3 Reasons You Might Not Want to Sell Your Home This Year

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  • Mortgage rates and home values are up, meaning sellers no longer have the clear advantage they had in 2020 and 2021.
  • If you just bought or refinanced, you might not recoup your costs if you sell now.
  • If you're planning to buy another home, you could find yourself competing with other buyers, and bidding wars are only fun for the seller.

Making a profit isn't guaranteed under these circumstances.

The last few years have been a wild time to watch the housing market. Home sellers have had the edge over buyers for much of that time, but the tide has begun to turn a little. Mortgage rates were a lot higher in 2022 and remain high this year so far (as of this writing, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.5%, per Freddie Mac). Plus, higher home values have priced many potential buyers out of the market, meaning sellers who list in 2023 may have a harder time finding the right buyer.

If you're on the fence about selling your home in 2023, here's a few reasons you may want to wait until 2024 -- or beyond.

1. You just bought it (or refinanced it)

I understand about indecision -- but in an ideal situation, you aren't looking to sell so soon after buying a home. Maybe you made a snap decision in 2020 or 2021, when buyers could still get a mortgage at under 3% interest, and you bought a house in an area that just isn't working for you. Or the home you bought isn't feeling quite right, and you're lacking the money to change it to be what you want. Alternatively, perhaps you bought your home several years ago, but refinanced it in the days of low interest rates.

In any of these scenarios, you would have had to put money into the purchase (down payment, closing costs, and various other fees) or refinance (closing costs again). If you sell in 2023, you're not guaranteed to recoup your costs, and buyer demand is being impacted by those higher mortgage rates. In general, it's not a great idea to buy a home if you don't intend to stay at least five years (and some finance gurus even say 10 years). Remember, it's not cheap to buy, own, or sell a house, so give yourself the best chance to make money on the sale by staying longer.

2. Your income hasn't increased since you bought

Remember those higher interest rates we discussed earlier? What about the higher home values? If you bought your home several years ago (or more), you may be shocked to learn that the median sale price of an American home as of Q4 2022 was $467,700, per the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In fact, the average salary needed to afford a home purchase now has also gone up to $107,281, according to Redfin data.

Of course, if you're selling and you've been in your home a while, you might make a profit on the sale even if your own income hasn't kept pace with higher home prices. But will that profit be enough to help you stay on the property ladder if you live in a part of the country with a booming real estate market?

3. You don't want to compete for a new home

Finally, if you decide to sell your home in 2023 and intend to turn around and purchase another one, you may find yourself in competition with other buyers, as demand still outstrips supply so far in 2023. Bidding wars are really only fun for home sellers, and are stressful and upsetting for buyers who have likely waited a long time to be able to buy a home and keep seeing their offers get beaten.

Perhaps it's a better decision to wait to sell your home and buy a new one when the market is more at an even keel for buyers and sellers. This could mean losing out on some profit on the sale of your own home, but why make it harder on yourself to buy a new one?

Think long and hard about your circumstances (financially and otherwise) as well as the market at large if you're considering selling your home this year. Buying and selling real estate certainly isn't cheap, but if you wait until the optimum time for you, you might not end up in the red.

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