Spring is still the busiest selling season in Australia, with more new houses coming up for sale than at any other time of the year. But as the summer holidays roll on, plenty of those houses are still available – and with the kids off school and some annual leave booked, what better time to take a look?
House hunting during the holidays might make sense for busy families, but it doesn’t come without risks. To make sure that you’re settled in your new place before the commencement of the school year, we’ve put together our best tips for the holiday house hunt.
1. Negotiate a better price
There are far fewer buyers looking for properties at this time of year. That means that sellers who are listing their properties at this time of year are often very motivated to sell. Perhaps they’re hoping to move before the start of the school year, or their house has been on the market for a while.
During the festive season, the number of people actively looking for property decreases, creating a sense of urgency. Accordingly, you may be able to negotiate an excellent price. Especially if you’re able to make an unconditional offer and guarantee a settlement before February, your new home might be yours for well under budget.
2. Schedule inspections as soon as possible
With so many people away, it might be harder than usual to organise an inspection. If you know which properties you want to inspect, it’s worth ringing the estate agents as early as you can to schedule a look. The more notice they have, the easier it is to work around holiday commitments and public holidays, both for you and for the seller.
When you do inspect, keep some sympathy for the vendor, who is doubtless trying to juggle the festive season, school holidays and excursions around styling their home for sale. If the place is a little more cluttered than usual, remember, ’tis the season!
3. Get your pre approval in order
Similarly, most lenders will be working with a smaller staff than usual over the festive break, meaning that paperwork can be slowed down. That shouldn’t slow you down, though: get everything organised on your end as soon as you can and get that pre approval before you start bookmarking listings. As a bonus, the more definite your finances are the more confident yo’ll be in extending an offer and the more leverage you’ll have in getting a great price.
4. Don’t be fooled by peak season
If you’re looking to buy a home in a holiday town, or an area you’re unfamiliar with, keep in mind that this is peak season. The beachside ambience, with its sunshine and festivals, might be tempting now, but ask around and see what the place is like in winter. Do the locals shut up shop? Are there still things to do, or do all the events take place in the Christmas holidays? You don’t want to be lured by the vibrancy of an area only to discover that tumbleweeds commonly blow down the main road from April to September.
In some parts of the country, it’s also worth checking access: roads in rural Tasmania, for example, can be difficult to navigate in winter. Make sure you know what the weather and conditions are like year-round if you plan to live there, so that you avoid any nasty surprises. And if the aim is to hold it as an investment property, don’t forget to research occupancy rates all year round, not just during Christmas/New Year holidays.
House hunting during the holidays can be very rewarding, so don’t put it off: make it part of your festive season!