Holidays can be a good time to buy

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— This is the best time to buy real estate, because no one else is, Steamboat Springs real estate agents say.

Statistically, annual third-quarter sales have been tried and true as the time when most real estate transactions take place. After that, sales tend to drop, in part because of winter holidays, and in part because many people like to wait until the snow has melted, said Doug Labor, president-elect of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and broker with Buyer's Resource Real Estate.

"Christmas time is slow as far as closings," Labor said. "People are buying presents, and it's hard to buy a house, too. It's also hard to get in and show the properties."

Because sellers don't have multiple prospective buyers, they will consider every offer, Labor said.

"The seller has to take a hard look at selling now," Labor said. "They may not get another offer for months."

Additionally, for those seeking to buy rental properties as investments, now is the best time to buy. Most rentals in Steamboat remain booked from Dec. 26 to Jan. 4, and rentals remain strong through March, according to the lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

For example, the gross rental income for one condominium at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort last December was $3,934. In January, rental income jumps to $9,873, then $6,380 in February and $7,791 in March. The numbers show that 60 percent to 70 percent of rental income comes during the ski season.

The earlier a buyer closes on a rental property, the greater rental income return they will see.

The people who are buying during the holiday season are usually these investment buyers, Labor said. It is a good time for real estate brokers to make an initial contact, Labor said.

"If you buy when other people are not buying, you create your own micro-economy," Labor said. "I council my clients on this. This is the best time to buy ... even with buying land. Typically, land buyers wait until summer, but they can usually find more for their money when buying during the winter. People are not as likely to turn offers down."

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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