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Time to buy? Buying a house is a huge undertaking for anyone and giving yourself as much chance as possible to get the best deal is important. If you are competing on a property sale with a number of other potential buyers, not only can it push up the price you end up paying but it also reduces your chances of landing the sale in the first place.

There are two times of year when the number of buyers on the housing market naturally reduces. That’s in the summer holiday around July and August, when more people are thinking about lazing about in the sun and getting some quality me time, and Christmas and the New Year when factors such as the festive season and the cold weather have an impact.

There is also some evidence to show that a number of home sellers are more open to reduce the price of their property in the run up to Christmas in the hope of a quick sale. It’s not true of everyone but if you do your research you may be able to catch a bargain before anyone else does. There are a number of things you need to do to make sure you get in quick and seal the deal before everyone else returns from the New Year celebrations.

First it’s a good idea to have your own house sale in order if you are looking to move from one property to another. Of course, if it’s the same for other sellers, you may have to be more competitive with your own pricing, so it’s a balancing act to get things right.

Secondly, you need to have your finance sorted so that you can move as quickly as possible. If you have your mortgage agreed in principal, the buyer will more than likely be willing to go forward with the sale because they know you are serious, even if you are asking for a little off the buying price.

Thirdly, search the market for those bargains that are likely to give you a good return. A number of the main property sites now have a special offers section where sellers are looking for a quick sale and, if you pick the right time of year, then you could end up with a pretty good bargain. You will, of course, need to be flexible on the type of property and its location if you want to have as wide a choice as possible.

Fourthly, you need to brush up on your negotiating skills. A lot depends on how quickly the seller wants to get rid of their home. Whilst you will have more chance over the festive period if there are fewer buyers looking, you still need to be able to work hard to reduce the price as much as possible.

Of course, it’s an ambitious undertaking to try and move house in such a short period of time and it won’t be suitable for many buyers. If you have the right negotiating skills though and the basics in place then you stand more chance than most. And you could just end up with a bargain come the New Year.