When to Know if it’s the Right Time to Buy or Sell
Typically, the average homeowner decides to buy or sell property as a last-minute decision – it comes out of a need for something quickly like shelter, a financial situation, relocation, potential damages to an existing property – to name a few. When something unexpected happens that requires you to either purchase or sell a home it’s common for factors like the current economy and the trending real estate market to be, well… less important.
However, if you have the advantage of buying or selling at your own convenience, here are some things to keep in mind when trying to predict when to buy or sell a home.
Don’t let the media fool you.
The media’s job is to make sure that the headlines they print or publish turn heads. They want to get your attention, so they need to be flashy, concise, and to the point – something bold and shocking. When you start doing research on the current housing market, it can be easy to fall prey to the panic that many publications, online and off, are perpetuating. When you hear, for example, that Vancouver is currently in a ‘housing crisis’, it can set off some alarm bells in your head and potentially make you second-guess purchasing a property or selling your current one. However, what the media says is true about the real estate market is not always the case.
While the internet is obsessing over Vancouver’s current ‘dismal’ market trends and people are buying into that panic, the market in areas like Surrey, Cloverdale, or Langley (to name a few) might be experiencing stable and solid real estate conditions. Although they all fall under the Lower Mainland umbrella, they are totally different places with varying types of residences and homeowners… hence, different trends. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
It’s also important to note the type of property you are looking into buying or selling. While total listings for detached homes in Vancouver dropped by roughly 15%* for the month of June of this year, inventory for the same types of properties in Surrey fell by only 11%. ** On the same front, townhouse listings fell by 12% in Vancouver, while Surrey only felt a meager 1% decrease.
Then, as a potential seller, it might be encouraging to note that the listing to selling price ratio (meaning, the amount the house was listed for versus what it actually sold for) was 95% for Vancouver, while Surrey came out on top with 96% for the past month. That might not seem like a huge difference, but what it means is that sellers in Surrey last month sold their properties within a small 4% of their original asking price. While the media might tell you that homes aren’t selling and that we are experiencing a stand-still market, what we actually see in places like Surrey and Cloverdale, is that on average houses spend about only 30 days on the market and sellers are still closing sales on a reasonable price that benefits both the buyer and the seller.
When looking into when might be the best time to sell your home, it’s worth researching your local area as stats can change drastically – even within small neighbourhoods. We recommend contacting and meeting with a trusted real estate agent to get more information about your residential area and what you can reasonably expect out of your local housing market.
*Data for Vancouver Housing Market https://www.zolo.ca/vancouver-real-estate/trends
**Data for Surrey Housing Market https://www.zolo.ca/surrey-real-estate/trends
Keep an eye on mortgage rates.
Currently, we are living with some of the lowest mortgage rates in history – they fluctuate around 2-5%. When mortgage rates are low, it can sometimes push would-be buyers to come out from the woodwork and start purchasing property to avoid paying more in the long run. If you want the best chances at selling your home, keeping your eyes out for rising or falling mortgage rates can help you indicate when might be the best time to put your house on the market, as when the rates are low, that could result in more interest in your listing.
Mortgage rates, however, like most things that fall under the business-economy sector, tend to be cyclical. That means that just like gravity, everything that goes up must come down and vice versa. Sometimes these changes run like clockwork and are easy to predict. Other times, they happen seemingly overnight and sporadically. If you are looking to sell your home, we recommend doing your research into the current housing market and mortgage rates to help you predict an ideal time to sell.
Need more information on mortgage rates and how to navigate your local market? Try reaching out to a trusted mortgage broker, like the team at Home Happy located in Surrey, BC who can help you with a variety of topics such as advice and information for first-time buyers, as well as upsizing, and refinancing options.
Don’t focus on seasons.
Spring cleaning doesn’t just stop at looking through your closet and deciding what to keep and what to donate to Value Village – it has also consistently been one of the most popular seasons for buying or selling a home. When warmer weather sets in, people tend to become inspired to renovate, try out home projects, or relocate to a new neighbourhood that offers them a faster commute to work, or is on a bus route for their kids to easily get to and from school in the fall. And yes, while it is true that real estate transactions do tend to rise in the warmer months, buyers are always looking around for homes and properties year-round.
From January to December, homes are being sold and purchased all the time – regardless of the season. At the end of the day, buyers will purchase homes that make sense to them based on price, the condition of the homes they are interested in, and of course, any personal preferences or other factors. Transactions happen at any given time of the year, so while you may be tempted to put your house on the market at the first sign of melting snow, it may actually be counterintuitive. If you opt to sell your home in the “off-seasons”, that could mean that you have an advantage as there may be less competition from other potential listings in your area.
Be careful not to rely too heavily on outdated assumptions about how the seasons affect the housing market. Focus instead on showing your home in the best possible condition and listing it at the right asking price. If it’s reasonably priced and looks great, the house will sell – even in the middle of February.
Talk to your local real estate agent for advice on how to help your home not only be in top shape for open houses, but also to help you price it for a quick and effortless sale.
So, you’ve talked to a real estate agent about your local market and met with a mortgage broker to get a feel for current rates and you feel ready to buy or sell. That’s great! But there is another factor to keep in mind.
We are emotional beings and we are apt to make decisions based on how we feel. Emotions can play a huge factor on when a person may decide to buy or sell and it’s important to understand how that could affect your success in making a sale or a purchase.
Take, for example, that while a buyer may be approved on all fronts for a mortgage, they may hold off on going through with the sale if the rest of their life isn’t in order. Some of the largest emotional challenges that we face stem from issues like personal health (or the health of a family member), or if their current job isn’t offering them enough stability. Then, of course, marital problems tend to top the list of reasons why someone might not be actively purchasing property. And it makes sense. Buying or selling a home is a giant commitment and life change, and it’s not one to be taken lightly.
You might be taking all the right steps to ensure your home sells, and have done your homework to help you predict the perfect time to put your house on the market, but could still face potential blocks down the line, and that’s totally normal. Sometimes things just don’t line up the way you thought they would but try not to become discouraged if this happens to you.
Do what feels right.
When everything is said and done when it comes to predicting when to buy or sell a house, there really is no “right” time – just good times and better times. While there are certain indicators that, as a buyer or seller, you can you use to your advantage, it never guarantees you a successful purchase or sale. People may argue that there is a science to it, but at the end of it all, it’s best to do what makes sense to you personally, and what feels right. It’s good to take into consideration factors like the current housing market, market trends, mortgage rates, and yes, even the season, but it isn’t the be-all-end-all.
We recommend researching to the best of your ability and speaking to a professional to gain inside knowledge and guidance. But take care to not let yourself obsess over it – things change all the time and if you’re patiently waiting for the perfect time to make your move, you may never make it.
Buying or selling a home and want more information? Talk to one of our highly qualified and knowledgeable real estate agents today!