Predicting the ‘Right Time’ to Buy or Sell a Home
Buying or selling a home at the right time is tougher than it sounds. People usually take these actions because of a life event or financial issues, and 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
There’s no longer one national real estate market or forecast like there was 20 years ago. And just because the 24/7 national news outlets tell stories of hot real estate markets with multiple offers and quickly rising prices doesn’t mean that’s happening in your neighborhood.
If you want to purchase or sell, dig deeper, look around and get as much local information as possible. Meet with a good local agent early and often to stay informed about shifts in the market.
Interest rates fluctuate
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 can start a new school in the fall.
While spring is still a strong selling season, buyers are looking online and searching on their phones every day, no matter the season, and transactions happen from New Year’s Day to Christmas 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 listing 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 we would see every renter with savings and a solid job getting in the market. But there are practical and emotional considerations.
Renting and keeping with the status quo is totally acceptable if there is any uncertainty in your future. While these buyers are free to shop and learn the market, they may not make a move.
Since the financial crisis, many buyers have been hesitant to get back into the real estate market. And for good reason: Some of those buyers probably were never qualified to be in the market. But in many parts of the country, we’ve seen a comeback. Some markets are better than others.
If you think home buying is in your future, do your research. Take your time and start to get a feel for the market. Just know that nobody can predict when the right house will come along, and you can’t time a real estate market.