Should we wait for the market to improve before selling?


Dear David,

We are retiring in a couple of months. We plan to sell our current home, buy a summer cottage in Canada, and spend the winters down south. We’ve asked three Realtors what our house is worth, and all have given us a value below what we think it will sell for. Should we take their word for it and scale back our plans, or wait for the market to come up before we list? – PLANNING AHEAD

DEAR PLANNING: I don’t recommend that you spend retirement somewhere you don’t want to be.

Whether your last 40 years of work have been a joy or a daily grind, you can look forward to this next chapter with excitement. I’ve often described retirement as the chance to revert back to your teenage years. There is less responsibility once the kids leave the nest, you no longer have a curfew, and the equity you’ve built can pay for a night on the town, without having to get a part time job at the movie theatre.

It sounds like your Freedom 55 (or 65) plans are in place, which can create a challenge I’ve seen dozens of times over the course of my career. Sometimes new retirees with the best of intentions feel they know more about the market than the professionals working in it. It’s not uncommon for people to think that their home is more valuable than what the market can provide.

A number of years ago, I met with someone from my neighbourhood to do a market evaluation of their home. They had just retired, picked out where they wanted to buy their cottage, and were ready to get going. The homeowner felt their house was worth more than I suggested, and listed it with another agent. They chased the market down over the course of the next six years, but always kept the price above what market value. When the house finally sold, it was for 12 percent more than the owner had wanted originally, but the market had increased almost 60 percent in that time. I’m not sure how much satisfaction they got out of wasting six years of their retirement trying to beat the market.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet hit the nail on the head when he said “I can buy anything I want, but I can’t buy time.” The time to sell your home is when you’re ready and able to retire, and there are many ways it can be marketed to ensure you wring out every last dollar out of the sale. If you try to sell a home that’s consistently overpriced, you may spend months or even years delaying the chapter you’ve worked so hard for. When I have this conversation with clients, most just want to know that they’re getting fair market value for their home.

PRO TIP:  I think everyone should retire the moment they can afford to. Many people love their jobs, but few graduate from planet earth wishing that they’d worked until the very last day. Embrace the opportunity to make new memories. If you choose not to move on, you can’t get the time back.  #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.