Should I Sell Now?

The pandemic has put the world on pause. Should you put your real estate plans on pause, too?

This article reaches a sizable online audience, so there’s not just one answer to this question. In direct conversation with you—one-on-one—this question could be answered with specific reference to your location, property, finances, and desired outcomes, but there would still not only be one answer to this question.

Real estate, by its nature and its tremendous location-driven diversity, makes that question open-ended, with many possible answers:

The greatest challenge can be uncovering and understanding the full range of options open to homeowners, not just during these bizarre times, but in any market—before making the decision to sell or not.

The seemingly-simple “sell or not” question can only be answered after tackling a series of other questions. Even without the pandemic, making the decision to sell your home is complex and usually involves significant emotional elements:

Don’t just let conflicting thoughts rattle around in your head. Jot down ideas to get your brain going. Identify issues and goals. Mind mapping may be helpful here. Keep track of what you discover.

What’s driving you?

 1. The Heart: Why do you want to move from this home right now?

Is the motivation based on location, family changes, finances, work, or other issues important to you and your family? Prioritize these criteria. For instance, do record-low interest rates provide an exciting opportunity to buy your “dream home?” Has your work shifted permanently online, so where you live is no longer a work-related issue? Has your family situation changed, so that this home is no longer an ideal fit? How is the pandemic affecting your thinking? Will your decision be valid after the pandemic is resolved?

2. The Head: Why do you consider this the right time to cash in your main financial asset?

Pre-pandemic real estate values made many homeowners feel “house rich.” The pandemic has created stock market volatility and unexpected financial pressures that have devastated savings, investments, business assets, job security, financial prospects, and lives. Will real estate values in your area remain at, or return to, pre-pandemic levels? This financial pressure or its related uncertainty may be a driving force in your decision to sell. Does that make it the right decision?

No one knows the future, but a lot of people talk like they do. Be skeptical.

Real estate professionals are excellent resources and are experts at decision making. Real estate markets are local. Locate knowledgeable local professionals who understand the type of real estate you are interested in. Ask them what all your options are since their broad experience has taught them a degree of creativity that will amaze you.

Stick to the original sell decision?

Once you’ve re-examined your original decision to sell this spring, talk to at least one or two local experienced professionals to add a broader real estate perspective. Ask a lot of questions to understand exactly what has changed or improved in your local real estate market:

Real estate professionals can help you separate fact from fiction.

Cash-in in the current market?

If you hadn’t planned to sell this spring, but now feel you should, what’s behind this dramatic change? With so much rumor, unsubstantiated opinion, and fraud out there, take care you don’t fall prey to flawed thinking or fraudulent scams that can take your property from you. Real estate decisions are not easily reversed.

Local real estate professionals can bring you up-to-date with what’s really going on in your area. They can share analysis of local sales and listings to provide solid information on what you could expect from the sale of your home and how quickly. They can explain the “nuts and bolts” of safely showing and selling in this altered “social-distance” market. They’ll also reveal risks that should be considered, including:

Before you get too involved in selling, take time to evaluate what your choices will be once your home is sold and you must move:

Should you sell now? Your decision should be based on research and thoughtful consideration, not fear. Relax into the decision. You’ll only be 100% sure in hindsight. Choose the answer that you can live with and thrive on.