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Best San Francisco Real Estate Advice: Should You Wait to Sell or Not?

Best San Francisco Real Estate Advice: Should You Wait to Sell or Not?

by Cynthia Cummins

Reading time: 2 minutes

Cynthia is owner and founder of Kindred SF Homes and a top San Francisco Realtor. Check out RealEstateTherapy.org for refreshing reflections on the meaning of home and for more “best real estate advice” (since 2013).

Today I’m sharing my answers to the questions on a lot of homeowners’ minds right now.

1. Why is now a great time to sell a home? Who should be thinking about that right now and why?

Compared with the rest of the world, the San Francisco residential real estate market is and always has been weighted in favor of sellers. With only a 7-by-7-mile chunk of dirt available, inventory is perpetually limited and that means it’s almost always a good time to own or sell.

2. Why would it be a better idea to wait out the coronavirus and the market until later this year or next year to sell a home? For whom would this strategy be better and why? 

If you don’t have a clear idea of where you’re going or why, or if you don’t have a well-thought-out financial plan, it’s wise to get your proverbial ducks in a row before making your move. There’s no bottom-falling-out crisis at hand – at least not yet. So no need to rush. No need to wait, either.

3. What is the risk that prices will decrease later this year or into next year? How should that factor into one’s decision on if/when to sell?

Today it looks like we’re holding steady. There’s a lot of pent-up buyer demand (supported by record-low interest rates) and we’re seeing strong prices on post-SIP closings. But if there’s going to be a change, the odds are it’ll be a negative one rather than positive. If you’ve owned your property a long time, you’ve likely gained a lot of equity over the last years or decades. So, even if things go south, you’ve got some cushion. But add an earthquake or another fire season to the pandemic and things could get a lot worse.

4. To what extent can/should the pandemic impact a prospective seller’s decision here? If the pandemic never happened, would you be more inclined to recommend that they sell now? 

Did I mention earthquakes, fires and other natural or manmade disasters? Given that a big surprise could be lurking right around the next corner, now is always the best time to sell. Especially if you’re motivated to move on to a new place or another phase in your life. No time like the present.

5. What else should prospective sellers consider carefully and even avoid? 

There’s so much confusion right now, and every situation is different. Circumstance might dictate that Jean and Joan sell now, whereas Jeff and Mary should wait. (Jean and Jeff are downsizing and already bought a condo in Sonoma. Jeff and Mary are moving up to Tehama County and could benefit from broader property tax reciprocity relief; they’re waiting to see if it passes the ballot in November.) A trusted agent’s guidance is critical if you want to make the most of your most precious asset – your home! I’m available 25/8 for a phone call, zoom call, or email session. I can even do a curbside “drive-in” conference so long as we follow SIP protocol!

Photo Credit: Anthony Delanoix

This post originally appeared at RealEstateTherapy.org.

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