WRITTEN BY PJ WADE
What’s next? When it comes to your home, if you don’t consider what possibilities could lie ahead — both positive and negative — you may get caught off-guard and find decisions are forced on you.
Homeowners who consciously develop financial, lifestyle, and real estate strategies to take advantage of opportunity and to head off potential losses, usually fare better than property owners who adopt a passive approach and just hope for the best.
“Wait and see” is not the most successful real estate strategy. By the time it’s clearly evident where the real estate advantage or disadvantage lies, it may be too late to do anything but watch others benefit from being in the right place at the right time. That’s because:
1. The selling process can take time, especially when the goal is to achieve the best return.
2. The real estate market is difficult to predict and periodically it stalls. If it’s stuck on “buyers’ market,” sellers may not achieve top dollar or a quick sale.
3. Rising interest rates can limit buyer purchasing power and reduce overall returns for sellers.
4. If something negative happens near the house or condominium property, market value and buyer interest may decline. For instance, local hi-rise development or transit construction can slow or reverse appreciation for some properties.
5. If a superb opportunity presents itself how can you be ready to act quickly?
Owners benefit when they stay aware of what is working and not working with their current property and community. For instance, if the home is too big or too small for family needs or finances, a move may improve the quality of life. If work or family interests make the current community less attractive or a distant location more enticing, selling may provide benefits on many levels. When local real estate values are on the rise, cashing in on increased value may make sense, especially if the resulting move would be to an area with lower real estate values.
Although some property owners are fascinated by all things real estate, many find their career and personal lives demanding enough that there is little time for investigating exactly what is going on in real estate on local, regional, and national levels. That’s why smart homeowners make solid ongoing connections with experienced local real estate and mortgage professionals who keep the owners current on shifts, risks, and opportunities.
As well as ensuring property owners take advantage of real estate opportunity, this ongoing professional input and orientation helps owners avoid typical causes of hesitation or inertia. The pros and cons of “staying or selling” in a variety of situations can overwhelm owners who try to tackle decisions without professional backup. Owners may also not be aware of the wide range of options and solutions open to them. In contrast, this problem solving is what real estate professionals do for a living.
Does your situation include either of the following problem scenarios, which are common challenges for real estate professionals, and often overwhelming to homeowners working alone on their one-time issue?
- Selling — the traditional downsizing reaction to “an empty nest” — could take owners out of a beloved neighborhood and away from preferred amenities, professional services, and other local benefits when all this comfort and security hold significant value. Professionals understand how to prioritize criteria for determining when a move is the right decision and they also know all the available options for the next home. Sellers who haven’t bought or sold real estate or arranged a mortgage in more than five years, are probably out of touch with today’s fast-paced real estate and finance marketplaces. Simply reading general online content or watching generic videos will not guarantee sellers get the correct, very specific information on topics of value to their decision making.
- In areas where property value is on the rise, the price differential between selling and then buying a new home or renting may not be enough to liberate cash to invest in income-generation — a common purpose behind downsizing. If sellers want to move to another region, state, or country, even if they are in touch with their local real estate market, they may not have sufficient relevant detail to feel comfortable making decisions outside their area. Real estate professionals can provide purchasing alternatives that may include buying income-generating property or using their real estate network to gather information from other locations.
When faced with real estate issues to resolve, homeowner indecision is usually a sign that they don’t have enough information or the right questions answered so that they can move ahead. What’s really possible for them may be quite different from what online chatter talks about.
To dispel indecision, sellers need to uncover true facts about their current real estate situation and what their wide range of “what’s next?” choices includes. They also gain from understanding how to get from “here” to “there” with minimum cost and hassle.
Property owners who select the right real estate and mortgage professionals to provide ongoing, relevant, up-to-date information, share all options, and clarify decision-making criteria gain the advantage in any real estate market. This is the vital step to knowing “what’s next.”