The decision to sell your house now or wait is a big one, with personal and financial implications.
One challenge facing sellers right now is a cooler housing market, following a surge in interest rates and a drop-off in buyer demand.
Also, in early March, Redfin reported that year-over-year home prices had fallen for the first time in more than a decade — meaning the typical home sold for less in February 2023 than in February 2022.
Many sellers are wondering if they should list now before home prices drop even more or wait until the market picks back up.
To start making that decision, you can talk to a few realtors. Getting multiple perspectives will help you understand your local market better.
A hassle-free way to explore your options
If you’re unsure whether to sell now or wait, an agent who knows your local market can help.
We can match you with multiple agents from well-known brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. Talk to as many agents as you’d like for advice — there’s no obligation to move forward.
If you decide to sell, you’ll save significantly on realtor commission. We offer a 1.5% listing fee, about half the typical rate. Get advice from top local agents.
Is it a good time to sell a house?
Generally, right now isn’t a bad time to sell a house. You likely won’t get as high of a price as sellers did during the pandemic housing boom. But if timing is good for you personally and you prep your house well, you can have a good outcome.
As you think about whether to sell now, consider these factors:
Reasons to sell your house now
|Consider selling now if:
|🏠 Your market favors sellers
|👨👩👧👦 You need to upsize (or downsize)
|👔 You need to move for a job
|💸 You're selling an investment or vacation property
|💵 You have home equity to cash out
Your local market favors sellers
There are several ways to tell if the local real estate market is tilted in your favor when selling your house.
Home prices are rising in your area
A market with rapidly rising home prices indicates strong buyer demand.
In a strong seller’s market, it’s common to see homes sell for way over their asking price.
Boyd Rudy, an associate broker for Dwellings, Michigan, shares: “If prices in your area have been steadily increasing, it may be a good time to sell while you can get top dollar for your home.”
A seller’s market also usually sees an influx of cash buyers who can close fast (10–20 days) and even waive certain contingencies, like a home inspection or an appraisal.
Housing inventory levels are still low
An area with low inventory means that more buyers are competing for fewer homes for sale, which keeps home prices elevated.
“In most areas, inventory is still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, but active listings are on the rise,” says Jenkins. “While inventory is still low, sellers can take advantage of the increased competition between buyers, which will help to secure a better sale price.”
Homes are selling at a fast pace
Nationally, homes are taking an average of 50 days to go under contract, according to March data from Redfin. However, it may take more or less time to sell in your particular market.
Time to sell +also depends on the decisions you make before listing, says real estate expert Delaney Juarez. “If you take the time to prep your house properly, stage it well, have professional photos taken by a photographer, and price it according to market value, I think you’ll find yourself in a place with some very interested buyers on your hands. If you neglect any of those steps, then it will probably take a while for your home to sell.”
To get a better idea of how long it might take you to sell in the current market, connect with a local real estate agent.
You need more (or less) space
You might need more space if your family is growing, you work from home, or an elderly family member is moving in.
Downsizing is often a smart choice if kids have moved out or you plan to retire. Purchasing a less expensive, lower-maintenance home can save you money (and stress).
If family dynamics are changing, talk to your family to see if moving now is worth it.
You’re changing jobs
Switching jobs is one of the main reasons you may need to sell your house fast. You may also need to move quickly to take care of an elderly parent or relative.
In either situation, you may feel more comfortable selling your house rather than renting it out. You can have an agent manage the sale for you while you get settled in your new home.
You’re selling a second home or investment property
You may want to sell now to cash in on a vacation home or investment property.
“Owners of investment properties are in a great position to sell now as they can sell and capture their new equity without the hassle of purchasing a new home at a higher interest rate,” says realtor Olhausen.
Selling these types of properties often affects taxes, but there are ways to get around it.
For example, if you’re a real estate investor, you can minimize your potential tax bill by trading in your investment property for another one via a 1031 exchange.
If you’re selling a second home, you can use that cash to invest in other assets, such as the stock market or a business.
You have equity to cash out
“This is a fantastic time to sell if you’ve owned your home for, say, seven years or more and you’ve gained a lot of equity,” says Cynthia Cummins, owner and principal Realtor at Kindred SF Homes in San Francisco.
This is especially true if you’re looking to downsize or move to a less expensive market, where your current equity is enough to pay for your next home in cash. In that case, you can avoid taking out a more expensive mortgage on your next home.
The current higher mortgage rates mean fewer buyers to compete with, so you may be able to secure a deal.
“Better to capture [your equity] now — just in case the market slides down unexpectedly,” advises Cummins. “Then you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend on your next place and you can take your time finding it.”
If you need help determining your home equity, consult a local real estate expert. If you’re looking for expertise you can trust, We can connect you to a top-rated agent in your area for a no-obligation consultation.
Reasons to wait to sell your house
Your local market favors buyers
A buyer’s market means there are fewer interested buyers and more houses for sale, making it harder to sell at a high price.
In a buyer’s market, sellers often compete for buyers by lowering prices and accepting less favorable terms.
Homes in this environment also don’t sell as fast as they do in a seller’s market. A home in a buyer’s market might take two or more months to sell, compared to just a few weeks in a seller’s market.
If you don’t have a pressing need to sell your home, it could be worth waiting until the market shifts back in your favor before listing your house for sale.
However, every market is different. A local realtor can help give you market-specific advice on when it’s the most favorable time to sell.
You haven’t owned your home that long
You don’t have enough equity to sell
If you sell too soon after buying, you might not profit much from the sale, especially after factoring in seller closing costs.
“Homeowners worst positioned to sell now are ones who purchased recently in the peaks of the market,” says Keller Williams agent Kyle Pereira. “In many cases they are in negative equity situations.”
The risk is especially high for those who “acquired a large loan with very little money down,” cautions realtor Dj Olhausen. “For these sellers I would consider waiting to pay off more of your loan amount or until home values increase again.”
If you’re not sure how much equity you have in your home, you can ask an experienced local realtor for a comparative market analysis. This report shows what your home is worth in today’s market. Your agent can also provide a seller net sheet, which shows what you would gain after your closing costs and mortgage payoff.
You might have to pay capital gains taxes
Even if home values have risen in your area, consider holding off selling if you’ve owned the home for less than two years. You could get a significant tax penalty on profits earned from the home.
If you wait until at least two years after your purchase, you’ll likely pay tax at a lower rate or avoid paying any taxes, assuming your net gains don’t exceed a certain threshold set by the IRS.
You haven’t considered your new home
“Homeowners have to consider the reality that if they sell, they are likely having to buy as well,” adds San Francisco-based realtor Susan Jenkins. “Are you prepared to enter the market as a buyer?”
Consider the following:
- Mortgage rates have risen substantially. “Right now, 75% of homeowners have an interest rate below 4%, so buying a new house at the current rate of 6–7% can be a painful proposition,” says realtor Dj Olhausen.
- Home prices have also risen. While home prices have fallen in many parts of the country, overall they’re about 40% higher than at the start of the pandemic. The typical mortgage payment on a newly purchased home now tops $2,500 per month.
- Inventory remains low. People with mortgages are reluctant to give up their low interest rates, so fewer homes are for sale. Buyers have limited inventory to choose from and greater competition.
Waiting may make more sense if you intend to buy in the same competitive market or take out a mortgage to purchase a new home. While there’s no guarantee that rates and competition will go down in the future, at least you can keep building equity to borrow less for a new house later on.
Check with a local realtor to see if waiting to sell makes sense based on your market, finances, and expected sale price.
You don’t have a compelling reason to move
“The basic reasons to sell remain the same,” says ODonnell. “Job relocation, down- or up-sizing, and retirement are a few.”
If you don’t have one of those reasons to sell, you might want to reconsider putting your home on the market.
“Selling a home is about more than just the sale and finances,” continues ODonnell. “It affects every aspect of your life. The biggest reason to delay selling is that the time is just not right for you to make a move. Evaluate the pros and cons regarding the finances, a new location, and a new home.”
You recently refinanced your mortgage or remodeled
If you recently refinanced, you likely paid a lot of fees and interest. Selling now could negate any long-term savings from the refinance. It also might not make sense to move if you just remodeled.
“Homeowners who have just put significant money into remodeling projects may also be in a poor position to sell,” suggests realtor Josh Dotolil. “Those homeowners may not be able to recoup all of the costs associated with their recent renovation when selling during this market downturn.”
If you’re considering selling shortly after refinancing or remodeling, talk to a realtor to figure out when you could break even.
Your home needs a lot of work
“If your home is a little older and needs some major repairs or updates, these homes are having a little more trouble selling,” says Delaney Juarez. “This means that the sellers of these homes either have to wait for a cash buyer (who will generally expect to pay considerably less for the home) or leave the home on the market for a longer time than usual.”
“Most of today’s home buyers are looking for move-in-ready, no matter their price point,” explains realtor Barbara Beam. She suggests that sellers with updated homes — including newer kitchens and bathrooms — are selling faster and for up to $20–50k more than the competition.
» LEARN: How to sell your house fast for cash
Tips for selling your house in 2023
Each year has unique challenges and advantages for home sellers. In 2023, experts are emphasizing these five tips for a successful sale:
FAQ: Should I sell my house now?
Is now a good time to sell my house, or should I wait?
Deciding whether to sell your house now or wait until next year depends on a number of factors, including your local market climate and financial situation. Our guide breaks down some of the top reasons to sell now and the top reasons to wait until next year.
How long should you wait to re-sell your house?
You should wait to re-sell your house until you've lived in it for over two years. At that point, you'll likely avoid paying capital gains tax and have more home equity to cash in.
Will housing prices fall in 2023?
Some analysts believe housing prices will fall in 2023 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. But the real estate market is always shifting. Real estate is also highly local, and some markets will outperform others. If home prices are rising in your area, now may be a good time to sell.
How to Find a Realtor: You can find agents through several methods, but some are better than others. In this guide, we compare options to help you find the best realtors.
What to Know about Selling a House After 1 Year or Less: If you’re forced to sell quickly after buying a house, you may have to bring money to the closing table. Here’s what you need to know and tips on saving money.
How to Sell Your House: This 12-step guide educates you on the home sale process and how to prepare to sell.
How to Sell a House Fast without Losing Money: Our guide breaks down the easiest ways to speed up the home-selling process, without sacrificing any of your home equity.