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Is Now the Time to Buy or Sell?

Per Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Interest rates are at historically low rates. That’s the silver lining to the historic pandemic and resulting ongoing financial uncertainty.

If you are lucky enough to have a desk job and can work remotely, you may find that your employer is evaluating and changing where you can work, even post pandemic. Heck, there’s even a little discussion going on about moving to 4 day work weeks. One can only hope.

Now may be the perfect time to downsize or upsize. Either choice will require a move, so be prepared for the effort and exposure to find, sell/buy and then move.

If you’ve lost your job, and are struggling financially, you may want to sell sooner rather than later to avoid a credit-damaging foreclosure. If you are switching to renting under these conditions, you will want to find a new home quickly while your credit worthiness is at its best.

Be prepared for tougher financial checks from lenders and potential landlords. With unexpected defaults on rent and mortgage payments, many institutions are tightening up their requirements and are doing more due diligence. In many places, rental homes are churning, and some are offering even better deals than normal.

Many families require two incomes to cover their finances, and their biggest check is the home cost. Now might be a great time to figure out if moving gives you the ability to lessen that risk by choosing a place and lifestyle that requires only one income. It’s a conservative posture in these uncertain times, and worth considering.

Home prices are in flux. Between the folks who have lost jobs, are finding new jobs in different places, folks fleeing urban environments, and the current scarcity of available homes in many markets, it’s difficult to judge whether buying or selling a home now is a smart financial move.

So perhaps the best thing we can say is that beyond the cut and dried financial facts, the choice of buying and selling is also a lifestyle choice, and your lifestyle choices may be evolving based upon your work requirements and the new normal thanks to the pandemic. Were you happy during the initial pandemic onset? Would you be as happy riding out the potential second wave in your current home?