Thinking of selling but not sure now is the time? You may not need to hold off until spring in the current market.
The property market is broadly seasonal. Houses that are listed in the summer tend to take the longest to sell, and there is a second, smaller, lull in mid winter.
The summer lull is due to a number of factors. Sellers and buyers both take holidays, so there are fewer open inspections and response times are slower. Banks and mortgage brokers are also shut during public holidays, so loan applications take longer
Winter is a different beast. The slow down here is almost entirely weather-induced. Buyers don’t want to brave the cold for a round of open inspections, much less stand in the rain during an auction. Consequently, sellers tend to wait until spring to list their homes.
However, 2021 is bucking the trend.
Fuelled as much by FOMO as by record low interest rates, first home buyers and investors alike are braving the cold and turning up in droves. Auction clearance rates have soared, the median house price has risen steeply, and days on market is at an all-time low.
But does all this mean that it’s the right time for you to sell? As always, it depends.
The best time for any seller is when they’re ready. That might be because you’re expecting an addition to the family and need the extra room. Or your adult children have flown the nest and you want to downsize.
If you’re not sure, here are some questions to ask.
Have you built positive equity?
Selling and buying a second time is much easier if you’ve already been in the market for a few years. Ideally, you’ll have made enough profit to cover a deposit on the new property as well as the costs of buying and selling. If you don’t yet have that equity, consider hanging on a bit longer to recoup your costs.
Are you embarking on a new stage in your life?
Selling up and moving on is a big endeavour. While browsing the property listings is fun, it’s best to wait until you need to move before you start the process. This will also help you narrow down what you’re looking for next.
If you’re planning a family, for example, you don’t just want somewhere with more space. You’ll also want to look for family-friendly infrastructure, nearby parks and good local schools. Downsizers might want to keep their search focused on low-maintenance homes with easy-care gardens.
Do you have a financial plan?
If you’re downsizing, you may be able to free up a chunk of money when you sell the family home. If you’re upgrading, chances are that you’ll be taking on a larger mortgage than in your starter home. Perhaps you’re buying with the view to renovate or extend, or you want somewhere with a second dwelling as an income stream.
Whatever the goal, make sure your financial plan aligns with reality. That way, you can sell in confidence knowing that it’s part of building wealth for your future.
Do you have an agent?
Knowing who will sell your house can make the decision making process much easier. A good agent will be happy to offer advice on whether to sell now or wait, where your property sits in the market and how to best present it for sale. If there are repairs or renovations to be done, they’ll help you decide what the priorities should be so you can get started.
Have a chat with your agent at the outset and let them help you decide if you’re ready to sell.