Thanksgiving just ended and after seeing all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, we mustn’t forget that real estate is on sale now as well, especially in my market of bread-and-butter homes in the Philadelphia suburbs. If you’re a serious real estate investor, this just might be your favorite time of year.
More Supply in the Marketplace
Obviously, real estate is a supply and demand equation. And regardless of what type of market we’re in, there is still a preferred time of year to buy, as well as a down season. So, unless you’re in a vacation area or something, where your best times to buy may be different, where I’m at the real estate market is always busy in the Spring and Fall, a little slower in Summer, and nice and dead from Thanksgiving to the end of January or February.
It makes perfect sense, since this is when there’s the fewest number of owner occupant types of homebuyers in the marketplace. Who wants to move around the holidays? The children are possibly in school, and there’s the fact that it’s just plain cold and nasty outside.
For the most part, people are planning holiday events or shopping for gifts at this time, instead of buying houses. As a real estate investor, this is a great time to swoop in and grab the deals that didn’t sell.
So, What Do I Look For?
Sure, I do some of the same marketing everyone does in the we buy houses business, but most of what I’m talking about today can be found right on your local MLS. I’m absolutely looking for the handyman specials, the bank owned properties, the possible short sales, etc. But, I’m also looking for the estates (executors and executrix owners), as well as the POAs (Power of Attorneys, and Administrators).
Banks are usually looking to clear their balance sheet by the end of the year, so they usually have incentive to get properties off their books. A power of Attorney or Administrator of an estate, especially in a nursing home situation, will sell for less, since neither the administrator of the estate nor the property owner will see the money (depletion of assets).
Executors or executrix owners, who need to settle an estate, may also sell for less. There is a time limit for selling assets in order to distribute estates after death, although this may vary on a case to case and state to state basis.
A distressed seller will be more willing to give you a great deal. And, being able to close quickly with cash or private money is a great way to satisfy those trying to sell before year’s end. Win-Win!
And, How Do I Buy?
Even if I’m trying to buy with financing, other favorites of mine are expired listings, those that just relisted, or properties with a long DOM (days on the market). And, I’m certain to ask for the sellers assist.
Many realtors avoid this, but as an active buyer, I want a seller assist on just about every property that I buy. It’s a great way to indirectly finance some closing costs (by keeping it in rather than reducing the price) and actually end up with more tax write off (by financing a little more). It can also contribute to a higher ROI (Return on Investment), since there’s less cash out of pocket required to purchase the property, thus giving the higher yield.
Once you get it off the market, you can let the other third-party inspections work to your advantage to get you some repairs done or at least some repair credits.
Buying a property right now is also a great way to keep my contractors busy throughout the winter, and I can often get work done a little cheaper than in the busy construction season. So, I’m effectively saving money in the process.
If tis the season for you to be buying real estate as well, I’m curious as to what you’re looking for. What types of strategies are you employing at this time of year?
I’m not as familiar with other locations, so if you’re from another area, when’s your best time to buy?
Photo Credit: Glenn Waters ぐれんin Japan.