Year end is always a very slow time for real estate. People are simply too busy to think about real estate, with family and social gatherings.
Would you be briefly inconvenienced to save hundreds of thousands of dollars?
The home that sells for $1.8 million in January may just sell for $1.6 million today. There are very real factors that can make a seller agree to terms they would never otherwise agree.
Why would this apparent inefficiency in the market exist?
1. Tax Consequences. For some people, the tax consequences of selling in 2016 are quite different than 2015. In these cases, consider Uncle Sam the loser, and both the buyer and seller winners.
2. Divorce. It's a sad situation, and the people who are in it want one thing more than anything else: to be done with it. Knowing that they can close the books on what is likely a major point of contention has tremendous value.
3. Psychology of a Clean Slate in the New Year.What's the most common thing associated with every New Year? Resolutions. People resolve to do something differently in the New Year, something better, than they've done before. Letting go of the home they've been living in can be a great release for people who've been trying to sell a long time. This simple psychology is more powerful, and more prevalent, than people may realize.
4. Investment Opportunities. A seller may very well want to take advantage of a buying opportunity, and therefore be more motivated to sell.
Sometimes, one can even reap these rewards without closing the deal by year's end. In other words, just negotiating the deal is sometimes enough to get the benefits.
I negotiated my own home purchase during the holiday lull in 2014, but didn't close until 2015 due to inspection items the seller was fixing. When I would return to check on progress from the various contractors, there were prospective buyers showing up constantly, disappointed to learn that they had missed their opportunity.
In conclusion, it may be an inconvenience to be out looking at real estate this busy time of year. However, you may be very well compensated for the effort.