Holidays are the time to gobble up homes

real estate signsThanksgiving typically launches the beginning of turkey season -- in real estate. Who wants to buy and sell during the holidays -- or so conventional wisdom goes.

Well, bring on the stuffing, decorations and escrow, because this is the season for buying and selling, experts say. Why? Let me count the ways (with help from Whittier, Calif.-based agent Jim Joseph):
  1. Home buyers are serious at this time of year. If they're not cooking, gift shopping, traveling or party planning, they actually may want to buy your home.
  2. Buyers transferring from one city to another often grab holiday vacation days to check out potential new digs. So if that CEO from Boston knocks on your San Francisco door, she's not kidding. The family needs to move. Fast.
  3. Lenders are less slammed than usual during the holidays, so loans can be processed more swiftly.
  4. Homes never look better than the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. And they smell like gingerbread, too!
  5. Some sellers take their homes off the market at holiday time, so if your home is on the market, you have less competition.
  6. Some investors want to close real estate deals by year's end for tax purposes, so are highly motivated to lock up a deal by Dec. 31.
Remember, too, that interest rates are low. The average interest on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with less than one point was 4.83% late last week, according to Freddie Mac. At the same time last year, interest on that type of loan was 6.04%. That's a big reason why buyers are heading to open houses in the off-season, says Beverly Hills-based agent Connie De Groot. "People aren't hemming and hawing like they did last season. They like the rates and now they're used to this market."
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