It’s time for another installment of Ask an Agent where you have the opportunity to ask an actual real estate agent questions about buying and selling.
Today’s question comes from Sophie who asks: When is the best time to sell? Conversely when is the best time to buy?
Avryll: Like stocks, it is generally difficult to “time” the real estate market. Given the benefits of home ownership, I always recommend that people buy as soon as it’s affordable to get into the marketplace. As a general rule, when moving up market, try selling when the market is down; what you fail to gain on the sale you will more than save on your purchase in a higher price category. If you are downsizing, it makes sense to sell when the market is up, since your existing home will be more expensive than your purchase, leaving you with a higher net return.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always offer the insight or flexibility to plan around market conditions. Seasonal trends indicate Spring and Fall are typically more active, and when buyers are active, sellers tend to list more properties. Families with children generally like to move prior to the start of a new school year, which also helps to fuel the Spring market. That said, in the quieter seasons of Winter hibernation & Summer vacation, there are generally fewer buyers and fewer listings often resulting more balanced transactions.
Ultimately, you never know when the “right” house will come on the market. If you are thinking of buying or selling, the first step is to be prepared. Investigate financing and speak with a Realtor who will keep you informed of noteworthy market activity. Local market conditions will vary but there’s always a demand for desirable homes; the cream rises to the top. The quality of presentation will be crucial in slower markets. The goal is to make your home appear as the best value when compared to similar houses.
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