So you’ve thought about it and decided this might the year you get ready to buy a house, or sell the one you currently own. Maybe you’re not ready today, maybe you’re thinking 6 months from now…but how soon is too soon to call a Realtor to talk about it?
Those of you thinking about buying:
When: Within a year.
Why: The market changes. There are always changing parts of the real estate process, whether it’s changes in mortgages (like down payment amounts) or the market in general, so what I tell you now, may be different in 12-18 months. It’s better to get an idea of the process, the cash you’ll need, and what your expectations should be now, so you have time to get your ducks in a row when it’s time to make a move. Prices may change, maybe not drastically, but things change year to year. Interest rates may go up or down, increasing or decreasing your buying power, etc. There are a TON of factors that play into how much you can afford and/or how much you’re willing to spend…my belief is that it’s better to get more info up front than less.
Those of you thinking about selling:
When: 6 months to a Year
Why: Depending on what waits for you on the other side of the sale, there may be a “game plan” you haven’t considered prior to meeting with an agent. The real estate market has seasons, so unless you need to move right NOW, it may or may not be more advantageous to wait to a certain time to sell. There may also be some repairs or changes you can make to increase value and saleability that may take some time (think purging, declutter, paint, etc.)
In general, it’s better to open the lines of communication early. Find out what you need to do to make the process go smoother, and more on your timeline.