From the Mailbag

I want to sell my house. With all of the foreclosures, is this actually a good time to be in the real estate market?

This is a tough question Sherry. Sadly,  there isn’t a great answer. If someone absolutely loves your home, they may overpay, even in this economy.  Wouldn’t that be great?

I will give you three points to consider when deciding whether to sell in this market:

  1. Are you upgrading to a larger/more expensive home or downsizing? Here’s why this is an important factor to consider:  there is a good chance that if your home has slipped in value, so has the home you’re about to purchase. If the properties are in similar markets, you’ll lose some money on your current home but will then save a bundle of money on the new property. If you’re about to spend more money by upgrading, this works in your favor. When downsizing, you’ll lose more on your current home than you will on the one you purchase.
  2. Why are you moving? Interest rates are low. If you’re moving because you can’t afford the house payment, will a simple refinance work? Would there be ways to take advantage of the interest rate climate that involve less upheaval?
  3. My friends who are real estate pros tell me that there is no single “housing market.” There are thousands of little markets. How do your current and prospective markets compare? If your market is depressed but the area you’re moving toward is still booming, maybe this isn’t a great time to sell. If the area you’re moving to is depressed, but yours is holding up well, you may find a steal.

Selling a home is a difficult decision because real estate is usually the most expensive item on a person’s net worth statement. Take your time to make a good decision you’ll be happy with—because you’ll literally live in it!