Today's Smart Investor tip comes from personal finance reporter Marcie Geffner at Bankrate.com.
While most people don't think of the holidays as a good time for house-hunting, Geffner says that may be just the reason to do it. Less competition with other buyers and more desperate sellers can mean a great deal. She explains why below:
Sellers tend to avoid the end of the year due to the short days, wintry weather and conventional wisdom that says buyers are otherwise occupied, says Tim Deihl, associate broker at Gibson Sotheby's International Realty in Boston. But those who do choose to sell at year-end are often under pressure and highly motivated to cut a deal.
"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.
And that's why the year-end might be a smart time to buy: Determined house-hunters can take advantage of sellers' urgency.
Shopping off-season may give you a negotiating edge, but Geffner says the downsides include a limited supply of houses and less attentive real-estate brokers, since they will likely be focused on their own holiday plans.
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