Should I sell now or later?
Timing is everything
Ever find yourself thinking why do agents tell me now is always the best time to buy or sell no matter what? Well outside of the obvious inclination to make a sale it's almost impossible to time any market perfectly. So is now a good time to buy or sell?
We do our best to be straight forward with everyone so you can understand the pros and cons of buying or selling in any market cycle. Rarely is it so black and white that 'now' is the best time to buy or sell. There are always circumstances and tradeoffs.
In the typical cycle, more buyers are active in the spring and less in the winter. So to get top dollar for your home, selling the last week of April is statistically the best week of the year. It also happens to be the week after the tax deadline so lots of people have their refund and are a little flush for that down payment. Still, it's easy to hide reality inside statistics. However within that data if there are more buyers, prices are going to be higher simply because there is more demand. When you go to sell, often you have to buy, so now you are almost immediately on the opposite end of the stick after you sell. So you get the best and worst of it.
So when do you actually want to sell?
Life isn't always about just the money. Yes, please use this newsletter against me when I say otherwise in the future. There are life events that become more important and we need to move regardless of being able to pick the most optimal moment to buy or sell our house. So we just do the best we can in the market of the moment.
If you have the flexibility to choose when you transact, then I tend to look at it through the lens of which property costs more, the one you are selling or the one you are buying. If they are about the same budget, then you just have to take on both sides of the market you are in. One will be better than the other.
If one home is more expensive than the other and you want to optimize your balance sheet, then transact where the market helps you the most. If you are moving up in home value, then you want to take advantage of a buyers market in the fall when prices tend to come down and the impact of a market where buyers have more power gains you the most on the new home that costs more.
If you are downsizing, then you may want to transact in the spring. You can get more for your larger home when there are more buyers. You may have to pay more for the smaller home you are moving into, but you got more out of the larger one you are downsizing from.
What about rates?
"But rates are going down next year! Should I wait then to get a better price?"
Sure, if you can afford to wait, interest rates are expected to come down next year, but not by a lot or very fast. Unless we have another global crisis (fingers crossed) then we are probably in for steady historical mortgage rates in the 5%-8% for the foreseeable future.For this argument I always ask about the opportunity cost of your time being in the house you are in versus where you want to be.
Calculate a little appreciation and a price bump based on where you think rates will go. No one knows for sure so your financial tea leaf reading may be as good as anyone's. Then ask yourself, "is that price difference worth the extra time in the house you want to sell?" If you can do something way more meaningful or valuable to you with that time than whatever that number is, then go ahead and sell now. If not, then wait.
As always, question everything and don't take suggestions as absolutes. These are written from a perspective of our experience and offering our insight, however limited. We're not perfect and get things wrong... but not on purpose.