Staying home while everyone else is on vacation can make you feel like a child on restriction, being stuck inside while all the other kids get to play. But instead of moping, make the most of your time at home by scoring a new home.
During a competitive market, buying the house you want can be tough. If there’s a home that catches your eye, chances are, many other buyers like it too. So you need to take advantage whenever you’ve got a leg up on the competition. One tactic is to look when others aren’t, like during the 4th of July holiday. Here are four tips to score a home while everyone else is away.
1. Attend open houses
Sunday may as well be called “open house day” in the real estate world. So when July 4th fell on a Sunday one year, home sellers asked a group of agents through Zillow and Trulia whether the 4th of July would be a good day to hold an open house. The agents overwhelmingly recommended against it. Why? Because no one would come, they said. Everyone would be on vacation or celebrating the holiday instead. But not all sellers heed that advice, especially those in a hot market. Look and you’ll probably find some open houses during the 4th of July timeframe.
No open houses scheduled? No worries. Take this opportunity to ask for a private viewing. Any sellers who show their home on a holiday are likely to be very motivated sellers. This might just be your opportunity to score a home.
The takeaway: Because there are fewer home buying competitors during the July 4th holiday, you can see the house first—and get your offer in first.
2. Capture the stale listing
By the time mid-summer rolls around, the peak spring listing season of May and June is over—and new listings start to decline before they pick up again in September. With fewer homes to choose from coming on to the market, it could be a good time to pore over some older listings.
“Comparing the average time on market to specific properties presents the opportunity to capture a stale listing,” says Michael Kelczewski, a Pennsylvania and Delaware agent. Most sellers who have a house that’s been sitting on the market for a month or two will likely be eager to entertain your offer. And don’t automatically assume something’s wrong with the house until you see it for yourself. The home might simply be in a catch-22 situation, repeatedly being passed up because it has been sitting so long. It could be a great home, maybe needing only a slight cosmetic change.
The takeaway: By July, peak selling season has passed. A house that’s been on the market for a while might turn out to be a great home for you.
3. Understand your own worth
Sellers, especially ones who are anxious to sell quickly or are weary from the sales process, appreciate serious buyers. Many sellers may have spent precious weeks showing their house, only to have people look who aren’t really interested in buying.
During a holiday—especially when the heat index is high—looky-loos typically find better things to do than check out homes, like celebrating the time off or hanging by the pool. But when people are willing to forego fun times or brave the July heat to house hunt, they’re usually serious.
The takeaway: Sellers take note of serious buyers and may be more willing to work quickly if they know you’re motivated and eager to buy. Agents and loan officers, too.
4. Try to get a deal
Because there are fewer buyers during the 4th of July holiday, this may be your chance to not only score a home but to get a great deal. Even in a seller’s market, not every home sells quickly or creates a bidding war.
“With lower demand due to family and personal commitments around the 4th of July holiday, deals may be had,” says Kelczewski. If the home has been sitting for a while, you are in a good position to negotiate if you want to, say, offer less than asking price, have a quick closing, or keep all the appliances.
The takeaway: By looking when the buyer pool is smaller, you might snag a good deal. And don’t forget, a lower price isn’t the only deal to be had. This is the time to ask for any other seller concessions you might be interested in as well, like keeping that sweet fire pit out back.
Have you bought a home during the 4th of July (or another holiday)? Share your experience in the comments!