List Now or Wait for Later?

The residential real estate market in central Toronto typically slows down during the holiday season. Not because buyers decide to take a break from looking for new homes (although some do), but because sellers take a break. Who wants the stress of putting their home on the market when it’s full of decorations and guests? The holidays are already stressful enough, thank you very much. Yes, there are always some sellers who buck the trend, either because they have to sell or because they don’t care about convention, and those that do have been rewarded with generous sale prices in past years, but the large majority of  sellers choose to wait.  

It’s almost as if the market goes to an all-inclusive resort over the holidays. That’s why it’s fairly common in January and February for sellers and Realtors to ask “Is now a good time to list?” This was the question asked by a fellow Realtor in one of the Realtor Facebook groups to which I belong. (These online groups are great, btw. They help us share information and advice that helps our fellow Realtors and raises the standard of professionalism in our industry which helps all of us, including you.)

The answers to the question were almost unanimous: “Yes! Absolutely! Don’t wait! There are tons of buyers ready to buy!” Except for one lone voice. Mine. I said to wait and list later. Why did I say this? Because, and I only realized this after, I interpreted the question differently. Or so I believe. I think the other Realtors understood the question to be “Is it okay to list now assuming my seller has to sell now?” whereas I understood the question to be “Is now the best time to list?” And I don’t think now is the best time to list. But I do think if you have to list now, you’re okay to list now. It’s a strong seller’s market out there.

So why should you list now? Here are a few examples:

  • Because you’ve already bought a new home and need to sell your home by a certain date.
  • Because you’ve decided to sell first with a long closing date so you’ll have several months, including the entire Spring market, to look for your new home.
  • Because you’re making a lifestyle change which you’d like to implement immediately – retiring and moving out of the city, moving in with your partner, separating from your partner (different partners, obviously).
  • Because a job transfer requires you to move immediately.
  • Because you think prices are going to fall. (If you’d like to know what I think about prices and the market in general feel free to read my market prediction.)

There are other examples as well, but the market has been so strong in recent years there isn’t really a bad time to list. I’ve even sold a few homes on Christmas Eve. There always seem to be motivated buyers at the ready. If, on the other hand, you’re under no pressure to sell then you may want to hear what I have to say about the best time to sell.

Now, let’s get back to my interpretation of the original question because there’s an important real estate lesson here (and it’s not that I’m right and everyone else is wrong). I thought the question meant one thing and everyone else thought it meant something different. The lesson is to always remember that when it comes to real estate, questions and facts can have different interpretations. There are no cookie cutter answers. Your situation is YOUR situation. Yes, it will be similar to other situations in some respects, but it really has to be examined in detail on its own to determine the best strategy for you. There’s no such thing as one size fits all. We’re talking about bespoke tailoring here. You need it, you deserve it and you should have it when you’re selling something worth so much money.

If you know anyone who likes bespoke tailoring, is interested in learning how the market works and would like to receive the kind of help that involves honest answers, straightforward advice, no pressure and being treated like family, please let me know the best way for me to connect with them because I’d like to offer them this kind of help. And as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or comments about this post! Thanks for reading.

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