As the year winds down toward the holidays, I want to remind people that there's one last push left for the real estate market. Although fewer people look for property during this season, those who do are generally very motivated. And, while sellers often don't want to have their homes subject to showings near the holidays, the truth is that some homes never look better than when they are decorated for the season. There is a weather factor, of course, and much less daylight, but the aroma of baked goods and a display of festive decorations will often do a lot to make a house seem like you want it to be your new home.
The same principle applies to the financing and closing side of a transaction. Even though people generally miss more working days, and parties and vacations can slow down the wheels of commerce, there is usually a strong motivation to clean off desks at the end of the year, and fewer files that have to be processed. The tax issues involved can often lend a sense of urgency also, since many times there is a big incentive to close in one year or the next, and many jobs that begin at the first of the new year.
So, before you stop reading the Open House section of the paper, and trolling the internet for interesting homes, take a long look at your goals, and think about whether you can accomplish in less time and with less competition (and maybe even for a lower price) what otherwise will be left until spring. Maybe a new home is the best present of all!