Come Black Friday, it's usually flat-screen TVs and high-tech appliances that consumers covet. But an article from Tara-Nicholle Nelson, a finance writer at our sister site, WalletPop, reminds us that the holiday season is also the perfect time to start house-hunting. With the winter selling lull just around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider buying a home. Even home remodeling can be cheaper this time of year. Read on for six stellar reasons why real estate might be the best investment for you and your family this holiday season.
I am a very reluctant shopper on my spendiest days, so Black Friday usually sends me running in the opposite direction of the big stores and their big sales. But, like everyone else, I love a great deal. So much so that last year's advertised Black Friday laptop deals had yours truly at the biggest big-box store at 6 a.m. with the rest of town. (To my credit, I turned right back around and marched right out the door -- sans the three laptops I was planning to buy -- after a woman passed out at my feet in excitement and the human chain of security guards posted around the iPhone display had to break formation to come to her aid. No joke.)
Point is, steep holiday discounts can be good enough to activate the hesitant. (Not good enough to pass out over, though -- ever.) And when it comes to real estate, everything seems to be on sale this holiday season.
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Getting a good discount on your largest purchase is the financial equivalent of fire-sale pricing on a million everyday purchases. If you're the type who salivates over a 30-percent department store sale or the $4 in bonus bucks that you get at the drugstore, these six ways that real estate is on sale this Black Friday might literally put you over the moon!
1) Homes. Word on the street is that home prices have now rolled back to 2003 levels! That's right -- if you're one of those folks who always thought you were born too late to get a great price on your home, 40 (or however old you are) is the new 32 (or however old you are minus about seven years). Of course, remember, real estate is hyperlocal. That means it varies from market to market. It's a strong buyer's market everywhere, relative to five years ago, but what that means for your situation will vary from market to market. In San Francisco, that means prices only rose about 11 percent last year, not 30 percent, and buyers may only have to compete with five other offers, rather than 25. In cities that have been foreclosure hot spots, on the other hand, prices may have dropped by as much as 50 percent or even 60 percent since their peak, circa 2006. Everywhere, though, homes are on sale relative to what they were a few years ago.
Since most of your fellow Americans will spend their Black Friday shopping for iPhones and Pillow Pets, they won't be shopping for homes. The low numbers of active, qualified buyers hunting for homes during the holiday season may make some sellers even more motivated to negotiate a good deal with you. The latest Trulia.com price reduction report showed that a record-high 27 percent of homes listed for sale as of Nov. 1 had had at least one price cut -- in some cities, 33 percent, 39 percent -- even 46 percent of the homes for sale had already been discounted by their sellers. Sellers who are serious about getting their homes sold are putting them on sale this holiday season.
Note to buyers -- some homes' list prices already reflect a great discount: This is often the case with foreclosed homes, which banks rarely agree to sell for deep discounts off the list price. There are also amazing deals to be had on non-foreclosed homes sold by individual sellers, though, as those homes are often in superior condition to foreclosures and the sellers are more flexible than bank sellers. To know whether you're getting a good deal, check your negotiated sale price against the fair market value of the home (i.e., the recent sales prices of similar, nearby homes -- ask your broker or agent to help you figure this out). It is not always the case that you must have a huge discount off the list price for a home to represent a good deal.
2) Property Taxes. Many a buyer isn't aware, but in most places and most cases, property taxes are determined by the price you pay for your home. So, if you get your home for a "sale" price, you'll automatically be getting a sale on your property taxes as well.
To view the full story, visit WalletPop.
For more on buying a home also see these AOL Real Estate guides:
- Home Value: What the Web Can and Can't Tell You
Mortgage Jargon in Simple Terms
- How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
- How Much Home Can I Afford?
- How to Buy Foreclosures
More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Get property tax help from our experts.