Real Estate Debate Part 2: Sell Now or Wait

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A few days ago we looked at reasons for buying now or waiting. From taking full advantage of low interest rates or waiting for more inventory to hit the market. It gets down to what you feel is your best option. Today, we received a pretty aggressive offer on one of our listings. People are still making moves, no doubt about that.

Today, though, we will talk about the reasons for selling now vs selling later. Every person’s circumstances are so different, that making a blanket statement as to what you should do, does no-one any justice. So, instead, I will provide my opinions for reasons why someone could sell now or later and be justified.

Selling Now

Inventory Artificially Low

As discussed in the last blog there was a 100% increase in the amount of properties withdrawn from the Fort Collins market during the time period of 3/12 to 4/9 compared to 2/12-3/12. These properties would be on the market currently had they not been withdrawn, increasing our current inventory levels. We are actually right on line with inventory from 2019, which suggests we would actually be quite a bit higher had these withdrawn properties stayed on the market.

There were 15 homes that went under contract in the last 24 hours. Imagine that, these are homes that either were viewed prior to the lockdown, or just home owners STILL willing to make moves in the Fort Collins market without ever seeing the property potentially.

Prices are Stable

With the inventory levels being so low, activity still occurring and interest rates so low, prices have stayed strong, even increased maybe?

In the last 7 days, there have been 31 detached single family homes sold in Fort Collins. Not adjusting for any other parameters, of those 31, 10 sold for ABOVE asking price, 9 sold for below and 11 sold at list price. The median sales price was $470,000. Wow.

March 26th, 2020 is the day that Fort Collins got the stay at home orders. We are at about 20 days in, which means the homes that sold over the last week were more than likely already under contract when those stay at home orders came. When we COULD see some price adjustments due to COVID-19, won’t come until about the 2nd week of May, I would GUESS.

If you wanted to sell and were unclear of the future and didn’t want to make that bet, you could at least leverage the current prices when pricing your home.

Interest Rates are Low

Who wouldn’t want to lock up a mortgage right now? If you have a stable job, a good hefty down payment and good reserves, there have been very few better times when money has been this affordable. If you’re a seller, you could harness that information and know that there ARE buyers out there that are hungry to secure that 30-year fixed mortgage at 3.25%. Your house could be the house they want to lock up.

Lender Standards

I can tell you this. Lenders are NOT giving away loans. In fact, if you are deciding to buy, get ready to jump through hoops for the next 30-45 days. HOWEVER long your closing is, be prepared to supply your lender information up to that day. They are so worried about the job market right now, they want to MAKE SURE that you are employed on the day of closing. They may even ask you sign a document that states you are sure you’re going to have a job for the next 90-days.

As for how this impacts a seller. Stricter buyer standards = less buyers can qualify to buy = less potential buyers for your home. I believe these lenders have already overcorrected as to their standards, so suggesting to take advantage of approved buyers today, could be incorrect as they may relax their standards if this starts to smooth over. If it doesn’t, don’t expect lender’s standards to relax any time soon.

Sell Later

More Buyers

With homes going off the market, there are sure buyers on the market “withdrawing” their activities. There could be many reasons for this, but that is besides the point, it is happening, buyer’s pausing. So if you wanted to wait to sell later in hopes that these buyers come out of the LONG winter hibernation, that could provide you more buyers.

Bringing more buyers is both theoretical and physical. I say physical, because agents are unable to show their buyer’s homes right now per new standards set by the Department of Regulatory Agencies. Less buyers through your home = less of a chance of that bad boy selling.

Avoid the Sharks

Are you on the market right now? Get ready for the sharks to start swimming. What I mean by that is there are opportunistic buyers out there that believe that some sellers are selling due to circumstance. You as a seller and your agent sure isn’t going to let anyone know that. Why? Because even though you might be listed at $425,000, due to your circumstances you’d probably take $370,000. The only way to find that out? To put a contract offer on your house.

Although I feel investors are more or less sitting on the side lines waiting for the dust to clear a bit more, there are investors and opportunists out there that are starting their hunt early. If you want to avoid this, you could wait to see what happens to the market and if it remains strong, put your house on then and potentially avoid those low ball, shark offers.


As with buying later, I believe the biggest point of selling later will be the clarity that time brings you. If you are in a position of selling and then wanting to buy again, the level of uncertainting is compounding. Waiting to see what interest rates do, prices, inventory, the economy in general does, could bring you clarity and more certainty to your decision on selling and then buying.

The days are interesting right now and every state is handling the situation differently and nothing is clear at this point. Does the stay at home order get extended? When do we open up the economy again? Do houses sell like they were? The list of questions could go on for pages and pages. Selling later could decrease the amount of unanswered questions for you.

So that ends our 2-part series on buying now vs later and selling now vs later. Again, I don’t think suggesting one over the other is better, but rather give you the tools in your belt to make the right decisions for you and your family given your unique circumstances.

Overall, the real estate market is acting rather normally, besides not being able to show property. We are still way too early in the game to understand the economies impact on the real estate market, but it will decide how it wants to respond in the near future.

Good luck on your decision and we would love to be a resource if you would like to discuss further your options!

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