By Drew Knight
According to a recent survey by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA), homebuyers face a list of unique challenges when shopping for homes during the holiday season.
From reported mishaps like an ancient one-armed Santa figure in the front yard, photos of the current homeowners wearing nothing but their birthday suits and a few Christmas accessories and even passed-out partygoers on the wake of New Year’s Eve, these struggles could definitely turn a buyer away from a prospective home.
The common thread? These mishaps could only really happen when shopping for a used home, as new-construction homes have never been lived in before — and all party people would be locked out.
Below you’ll find a short list of the more common struggles survey respondents reported while shopping for a home during the holidays — and how new-construction homes provide a solution.
Scheduling a Time to Visit a Listing
Many of the participants reported that the biggest challenge of shopping during the holidays was scheduling a time to actually visit the home.
Whether it be working with the homeowner to find a time when they aren’t hosting guests or the house isn’t a mess from the holiday rush, shopping for used homes can certainly pose a problem. On the other hand, new-home builders are already waiting to show you their model properties.
“Our sales managers know that December is a busy month and they are always available if they are not in the model homes,” says Blake Fletcher, a marketing manager with Dallas-based Southgate Homes. “We have sales assistants that cover their days off and vacation days and are trained to be able to help guide shoppers through the process.”
Working with a Realtor? Some homebuilders even provide their trusted agents with a lockbox and key so that they can access their homes with their clients even when no builder rep is on site.
Other respondents mentioned low inventory as a major struggle for home shopping during the holiday season. Which is understandable, as many homeowners decide to take their homes off the market during this time.
Yet with new homes, a homebuilder always wants to make a sale, so there’s no reason to take a new home off the market.
“Southgate is a big proponent on having inventory at different stages throughout the year,” adds Fletcher. “We typically have six to 10 inventory homes in every community at different stages 12 months out of the year. People get relocated and move at different times, so we definitely understand the need for inventory homes.”
Meeting Deadlines Before Vacation
Another major struggle of shopping for a home during the holidays is meeting deadlines before employees begin vacation, as most financial institutions are closed during the holidays and many industry personnel like loan officers, inspectors and financial advisors take vacation.
When buying a used home through its homeowner, you’re generally on your own. But when working with a homebuilder, they usually have well-seasoned staff to help keep you on track of all of your financial and signing matters.
“Our sales managers are really good at guiding our homebuyers throughout the process,” says Fletcher. “They help our buyers understand that they need to submit their paperwork early before the holidays, how to get preapproved and how to finalize a loan 60 days before closing.”
Other Benefits of Shopping New During the Holidays
Not only does shopping for a new home around the holidays eliminate the struggles caused by used homes, they also pose their own added benefits:
- Home shoppers who buy during the holiday season are usually ready to move in by end of summer — conveniently right before the beginning of a new school year.
- Many builders post great end-of-year incentives for their inventory homes.
- Less inventory for used homes means that if the home shopper is selling old to buy new, they have a high chance of getting their home off the market due to lack of competition.
Not to mention, there will be no tacky holiday décor, no awkward family photos and, of course, no passed out partygoers on the front lawn. It’s 100 percent clean, 100 percent yours.
Still not sold on new homes? Check out our Top 10 Reasons Home Buyers Prefer New Homes vs. Used.
Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.