There’s no place like home for the holidays!
How would you like to buy a home for Christmas? Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? It’s actually completely doable, and easier than you think. While not the most popular time to purchase a new home, the winter holiday season is a great time of year to buy. There are lots of advantages to buying at this time of year that are specific to the winter months. Here, we have some tips for buying during the Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday season.
Tip 1. Don’t incur new debts!
When you apply for a mortgage to buy a home, your credit and any existing debt you have will be examined and considered by a loan underwriter. While you don’t have to have zero debt to get a mortgage, you should be paying your debt down consistently in order to be in the best financial standing possible for the sake of your loan. Buying a home during a season popular for gift-giving can put an additional strain on your finances, but that strain can be offset with good planning and stringent budgeting. It may be tempting to pay for seasonal purchases with a credit card, but ultimately it is not advisable as this will show up as debt. While you are in the process of buying a home, avoid making other large purchases (like buying a car or new furniture), use cash or debit cards as often as possible, and avoid touching your savings account; that’s good advice when buying a home, no matter the season!
Tip 2. Do stick to your budget!
Knowing how much you can afford to spend on your home is important any time of year, not just during the holidays. We recommend that you figure out how much you can spend on a new home in advance before you even begin visiting potential properties. At Southern Trust Mortgage, we offer a program called Priority Approval. Unlike pre-qualification or pre-approval letters, Priority Approval is a true credit approval. Having a true credit approval benefits you in three ways: it lets you know exactly how much home you can afford to purchase, it allows your agent to search only for possible properties that fall within your budget, and it makes any offer you put down on a house appealing to sellers and their agents, since a Priority Approval letter is us confirming you meet loan criteria and we are willing to lend to you.
Tip 3: Do take advantage of less competition in home availability, motivated sellers, and faster closings during the holidays!
Because winter is usually a slower season for mortgage companies and for real estate agents, it’s a great time to be a buyer. Most home purchases occur during the spring and summer months, but homes go on the market year-round; by shopping during the winter, you’re more likely to find a home that you like quickly, and less likely to face stiff competition when you submit your offer. Additionally, sellers and their agents are often more motivated before the holidays as they want to close the sale before the end of the year, which means they may accept lower-priced offers. Also, since fewer people move before the holidays, there’s usually not a rush for moving trucks; just a nice little bonus to moving this time of year!
Tip 4: Do remember to enjoy your holiday!
Although both the holidays and the home-buying process occasionally come with their share of stresses, don’t let that dampen your holiday spirit. Take every chance possible to slow down and celebrate this very special time of year; before you know it, you’ll be in your new home!