Hey, have you heard that the real estate market is going to tank? I’ve heard that from a bunch of different people – who don’t have any factual data they can point to, but they’re speculating based on the huge spikes in unemployment and all that. In real estate, there’s a thing called “panic selling” where you induce people to get them to sell their home because property values are about to drop. Historically, panic selling involved telling white property owners that minorities were moving into the neighborhood and they’d better sell quick, before prices dropped – but the principle applies to any inducement to sell claiming an imminent drop in prices. Now, I haven’t seen any Realtors trying this tactic, at least not publicly – but I am sure that this is a conversation that this is a conversation many sales agents are having with their clients, and I’m sure there’s no shortage of agents counseling their clients it’s better to sell sooner, rather than later.
My take is this: sell when you’re good and ready. Yes, prices may drop 10-20-30% or more – who knows? But after so many years of this, I have noticed that few people are able to time the sale of their home with any degree of precision. So don’t worry about it. Sell when you’re ready. If prices have dropped, it’s quite likely that other asset prices (houses, stocks, whatever) will have also dropped correspondingly, so whatever you plan to move that money into will also be correspondingly less expensive. So sell when you’re ready and make sure that whatever you invest in next has good upside potential.