Couple meeting with real estate agent during home sale

Planning Your Home Sale, Part 2: Timing

In our last article, we talked about the priorities that might be driving a home sale and helping you to develop a smart moving plan. You know what you need. You know what you want. You know how you are going to sell your current home and where you intend to move next.

When is the Right Time to Sell?

The next aspect of your home selling plan is all about timing. They say timing is everything when it comes to any major financial decision like buying or selling a home. It’s a lot like the stock market. You want to time all your moves just right to buy low and sell high. The reality is it’s never that simple, especially in real estate.

In most cases, someone selling a house is also planning on buying another one right away. Whether you are moving up into a bigger home for your family, relocating to a new area or downsizing to a smaller home for your retirement years, you are likely taking the equity earned from one sale and applying it to a new purchase.

This means the “buy low, sell high” concept never really works for real estate because you are making your move in a concurrent market. In other words, you might sell for a high price during a hot seller’s market like we have now, but you are also buying your new home for a relatively high price in the same market conditions. Other factors come into play, such as buying power based on prevailing mortgage rates. You might be buying at a higher price, but the borrowed money is “cheaper” because of low interest rates on your mortgage loan.

Perfect Timing Doesn’t Exist

The truth is there is rarely ever a perfect time to buy and sell real estate. The right time to do it is when you need to make a move and you are in a good enough financial position to do so. We always like to say that you never know when the peak of the market will be until it’s in the rearview mirror. So many homeowners wait for that perfect time to sell at peak value, only to find themselves waiting too long.

One part of your plan may be to sell your house while the prices and demand are high, and then rent a new place for a little while while you wait and search for a new house that better suits your housing needs and is in a price range you can afford. We have a number of clients who have chosen to do this, but the decision isn’t necessarily all financial. Paying rent is only lining someone else’s pockets and not gaining you anything in equity, so you want to be careful about how long you take to make your next purchase.

Will the Seller Bubble Burst?

There is a chance our current low housing inventory bubble may burst. With mortgage forbearance and eviction moratoriums ultimately coming to an end, there will be some struggling homeowners who need to sell for financial reasons and we could see an uptick in inventory. This may level out the price increases as the supply starts to catch up with demand.

We also have don’t know exactly how mortgage rates will react to different factors, and that could also affect housing demand, inventory and prices.

A Downsizing Scenario

Let’s look at an example. We have a client that realized it was a good time to downsize. They were empty nesters who had way more house than they needed, and their income situation had changed with one of them accepting an early retirement during the COVID-19 shutdowns. They knew their large family home would be in high demand and would sell very quickly at a great price in today’s market. However, they hadn’t fully fleshed out their long-term plan yet because the retirement came sooner than anticipated.

They got their house ready to sell and then listed it. Within days, it had gotten a flurry of purchase offers, most above asking price. They could have waited another couple months and hoped that the market got even hotter, or they could take really good money that was already on the table. They chose the latter.

Because things happened so fast, this couple didn’t have a plan of where they wanted to move next. They completed their home sale and decided to rent for a little while as they further defined their housing priorities and budget. Meanwhile, they began a thorough home search in the areas they were thinking about moving to. Their new plan is to buy and move within six months. The key is that they are taking their time to make the right decisions, rather than reacting aimlessly.

Developing Your Home Selling Plan

If you want to take more time to plan before you sell your house, that is also a good idea. Just don’t think that there is ever a “perfect” time to sell it. You won’t know you are at the peak of the market until you are well past it. All we can say is that it’s a red hot seller’s market right now and you’ll be doing well to take advantage of these conditions while they last.

Another recommendation we have is to get your house ready to sell, even if you are not planning on selling right away. Keep it clean and keep up with maintenance and repairs. This way, if and when you do decide to sell, you are in better position to get it on the market quickly. This is one great strategy in a seller’s market. If your house needs work, you could miss out on a good selling opportunity by waiting too long to get that work done. Pretend as if you are planning to sell at any given moment, and your home will always be ready when the time actually does come. Given the uncertainty in today’s world, being prepared just in case circumstances may require you to sell your home is a prudent move.

If you think it might be time to sell, or you want to start getting your house ready for a sale in the near future, don’t wait to take action. If you are in the Southeastern Pennsylvania or Northern Delaware area, contact The Cyr Team today for information and guidance as you prepare for your home sale and your next purchase. We’ll help you make the best decisions for your real estate future.

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