Well, readers, the Holidays are upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year, but here we are now–ready to wrap up 2010 and march on into 2011. Before 2011 hits us, take a break from all that shopping and holiday party planning to read Intero President & CEO Gino Blefari’s thoughts on the real estate market this season. (Hint: If you’re looking to buy, now could be the perfect time to do!)

It may be the best time of year for traditional retailers who find their bottom lines moving from red to black, but in the housing industry, sales tend to slow down when the yuletide rolls in. Nobody likes to move during the holidays, but if you’re in the market to buy and don’t mind the timing, you may actually have the best timing of all.

While a recent Fannie Mae survey shows more consumers are more negative now about buying a home, there are still plenty of folks looking for a house to own. And the great news is that deals abound!

Here are three things that home buyers have going for them this holiday season:

  • Inventory galore: The inventory of homes for sale of course depends on your market, but markets across the nation generally are experiencing high inventory levels. This is not exactly a great thing for the overall health and sustainability of the market and economy, but it is a good thing for those buyers who are ready to make a move.
  • Historically low interest rates: I can’t really stress this enough – the low rates we’re seeing on long-term mortgages are incredible! Forget about missing out on the home buyer tax credit earlier this year – these low rates will save you even more cash in the long run than any government incentive so far.
  • Relaxed competition: With high inventory comes less competition. Again, this isn’t great for home sellers or for sustaining values, but as a buyer you’ll find that you have more negotiating power. Use it wisely.

Here’s what this season’s buyers will need to watch out for:

  • Stellar credit gets the best deal: Sure, rates are incredibly low but you’ll need a solid credit score to get the best terms. You’ll also need a ton of documentation so it’s best to prepare that stuff ahead of time.
  • Cash needed: This is true now and pretty much always – more cash will enable you to get a better loan and make for an all-around better closing experience.
  • Local market conditions: Is your market still on the decline? That’s no reason to wait to buy, but it’s something you should take into account when making your offer.

Bargains abound at all the top stores across the nation. And this year, the “real estate” store is not much different. Buyers indeed have the upper hand in many neighborhoods. Don’t let the holidays derail your home hunt entirely – you may just miss the sale of the century!

Bottom line, folks: If you’re looking to buy and ready to do so now, get in touch with me (650-947-4761) and we’ll hit the ground running to make your real estate dreams come true this Holiday season!