Sell Now (at a Loss), to Buy a Screaming Bargain?

by Merrill Moss on January 10, 2011

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Sell Now (at a Loss), to Buy a Screaming Bargain?

William Shakespeare himself addresses this timely question with a couple of enduring lines from his play, Julius Caesar (Act 4, Scene 3):

In the script, protagonist Marcus Brutus famously says, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

As usual, he nailed it. So presuming you are in a position that would permit it, in most cases I’d recommend giving serious consideration to selling your home if you have your eye on a better oneā€”even if it means selling at a loss, especially if the replacement home would offer a better lifestyle fit.

There are so many reasons why, but here are the three pivotal ones.

First, you could end up waiting a really, really long time to be able to sell your home at the price you have in mind (and may have been able to obtain in the past). I know no one who seriously predicts a fast turnaround for today’s depressed real estate market. Many forecasts are that it could take half a decade for prices to return to high-water mark in the market of 2006.

Second, if you wait to be able to sell your home at a better price, you’ll inevitably pay a proportionately greater price for the replacement home, washing out any advantage you’re trying to obtain by waiting to sell for a higher price.

Third, you could end up wasting of lot of time in an open-ended wait to get what you want, and in some circumstances you may find that you have “lost your ventures,” to echo The Bard.

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