A recent, informal survey by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) asked its members—real estate brokerages that only represent home buyers—to report in on the challenges of shopping for a home during the holiday season.
The responses are in most cases either entertaining—“Aftermath of a New Year’s Eve party including passed out guests complete with open and spilled adult beverages”—or daunting—“Sellers reluctant to show because house is a wreck or too much company in house” and “difficulties in meeting deadlines when financial institutions or other offices are closed or industry personnel (loan officer, inspector, etc.) take time off.”
Difficulties aside, however, the NAEBA agents noted a silver lining to home shopping while everyone else is gift shopping: “Since we know anyone whose home is on the market during the holidays is highly motivated, we can be more aggressive in offering price and terms of the contract.”
Translated, that means that no seller in their right mind would put a home on the market during this cold, dreary, and distracted time of year—and therefore anyone who does so probably has a pressing reason.
Divorce, job change, or other change in life circumstances might be among the reasons. The seller basically needs to move, and move now.
That puts the prospective home buyer in a strong negotiating position. For help, see Nolo’s articles on Buying a House or Property. Just step carefully on those frozen front steps, and don’t close the purchase until you have a chance to persuade a home inspector to put down the eggnog and come check the roof for leaks.