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Posted in: Buying a home

Four things you should know about buying during the holidays

buying a home holidays

Key insights:

  • Purchasing a home during the holidays can work well for committed buyers who are ready to move quickly
  • Our local market still favors sellers in most home price brackets, so holiday buyers shouldn't expect a discount
  • Holiday buyers should stay in town so they don't miss opportunities on newly listed homes

For the right buyer, purchasing a home over the holidays can be ideal. In addition to competing against fewer buyers, you'll finish the season off with the greatest gift of all — a new place to call home for years to come.

Here are four insights you can use as you purchase a home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin this holiday season.

You'll compete against a small, committed pool of buyers

The holidays are a less popular time to buy a home, so you may see fewer buyers at open houses. Don't assume this means you are without competition – holiday buyers are more dedicated to getting to the closing table, and multiple offers are still possible due to limited inventory in many areas. Be prepared to move quickly on a home that meets your criteria, as homes in our local 13-county metro area sold in an average of just 66 days on market in October (Northstar MLS).

Don't bother putting in low offers

It's common among holiday buyers to assume that sellers are desperate to move and may be willing to accept an offer for well under asking price. While Scrooge would approve of this philosophy, the reality is that sellers still hold an advantage this holiday season. In our local market, sellers who closed in October received 98.5 percent of their original asking price (Northstar MLS). To avoid losing a home you love, work with your REALTOR® to determine an initial competitive bid.

Limit your travel and don't overschedule yourself

It can be difficult to slow down during the holidays, but in our fast-moving market, you'll need to work around seller schedules. Whether you find a house through online searches or your Realtor sends a hidden gem your way, your goal should be to see it in person as soon as possible.

Set a small gift budget, and stick to it

It's tempting to go all out for the holidays but it's important to keep your spending low as you apply for a home mortgage loan. To ensure you get the best interest rate and loan amount, don't open any new credit cards and steer clear of racking up debt on any existing credit cards. And this probably goes without saying... but this is not the year to unveil a Lexus with a massive red bow to your spouse. Leave that to the actors in television commercials.

Ready to find the one this holiday season?

If you're hoping to get a head start on buying before the spring market arrives, start now! Our customer care team can connect you with a local agent, a mortgage loan officer or answer other questions you may have about the buying process. Contact us today to get started.

Plus, don't forget to search #BuyerInsights on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter for even more advice on buying a home in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings