“Buy a House in Minnesota in December?” “Are You %#&!$ Crazy?!?”

Actually, no.

In fact, I can think of three reasons why that’s actually a very good idea.

Discount Shockers

One. Best deals of the year.

Every year I’ve been selling real estate ” and it’s now 17 ” the best deals of the year invariably are the ones that close in late December.

That’s when Sellers who have to sell need to close by ” and Sellers who need to sell by a hard and fast deadline usually take a (big) hit on price to do so.

Which is why early each January, when I look up late December closed sales, I always see a few “shockers,” where the final sales price was a deep discount from the last asking price.

Two. Cheapest financing.

Lenders are slow at the end of the year. To increase volume, they typically dangle especially enticing interest rates and competitive fees.

Three. Quicker occupancy.

Lots of those motivated Sellers have already moved out (that’s WHY they’re motivated).

For Buyers who have to be out of their lease by year-end, being able to do a deal and get in, in less than a month, can also be attractive ” not to mention mean not needing to move twice, put stuff into storage, etc.

“Gone Fishin'” (or Huntin’)

So, what are the two drawbacks to doing a deal at the end of the year?

One. Selection.

At least in Minnesota, it’s axiomatic that Buyers have the most selection in the busy Spring months (which is also when pricing is strongest).

By late Fall, there are typically fewer homes remaining — or newly debuting — on the market.

That reduced inventory can be further shrunk by would-be Sellers who opt to switch their home’s status to “Temporarily Not Available for Showing” (“TNAS”) over the holidays.

Two. Turnaround Time.

If the Buyer’s home inspection turns up a major issue, it can take longer to resolve.

That’s because contractors can be harder to find in Minnesota in December ” especially for such non-seasonal work as roofs and chimneys.

Which means that if the Buyer and Seller need to get multiple quotes for a repair ” or determine whether a repair is needed at all ” it can take longer than usual.

P.S.: A good Buyer’s agent knows that . . . and drafts the Inspection Addendum timetable accordingly.

See also, “Down to the Wire: Is There Still Time to Buy a House in 2018?“; “Christmas ” and TNAS ” Season“; “TNAS Over the Holidays: ¬†How Prevalent?“; “Does TNAS Tweak Buyers’ Interest?“; and “What’s the Opposite of On the Market, But Not For Sale?”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply