Finish with a Flourish: Year-End Housing Tip

Living RoomThe home-buying bonanza in some markets is slowing down as steep price increases level out. That means many house hunters may decide to take the holidays off.

But buyers and sellers still can get plenty done in November and December, industry observers say. Here?s a guide for navigating the region?s housing market as the end of the year beckons:

??Tis the season to ? buy. The holidays are a sneaky-good time to be in the market. Bidding wars have tested the resolve of some prospective buyers, as investors swooped in with cash to impress sellers and close the deals.

But buyers willing to shop for homes while everyone else is decking the halls may find the market more to their liking in these last two months.

?You don?t have as much competition,? said Judy Trudel, an agent with Balistreri Realty in Lighthouse Point, Fla. ?It might be one of the only times of the year you can get in the door without a multiple-offer situation.?

?For sellers, there?s no time like ? now. Some sellers figure it?s best to avoid the holiday hubbub and wait until the spring, when the market will be full of young families looking to move and get settled before the new school year starts in the fall.

That?s all true. But by listing now, sellers can capitalize on the influx of winter visitors ? and the homes show better because they?re decorated. In addition, more properties are expected to hit the market after the first of the year, meaning conditions may not be as favorable for sellers.

?When there?s less to choose from, it puts the seller in a stronger position,? said Carrie Hazen, an agent for Coldwell Banker in Florida?s Broward and Palm Beach counties. ?Some buyers who haven?t gotten a home yet are desperate, so sellers might be able to get a higher dollar this time of year.?

?Sellers should consider giving in, just a little. The revitalized market has forced buyers to meet seller demands or risk losing the home. While sellers still have the advantage, they may find it?s in their best interest to be accommodating, especially when working with buyers who need to move in by a certain date.

?Don?t ever let the closing date get in the way of a deal,? said Dean Ehrlich, broker-owner of RE/MAX Sun & Sea in Parkland, Fla. ?It?s just not worth it.?

Source: MCT Information Services