The Christmas market for houses.

I’ve been surprised this year by how busy the Christmas market has been in real estate. Traditionally, we think of the winter as being slow and the spring as being when things pick up. But the Internet seems to have changed all of that. Now people can look at listings year round.

I have two new clients, both buyer and seller,  in  a month when I wasn’t expecting anything. I have a new listing that came together this month (although we’ll hold off on putting the house on the market until February) and I am looking myself at a condo that’s been on the market for a while.

Why should a buyer make an offer now? Well, for one thing, because we all expect it to be slow until March or April, prices are down. That means that as a buyer you have a great opportunity to get a good deal. The downside, though, is that it can be hard to get financing arranged over the holidays; same with home inspections. That ten days that a condo corporation has to provide a status certificate is likely to be closer to two or three weeks, given holidays and weekends. So make sure you have your ducks in a row before you make an offer.

And as a seller, there may be little or no competition in your area while everyone else holds off until spring. If yours is the only nice home in a certain area, prospective buyers looking in that area will have to check out your place. Which is what we want, right?

I used to tell sellers to wait until March or April but I’ve been edging that timeline up to February. Now I’m thinking January could be the time to start thinking about buying and getting ready to sell a little ahead of the curve. What do you think?

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