There are usually one of two good reasons why people decide to sell their real estate: the first is an upcoming change in their family’s living arrangement , such as a downsizing, change of schools etc…;the second is about the investment merits of continuing to hold a property in light of changing market direction and the impact that has on a family’s future balance sheet. As a consequence of the rapid acceleration in real estate prices over the last decade a large amount of wealth has accumulated and many people are just now starting to think about protecting the value of these assets.
The most frequent question I am asked is “How is the real estate market these days?” This is a difficult question to answer on a moment’s notice as every type of product and location has a different answer. Some neighborhoods have suffered a market correction more than others which have been buffered by the desirability of their location. For those concerned with whether it is a good time to sell and buy, it depends upon where you are moving from and where you want to go to. Like buying a new car, it is the difference between the proceeds of sale and the cost of the new place which really counts.
Regardless as to which category you feel that you fit into, it is still important within the context of your complete financial plan, to have a real estate plan that disconnects the date of sale of the property from some random expected date of retirement. In other words, one should not think “we will live here for the next three years , retire and then sell the place”, but rather consider the optimal timing of such a transaction from this point forward, so that the retirement process is more successful. Remember, it is a predictable amount of money from the house that you would like to have on your retirement, not an unknown value locked in the house!
Another major issue that people should consider is their health. Moving is a stressful event. It need not and should not be done alone if both parties in a couple are in good health. The move should be embraced as another life milestone, as a team, as a happy event, as an exciting time and as a celebration! Moving a deceased spouses belongings as a sole survivor is a horrible experience I wouldn't wish on anybody. If you are both well, crank the music up, get rid of a box a day, order some pizza, and make that one or 2 days a week devoted to the decluttering task a fun date night. The excitement will build and is it a far better experience to be sharing with a loving partner than with your reluctant children!
If any of the above is resonating with you, I am available to review your own situation and to help you formulate a real estate plan that works for you.