Saturday, November 15, 2014
Ask the Realtor: should I sell or buy a California home in the winter?
Most people think that real estate goes dead during the fall and winter, even here in Southern California. That's not entirely the truth, but most home sellers want to celebrate or have a quiet time in peace, and most buyers do not want to even contemplate moving over the holidays. But here's the upside of home sales at this time of year.
In late November/December/early January, there isn't as much on the market. So if you're a home seller, this is an opportunity to capture the interest of serious buyers. (However, if you want to wait and capture the rising spring market, I'm down with that, too.)
And if you're a home buyer, you'll know that if a house is on the market during these months, the sellers are very serious. This is also the time of year that prices don't go up, so you may get a really good deal.
But nobody wants to move at this time of year. Too many hassles, too much else to do, etc. So here's the work-around: sellers can arrange to rent back the home for a few weeks. Many Realtors will caution everybody against this, but if each side believes the other side is trustworthy, it can work out really well. Buyers, your first payment isn't due until the end of the first month that you own the new home, so the rent-back monies can be paid up front and can offset your closing costs.
Here's where the anniversary part comes in. This is exactly what my husband and I did last year when we bought our new place. We had an offer accepted on November 17, closed on December 17, the sellers rented back for a month, and we moved in on January 21. It was a win-win all around.