So long 2013! It was a nice year in real estate, but it’s behind us. Now we have 2014 to deal with. What are we going to do with it? I repeat: “What are WE going to do with it”? It is, after all, up to us. Right? Too many buyers & sellers have been frozen in place all of last year, unclear as to what to do-when-how & why. I guess they were overwhelmed by a constant flow of contradictory news about the economy, so they chose to wait & see. Too bad, both sides would have substantially benefited from acting on their first impulsion.
The good news is, there is always another year. Here it is. We’ll give those would-be buyers and sellers another chance!
Allow me to suggest a tip they will need to consider in order to maximize their opportunities to win this year: “Timing is not everything but it’s a big thing.” What is the best time to buy or sell a home? It can be said that the best time is when you want to, when you have to, or when you can. Hard to argue with common-sense, although these factors are more about will and fate than just reason. If you look at a calendar, there is in fact a time in the year when homebuyers and sellers would be well advised to pull the trigger. Guess what it is?
No, it is not in the spring, even though most people kind of think that way and act accordingly, as if there was no other choice. No, it is not in summer, unless of course you live in snowy/icy country where you may have to wait a while for buyers to find a clear way to the front door. No, it is not in the fall, in spite of the attractive foliage and mild weather, because, by then, the most pressing demand has already been satisfied.
No, in my opinion, the best time to buy or sell real estate is at the very beginning of the year, say January or early February. This year especially.
Let me talk about the buyers first. What do they want? What they want is to avoid excessive competition likely to drive them out of their price range, or out of the buying process altogether if they already are sick & tired of losing to overbids on multiple offers situations. Less competition, at a time when sellers are not yet in the mood to push their listing price up, usually equates to a better offering price and better chances to negotiate better terms and conditions.
Also, this year, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that mortgage rates are on the rise. A rather powerful reason to act ASAP. Waiting can only hurt.
As for the sellers, listing early is always a good idea. Granted they may not get the number of anxious buyers they would have in March or April, but they would not compete with as many comparable listings either, often forcing them to lower their price or losing the sale to other properties. Besides, there is still so much pent-up demand all over the map that the flow of buyers is now constant throughout the year. Remember: the best time to sell is when buyers can & want to buy. Now is a great time.
I often hear sellers suggest that they are better off waiting until April or May because the sky is blue, the sun feels good and flowers are blooming in the front yard, making their house more attractive. The problem with this concept is that the sky, the sun & the flowers are just as nice for all active listings, completely diluting any advantage sellers may wish to benefit from.
One more thing: it is logical to assume that most buyers and sellers trust their real estate agents enough to depend on their advice as to when to buy or put a property on the market. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the wake-up call early enough. As much as I respect all Realtors, one must admit that many are not out of hibernation just yet during the first 6 weeks of the year. They are conditioned to believe that the market starts in March, not realizing that they actually are part of the reason…
The moral of the story is simple: those (buyers, sellers & agents) who start fast are usually those who win big. Ready-Set-Go!