Making the decision to buy or sell a home is a big deal, and when you do, it can have a huge impact on your wallet. Not sure how to evaluate whether it’s a good time to make a move? These questions are a great place to start.
#1: Should I Buy/Sell Now, or Wait?
Let’s start with the million dollar question (literally): Is this a good time to buy or sell? Ask RE/MAX Evolution and listen closely…
The key here is to look beyond a basic “it’s a great time to buy!” answer. A good agent will back up their claim with cold, hard, local facts. For example, a South Florida agent might tell you that Miami has seen a 14.1% increase in asking prices year-over-year. Or, they’ll tell you how homes in a specific neighborhood are getting multiple offers, which might mean paying full list price if you really want to live there.
That’s the hallmark of a strong agent: They’re familiar with current data and trends, and they’re willing to give you advice that’s in your best interest. Then you can use those insights to form your own opinion.
#2: How Much Will Seasonal Trends Affect My Results?
Almost every agent knows that—broadly speaking—homes tend to sell during the spring and summer. Most people don’t want to drive from house to house during the frigid winter months, so springtime releases pent-up demand. This continues into the summer, as families try to find new spots and settle in while kids are on summer break.
But those are broad points. Does weather affect behavior in your city or town? Are there other neighborhood events that may affect the local market? Maybe fall or winter are great times to find deals in your neck of the woods!
An agent will be able to walk you through the data that influences buying and selling behavior at different times of year.
#3: Are 2014′s Seasonal Trends in Line with Previous Years?
Let’s take the above question a step further: You’ve seen the seasonal trend data from the past few years. Will this year’s buyer/seller behavior be the same?
If you’re buying in Chicago, a local agent might know that the average listing price for homes in Chicago is rising rapidly—from July 2013 to July 2014 it grew by 12.9%.
A good agent should be able to give you some historical context, commenting about whether or not that type of rise in asking price is “normal” relative to other summers. They may advise you—based on this year’s trends—to make decisions in a way that’s different from what they would have recommended in previous seasons.
#4: How is My Price Range, Relative to Homes on the Market?
Comps are key. If you’re considering selling your home, ask how it would be priced relative to similar homes sold in the previous three, six, and twelve months. If you’re buying, ask what your price range gets you today versus what it might have gotten a year ago. In both cases, you should be looking at:
- Median prices
A good agent will tell you how your home (or your budget) relates to median prices in target neighborhoods. They’ll help you understand what trade-offs you may need to make to get what you want now, versus a few months down the road.