This week, staff are writing about holiday decor and the best places to hang Christmas stockings. Since graduating college, my best place for holiday stockings has been on my feet as I drove to an airport. Flush with money from my first big-boy job, I booked my first international trip to Europe for the precise purpose of escaping the holidays. I’ve never looked back.

I have never setup a Christmas tree, strung garland, or been awoken to a sugarplum dancing in my head. I’m sure it doesn’t take Freud to figure out my aversion.

My childhood holidays were a B O R E. My parents, brother, and I shredding through presents and then were kinda bored by noon followed by an early dinner and TV. Thank god when movies started being shown on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

So I am here to tell you it is not too late. Hang your stocking from the overhead bin and RUN AWAY!


Christmas Home Sales

Sure, spring and summer are hot seasons for Realtors, but is it better to wait for the market to simmer down a bit before buying? According to lists from Zillow and Ebby Halliday Realtors, the winter holiday season is a great time to buy your dream home.

According to the folks at Ebby Halliday Realtors, here are the top reasons to sell your home this winter:

1) The median home sales price in North Texas is up almost 13% over this time last year.

2) Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows.

3) Consumers who shop for a home during the holidays are serious, motivated buyers.

4) There are fewer homes on the market during the holiday season. With less competition, your home is likely to sell faster.

5) Typically, the supply of homes for sale increases significantly in January, meaning there may be less demand for your home after the holidays. Less demand means you’ll have to make your home more attractive to buyers, possibly through a price reduction.

6) Homes “show” better when decorated for the holidays.

7) Due to vacation schedules during the holidays, buyers have more time to look for a new home, specifically on weekdays.

8) Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons, and they must close before December 31 to claim a homestead exemption for their taxes.

9) January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since many transferees are not able to wait until spring to buy, your home should be on the market now to not miss out on this significant group of buyers.

10) Even if your home is listed, you’ll have the option to restrict showings on days you have holiday parties and out-of-town guests.

11) If your home sells during the holidays, your agent can arrange for a delayed closing or for extended occupancy so your holiday season won’t be spent packing.

12) By selling now, you’ll have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses will be for sale, which most likely will mean lower prices. This could allow you to sell high and buy low!

And here’s what Zillow’s blog had to say about why the winter holidays make an excellent time to buy:

Less competition

Let’s start with the obvious one: less competition. This lowers the chances of multiple offers and bidding wars (something we saw a lot of last spring/summer), and should translate into a bigger discount for you. Know your market! This is where sites like Zillow come in handy. Start your research here for comps in your area and to see what homes are selling for.

Serious home sellers

Why would sellers pick such an inconvenient time — while everyone is busy entertaining family and friends and enjoying the spirit of the holidays — to list their properties? Probably because they need to sell and may feel compelled to do so before the end of the year for tax purposes. What this means for you: less hassle when it comes to negotiating; a greater willingness, on the part of the seller, to agree to concessions; less chance of the seller waffling; and greater respect for your offer, even if it’s a little lower than the seller was perhaps expecting.

Faster mortgage approval

Lenders aren’t as busy this time of year, and less volume could mean faster approval. Some lenders might even be willing to reduce fees during the off-peak season in hopes of gaining your business. Regardless, don’t just go with the first lender who comes along. It pays to shop around. Get multiple quotes and check out lender reviews on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

Greater affordability

Sure, home prices have been rising, but they’re typically lower in December than during any other month (so you don’t have to be as aggressive with your initial first offer, compared with buying during peak to high season). Zillow’s third quarter Real Estate Market Reports showed home value appreciation slowing. As we enter the slower home shopping season many overheated markets are moving away from bubble brink and ultimately becoming more affordable than they have been historically. If you want to take advantage of low interest rates, the time to act is now.

Some markets will have higher demand than others year round, but these seem like good reasons to both buy and sell outside peak market seasons. What do you think? Is the winter a better time to sell or buy?