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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over?  This can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and sellers who want to sell their place and move on.  If you think you missed the boat on making your move this year, here’s why buying and selling in the fall can work for you.

LESS COMPETITION.  There may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers competing for the same home you want.  That gives buyers an important edge.  Forbes says “…competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale…” (And inventories in WNC are shrinking).  The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your real estate agent can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the peepers.

TAX BREAKS.  If you’re a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, and you may get a nice write-off on your taxes…property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December.  Payments made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible.  This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.  There are also potential tax breaks for home sellers…you can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of your house….increasing your adjusted cost basis decreases your capital gain because this is what’s subtracted from the sales price to determine how much of a gain – or loss – you’ve realized.  If you  have less of a gain, you’re  more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if you’re gain isn’t excluded, you’ll pay taxes on less.  And that’s just the beginning.  Closing costs and home improvements may also be write-offs for sellers.  Check out the full list here (http://www.thebalance.com/deducting-house-sale-expenses-3974006).

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits.  Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.

THE RIGHT PRICE.  …If you’ve made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you’re probably in better shape to get your (realistic) asking price in the fall.  If you’re a seller and you establish a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling while others sit on the market under a blanket of snow.  Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and over-asking-price sales.

GREAT DEALS ON STUFF TO FIX UP YOUR HOME?  (Our comment:  Probably not this year.  Why?  Because repair work on houses wrecked in the Texas and Florida hurricanes and the disaster in Puerto Rico are eating up building supplies at a rapid pace.  It may be more difficult throughout this fall and early winter to access renovation and building supplies as inventories of these supplies (like drywall) are drawn down.  Keep this in mind if planning to do or have work done on your home prior to listing it for sale.  Buy supplies early and often!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com    IMAGE:  realty4hire.com

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