It’s hard to know when to sell your home. Many British Columbia residents are looking for new and affordable options for living space because of high prices in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and Kelowna has become one of the most popular destinations for buyers — especially young couples.
The number of days homes will remain on the market in the Okanagan is expected to go up in 2019 due to market correction. But despite doom and gloom news reports, housing prices are forecasted to remain competitive, with experts predicting as little as a 3 percent drop
Another consideration for Kelowna homeowners is the new rules on mortgages put in place by the government in 2018. Homeowners must qualify for a rate that is two percent higher than that of the posted or five-year rate.
This means that many aspiring homeowners might not be able to afford the homes they could have afforded before the shift. Foreign buyer tax increase combined with speculation tax has also introduced some uncertainty. And sellers have to contend with an increasing number of new listings that will likely be introduced as we enter the summer months.
These factors, coupled with the already difficult decision to put your home on the market, are enough to make anyone wonder whether it’s the right time to sell.
So, what does this mean for homeowners? At the end of the day, your personal situation is more significant to consider than the market itself.
Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President at RE/MAX of Western Canada, is aware that homeowners might be nervous when deciding whether to sell their homes in 2019.
“The most important thing to consider when deciding to sell is your lifestyle choice,” Ash notes. “The decision to move should never be based on hype and market price.”
In additional to personal finances, lifestyle factors that impact the decision to sell include changes in family, such as welcoming new children or sending teenagers off to university, and changes in needs, such as an expanding career. For this reason, a changing market shouldn’t be a homeowner’s only motivation to sell.
“Real estate is a long-term investment. It should never be viewed as quick return,” Ash explains. “You’re buying a house that becomes your home that you raise your family or enjoy your life in.”
According to Ash, there are three important factors to consider when selling a home: personal timing, preparation of the property and choice of Realtor.
In addition to taking stock of any major lifestyle choices, he recommends that homeowners ensure their house is ready to show (all landscaping and renovations are completed, for instance) and that they interview at least three real estate agents before going forward to determine whether they’ve chosen the right fit for them.
“What you’re looking for is someone who you feel [is] going to give you the advice and direction that you need in selling your home,” Ash says. “You’re hiring someone to fulfill a position — that’s really the best way to look at it.”
For those who are looking for an extra hand, Ash recommends using free online tools to make it easier for homeowners to explore the possibility of selling.
One example is RE/MAX’s Home Estimate Tool. This online tool allows homeowners to assess the value of their property quickly and easily. The tool takes your address and evaluates it based on past home price trends, recently sold comparable homes and tax assessments in the neighbourhood.
The information homeowners gain from the tool will determine the value of the property along with the estimated value of other homes in their neighbourhood. It also offers additional data on your home, such as its distance from schools and walkability scores. Given that most buyers in Kelowna are young families, this information can prove invaluable.
“We as an organization feel very strongly that we should be empowering the customer,” Ash says. “We want to provide as much information as we can. We’re in the do-it-yourself society, and it’s all about empowerment and knowledge.”
If you’re wondering whether you should stay or sell, or have burning questions about the state of the housing market in Kelowna, feel free to give us a call any time on 250-862-7675 – we would be happy to help!
Tamara & Shannon Stone