The math says homeowners in suburbs like Westchester County have all the leverage and they might earn a small fortune if they sold their home now. But some people haven’t had time to figure out where they’d go if they sold.
Fortune favors the bold.
Timing the market perfectly and selling your house is bold, especially if selling your house isn’t even on your radar yet.
That’s something that requires a lot of planning for most people. Perhaps not coincidentally, people sell their home about as often as a life-changing event like a marriage, or having children, or retiring, or getting divorced.
If none of those things is happening to you right now, you won’t likely be prompted to pack up your life and sell your home. So, yes, it’s absolutely BOLD if the only thing that is prompting you to sell right now is rock-solid data that says there’s never been a better time to sell your home than right this second.
There isn’t a whole lot to debate. In places like Westchester County New York, and other suburbs that surround New York City, prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic.
The average price of a single-family home in Westchester County in the first quarter of 2020 was $790,691. In the first quarter of 2021, the average was $901,382, a 14% increase.
Demand is higher in 2021 but supply is extremely limited, a combination that gives all the leverage to anyone who decides to list their home right now. In the 1st quarter of last year, 2054 single-family homes were listed for sale in Westchester County. That number dropped to 1,229 in the 1st quarter 2021. In spite of the dearth of properties on the market, sales jumped from 1,063 in the 1st quarter of last year to 1,528 in the 1st quarter that just passed.
About two weeks ago, a friend of the Espinal|Adler team bid on a house in Somers, NY in Westchester County. He was one of nine bidders on the first day the house went to market, and every offer was over the asking price. That story isn’t an anomaly.
Everybody is always wishing they could “time the market perfectly.” Typically, the window for doing that is the size of a peephole. If you’re not a genius, you might miss it. But this window is huge, and it has a neon light on it. But don’t get cocky, because it won’t be around forever. That Q1 median sales price was lower than the last quarter in 2020.
There are different levels of bold.
If you’ve got kids that have made it all the way through Zoom School and are finally getting back to the classroom, selling your home right now is the maximum level of bold. Even though maximizing the return on what might be your most valuable asset could have a positive impact on your family’s long term financial future, you’d be wise to consider whether or not there’s been enough adjusting during the past year already.
In conversations with people who’ve considered selling their home in this market, a commonly asked question, especially amongst homeowners with children who are settled into a school district was something along the lines of, “Am I supposed to sell my house for a massive profit and then turn around and buy another overinflated house?”
Certainly, that’s not a perfect plan. But there are several sets of circumstances that lend themselves to selling, assuming the homeowner can willingly separate logic from emotion.
A Sampling of Post-Sale Possibilities
- Rent for a year. Maybe you don’t have any kids. What’s a little more adjusting in a year of adjustments. You want to make a smart move, but you’ve got ties to the area and you want to remain close by. Sure, rents are higher too, and the supply is short in that category as well, but after you’ve sold, you’ll be able to afford a nice place, where you can wait out the market and still come out ahead.
- Downsize. A couple of years ago, you owed $500,000 on your mortgage and the house was worth $750,000. This year it’s worth $920,000. If you don’t need as much space as you used to, you have a real opportunity to reduce your living costs and to put some extra money into reserve.
- Upgrade. You believe you can afford a higher monthly payment, but previously you didn’t have enough liquid assets to buy a new home at a higher price point. If that’s what held you back before, the liquid assets you’ve been looking for would become available upon the sale of your current home.
- Early Retirement. Maybe you planned to retire in 4 or 5 years. You want to pump up that retirement account a little more before you enjoy a more leisurely life. The value of your home just skyrocketed. Can all that extra cash buy you a head start on your retirement?
- Already Retired. If you’re already retired and you’re living in the house you’ve owned for 15+ years, and you’re ready for an exciting new change. Maybe you want to build a house near the water somewhere. Seize the day.
- Relo. Didn’t everyone work from home last year? At least it seems that way. If employees can be productive from home and employers can save money by leasing a lot less office space, it stands to reason that a whole lot of people now have the option to live anywhere in the world that they choose. You could sell at today’s lofty prices and buy somewhere else. Somewhere that’s beautiful, but far less expensive.
The Espinal|Adler Team has for many years been one of the top real estate teams in New York City. Our full-service team has long had a presence in Westchester County and has been servicing buyers and sellers there for the last two years, matching our New York City clients with their ideal new home in the suburbs.