Column: To sell now or in the spring?

I have had a multitude of homeowners inquiring about whether to put their homes, condos and co-ops on the market this fall or wait until next spring.

The answer I have been giving, is “It depends on a number of factors and your personal decisions.”

There are so many things to contemplate and figure out.

However, one thing is for sure, due to the historically low inventory today and especially at this time of the season, you as a homeowner will have less competition with other properties in the surrounding areas.

Therefore, with the abundant amount of buyers, you potentially will do better now, with better offers from those that are still searching out there place to finally settle down.

Many buyers, especially those that have mortgage commitments and low interest rates, want to find something before the hard winter comes around.

Many have lost out to cash purchasers, where sellers took the cash deals and ran, even though they might have received less than what they really wanted or expected.

However, their deal was not subject to an appraisal or a long waiting period to close; so these are the main reasons they went with those agreed upon “cash offers.”

However, going forward at this time of the year and holidays approaching in the very near future, there will be far less sellers putting their homes on the market.

Many times doing the opposite of what everyone else is normally doing, works more in your favor. An example would be installing central air conditioning in the winter and boilers in the summer; opposite seasons, when many plumbing and heating contractors will be slower for those types of installations and a bit more negotiable.

So when selling, the available choices for many buyers will be far less.

For some, what happens is an emotional attachment and a real need to purchase that is created, that grabs that one couple or person for a particular property, and they don’t want to lose the opportunity to purchase and maybe have to wait until the spring.

Some other factors to consider are the following:

  • Hopefully, you will eliminate or reduce the expenditures of heating your home compared to where you might be going to purchase (warmer climates) or rent.
  • No more daily, weekly or monthly maintenance to have to deal with
  • Repairs, pipes breaking, etc. are gone that you might fall prey to during the winter
  • No more shoveling snow or preparing for winter, sanding, salting,
  • As you get older, driving during the winter can and is much more treacherous; so warmer climates eliminate this potential hazard.
  • Many sellers yearn to be closer to their children and their grandchildren to see and be around them more often; and in turn the children want them nearer to help them out and make it easier for them and reduce their responsibilities.

Also keep in mind, that due to the current favorable tax advantages of keeping a large amount and in some situations all of your proceeds from the sale, you can invest it somewhere having complete control; maybe triple tax exempt bonds.

Remember, you are allowed to keep the first $500,000 ($250,000 if single) of profit, plus add your original purchase price and all capital (permanent) improvements to your property, plus closing costs.

If you sell your home after your spouse passes (within two years after your spouse passes), and you haven’t remarried as of the sale date, you can count any time when your spouse owned the home as time you owned it, and any time when the home was your spouse’s residence as time when it was your residence.

If any of this information is at all confusing, and because I am not an accountant, I suggest you talk with your C.P.A. to clarify any and all pertinent information and strategize your tax consequences in advance.

I would also discuss this with your financial advisor too.

Lastly, if you are in a much higher tax bracket, and you have been in your home for 30-50 years and you plan to come away with much more proceeds, even after the allowable deductions, due to the sale price of your home; this will be another crucial reason to talk with your C.P.A. and financial advisor.

Phil Raices is the owner/broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 7 Bond St. in Great Neck.  He has earned designations as a Graduate Realtor Institute and Certified International Property Specialist.

He can be reached by email: [email protected] or by cell (516) 647-4289 to answer any of your questions or article suggestions.




Share this Article