Yesterday I spoke with a seller who was wondering whether to sell now, or wait until next spring to catch the more traditional selling season.

I suggested the following thoughts and strategy:

  • The velocity of rising prices should slow down, so let’s consider next year’s value to be at most +5% of what it is today, but if everything else is even, you might as well wait to sell.
  • Other potential sellers are thinking the same thing, which could crowd the field – which is a vote for selling now, when everyone else isn’t.
  • Mortgage rates should reflect the health of the economy, so we’ll call that even.
  • Certainty vs. uncertainty is a vote for selling today. Any economic surprise or natural disaster might make you regret not selling – especially if it was a local earthquake that prevented you from selling at any reasonable price.
  • Distressed sales have been a non-factor, though if when checking foreclosureradar.com you find multiple defaulters in your immediate vicinity, sell now instead of later in case lenders seize the moment.
  • If there are more than two high comps nearby to support your price, then you should sell now.  You need recent solid sales to sell for top dollar.
  • If there are three or more active listing nearby, then wait ’til next year, and hope they hold out for top dollar. You don’t want to crowd the field.

If the move to the next home is flexible, then timing the sale of your existing home should really be determined by the recent sales activity nearby.  In the tight-inventory era, we have seen how sales can dry up and leave the next seller gasping for evidence to support their optimistic price.  It makes it harder to sell, and even tougher to get top dollar.

Older areas are prone to have lower-priced sales, so that should weigh in too – estate sales typically don’t care what time of year they sell, the heirs just want to get their hands on the money.  If two or more of those hit the market, they could take a few percentage points out of your wallet next spring.

If you are in a great school district (CV), wait until next year.  Buyers with kids don’t want to disrupt the on-going school year, especially if they are moving from a different district.

Consider all the factors, and do what is best for you – and get good help!

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