Posted in: Buying a home, Getting a mortgage, First time homebuyer tips

Four tips for holiday homebuyers

buying a home holidays

Key Insights

  • Holiday homebuyers tend to be motivated, so you’ll want to be prepared to move quickly.
  • Be informed about the current market when drafting an offer.
  • Try to keep a flexible schedule for touring homes.
  • Keep your holiday spending in check.

Moving forward with a home purchase over the holidays can be ideal for the right buyer. In addition to competing against fewer buyers during this season, 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 tips to follow as you buy a home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin this holiday season.

1. Move quickly

Even though the holidays tend to be a less popular time to buy a home, you shouldn’t assume this means you’ll be without competition. Holiday homebuyers are often more determined to get to the closing table quickly, so you’ll likely need to act fast if you want to secure an offer on your dream property.

Additionally, getting an offer in quickly may help you avoid – or at least better position yourself for – a multiple offer situation. Due to limited inventory in many areas, bidding wars are possible even in the coldest months.

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 34 days in the month of October.

2. Make a strong offer

You might be under the common misconception that holiday sellers are more eager to move and willing to accept an offer well under asking price. However, sellers still hold an advantage this holiday season, so you’ll want to prepare to make an offer that stands out.

When making an offer on a new house this winter, be sure to:

  • Work with a REALTOR to strategize your budget, desired location and must-have home features.
  • Determine a fair and competitive offer price by assessing comparable sales, or “comps.”
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan in advance to let home sellers know you’re serious about buying.
  • Increase your buying power with a strong down payment, if you are able.

In the last six months, sellers received between 99.3-101.3% of their original asking price. While we can’t be sure this trend will continue over the winter, it is always important to work with your REALTOR to place a strong initial bid that will help ensure your offer isn’t overlooked.

3. Keep an open schedule

It can be difficult to slow down during the holidays, but in our fast-moving market, you’ll need to work around seller schedules. Here’s how to keep your schedule open so you don’t miss out on the right property:

  • Be okay with shifting or saying “no” to other plans in order to keep your schedule flexible for showings.
  • Establish a relationship with a trusted pet sitter or babysitter to watch your little ones as tours and open houses pop up on your calendar.
  • If you’re planning to attend home tours with others, set up a shared calendar to help keep track of everyone’s availability.

4. Don’t overspend on the holidays

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 this winter.
  • Steer clear of racking up unnecessary debt on existing credit cards to maintain a low debt-to-income ratio.
  • Hold off on big-ticket gifts, and remember that saving extra money for your down payment can help make an attractive offer.
  • In general, be conscious of extra spending. Opt to have a cozy meal in rather than dine out, or throw on an extra sweater before bumping up your heat.

Ready to move forward this holiday season?

A winter move can be a smart choice for motivated homebuyers, especially those who use these tips in their favor. Fast action, strong offers, an open schedule and an efficient budget can help set winter homebuyers up for success.

If you’re hoping to find your dream home before the notoriously busy spring market arrives, start now! Reach out to Edina Realty or your agent to move forward today.

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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