be the listing realtor, but you can ask if this is the case. Other factors could include: is there a noise problem? Is it near a railway line or a club that turns out late at night?

Open houses give you the opportunity to ask about other offers: have there already been any offers on the house? If the answer is yes, you need to know why they were rejected. Was it because the price was too low, or was it the conditions of the agreement? Ask if the seller has any conditions attached to the sale (i.e. they may want three months to completion).

Another question to ask if why is the house on the market? Are the sellers re-locating? Have they already bought in the new area? It could be to your advantage if they have, as they would be anxious to get on with their new life. They may also be paying two mortgages in this interim period.

Put 'house buying' at the top of your Christmas list and go bargain-hunting for your own Christmas present!

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