Buying or selling a home at the perfect time, when the market is in your favor is tougher than it sounds. People usually take these actions because of a life event or financial issues. The economy and real estate forecasts tend to be secondary considerations. Yet both buyers and sellers often pose the question, “When is the best time to buy or sell?” If you have the luxury of choosing when you enter the real estate market, here are some points to consider when timing a home purchase or sale.
Every market is different
Many agents and news outlets talk about the national market. You can hear stories all across the nation of hot markets with multiple offers and quickly rising prices. That doesn’t mean that it’s happening in your neighborhood, or even that it will happen for you. In fact, real estate activity can vary widely within the same county. One town can see record-breaking activity, while another 10 miles away has a glut of inventory. Speak with a local real estate expert about where home values are in your neighborhood and keep an eye on what comparable houses are listing and selling for. Just because a house is listed for one price, doesn’t mean it will sell for that much.
Interest rates fluctuate
Most people need a mortgage to purchase a home, and long-term interest rates are a major factor. Today’s current rates are typically between 3-4%, but remember that in the 1980s rates were 12 percent or higher. Buyers want to jump on the lower interest rates and when news hits that they are raising, potential buyers come out of the woodwork. This makes the inventory low and typically leads to multiple offers, making it a great time to sell. However, it also means that it’s a competitive buying market so if you need to purchase a new home after selling yours, you’ll want to jump on it right away.
Traditionally, spring has been the big real estate selling season. Flowers bloom, the grass is green, pools are open and homes show in their best possible light. Parents with school-aged children also wanted to purchase in the spring or summer so the kids could start a new school in the fall. While the spring is still a strong selling season, today’s buyers are looking online and searching on their phones every day, no matter the season, and transactions happen from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve. If you have a home to sell and aren’t in a rush, consider doing so at a traditionally “off” time. There will be fewer homes for sale, which means less competition. Don’t try to time the market based on antiquated assumptions about seasons. It’s more important that you show your home in its best possible condition and choose the right list price. If it’s priced right and shows well, it will sell anytime.
Money isn’t everything
If a real estate purchase were purely financial,then it would be much easier to predict. However, there are practical and emotional considerations. It doesn’t make sense to buy a home if you have a job that isn’t steady or a marriage on the rocks. If the buyer’s aren’t there, then it could be the wrong time to sell. Similarly, emotions come into play when buyers chose a home and when sellers try to part with a house that has been their family home for many happy years. There are even cases where sellers only want to sell to specific buyers based on emotional attachments to the home, such an elderly man who wants someone who’s not going to do a lot of renovations to the home he built 50 years ago. These factors make the market and individual situations almost impossible to predict.
You can’t see into the future, but you can make an informed decision. If you’re still not sure when the right time for you and your family to sell, call Helen for a free home valuation and consultation at 847.967.0022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.