Selling Your Home: How the Housing Crisis & Economy Factor In

Page 180931216

Earlier this year, everyone seemed to be focusing on the downward spiral of the housing market, and in the last few months we’ve been inundated with news about the downward spiral of Wall Street. One thing is clear: it’s been a year of uncertain economic times. However, none of the financial or real estate economic experts seem to agree on what the future holds. Market volatility makes it almost impossible to predict how soon we’ll see more stable economic indicators and a return to normal real estate appreciation. This uncertainty has caused us to hunker down, reduce our spending, and delay any kind of major life changes. Unfortunately, other circumstances in one’s life may dictate that it is time to make changes. Will you let Wall Street determine your next steps, or will you push through the fear of uncertainty and empower yourself to act in your own best interest?

Selling Your Home: To Wait or Not to Wait?

Last week I was introduced to a new elderly client—I’ll call her Marge—who desperately wants to move before winter. She admitted that driving is getting more difficult, and told me that her daughter just moved out of state, and her house needs more and more repairs. She was very concerned about everything she had heard in the media about the housing crisis, and does not want to “give her house away.” Marge clearly wants to move. Fear is the only reason she would consider staying in her current home—that, and the possibility of making a few additional dollars.

If it’s time for you or an aging loved one to move, just do it. It doesn’t make any sense for Marge to white–knuckle her way through another winter in a house suffering from deferred maintenance when she has little to no support system in place. There are no guarantees she’ll receive any more for her house next spring than she will now. In fact, she may end up with less. She’ll be safer and happier making the move to her new senior housing now, without having to worry about her failing furnace or having to shovel snow.

There’s no question this is a challenging real estate market, but it is the market we have. And although I can predict what it would take to sell a house now, I can’t tell you what it will look like in six months. No one can.

Check the Facts First

If you are considering selling your home, you want to know what you can expect. The statistics you hear on the five o’ clock news may or may not apply to your home. It’s not uncommon for local statistics to be very different than those you hear about on national television Check with a local senior real estate specialist (SRES) for information that’s based on sales closer to home. You’ll want to know how long it takes homes like yours in your neighborhood to sell, and how much you’ll net after the sale of your home.

Determine your next steps

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of moving now with your family and other trusted sources. Remember, waiting for next spring does not guarantee a better market; it simply means you’re waiting. Given what we know now, there's no reason to suspect we'll see anything other than more of the same. Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to move forward, it’s time to put the wheels in motion:

  1. Determine what you're willing to do to your home to get it ready for the market. Then, price it accordingly. This market demands that you be willing to do things to sell your home that you may not have had to do five years ago. You may have to spend some money to get your home ready for the market, and it’s likely you won't be able to increase the price of your home because you made those improvements. Those improvements will probably only make your home more sellable, not more expensive!
  2. Meet with your financial planner and decide what you'll do with the equity you get from the sale of your home. A good financial plan will help you feel confident about renting or purchasing your new home when you downsize. This will give you a sense of security during a time of so much uncertainty.
  3. Set a move date. Set a move date driven by what you need, and not what you expect the market to do. If the real estate agents and economists could predict the markets, they wouldn’t be working as real estate agents and economists. While we can’t predict the markets, we can predict your happiness by identifying your needs, and then acting on them.

Here’s the bottom line: no one knows what the future holds. We can only plan and act on the information we have today. If the information you have indicates it’s time to move, then don’t hesitate. Sit down with a senior real estate specialist, develop a plan and get moving.

Related Articles