It’s a question that plagues nearly every homeowner who’s ready to move on: When is the best time to put my house on the market?
And given that the housing bubble burst in 2008, another question inevitably surfaces: Just how much money can I expect to lose?
Well, it really depends on where you live, says Jed Kolko, chief economist and vice president of analytics at Trulia.com. The good news is that, in most of the country, it’s a seller’s market. “Inventory is very tight, so sellers have little competition, while buyers are getting into bidding wars—and sometimes even facing off against investors,” says Kolko.
The bad news? Prices are still sluggish to rebound in some big cities, like Chicago, Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey. That said, a few metropolises have fared better. “The biggest price increases have been in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Oakland,” says Kolko.
So how do you know if it’s a good time to sell where you live? Experts weigh in on three homeowners living in popular regions of the country who are currently debating whether to pack up or stay put.
“We’re ready to unload our rental property. Is now a good time to sell?”
—Mindy, Nashville, Tennessee
The Back Story: In 2004 we bought a 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath house for $446,000. It was the cheapest home in a really upscale neighborhood. In 2008 we were expecting another child and knew that we were outgrowing the house, so we listed it for $574,900 and went ahead and bought a bigger house for our expanding family—but the first house never sold. We took it off the market after eight months, and we have been renting it out ever since. The renters cover all of our expenses, but we’re definitely ready to unload the responsibility of owning two homes. Is now a good time to sell? We don’t really want to lose any money on it, so we’re wondering if waiting another year or two will allow us to sell for closer to what we paid for it. We have no idea what it would go for today, which is why we’re looking for advice!