Q: I’m thinking of selling my home, but worried that this isn’t a good time of year- should I wait?

This year, I’m getting this question even more than usual. My response is based on current and projected market conditions. In the past several years, I often encouraged my clients to wait to sell in the spring. This year is a little different. While our “Silicon Beach” area homes are still benefitting from record sales prices, we have already seen a slowdown in the real estate market.  It has been more pronounced outside of our immediate area, but it is here.  There has been less buyer activity, more homes for sale and more rentals on the market. The majority of economists have predicted this slowdown, and that we are moving toward a recession, expected in 2019- 2020.  Therefore, my current advice to potential Sellers is- if you think you may need or want to sell in the next few years, don’t wait. If you aren’t sure, and you are able to hold out for several years if the market takes a hit, then you don’t need to panic.

Encouraging for those trying to take advantage of the premium sales prices we’ve been getting, and worried that those days are already passed- you are just in time for a little upswing due to the elections being behind us. We are getting more calls from buyers and renters alike, who were waiting for at least some perceived certainty.  The election brought good news for homeowners when Proposition 10 was defeated! The uncertainty of new rent control provisions being applied to single family homes and condominiums was putting off buyers concerned that over-regulation of their ability to rent would translate to a direct loss in property value.

Contrary to popular belief, people buy homes year round!  The holiday season is one that inspires people to create a home to celebrate in with their family, and many really want to be in their new home in time to entertain and make holiday memories, or to start a fresh year. Adding some tasteful holiday cheer and twinkling lights is a great opportunity to convey the beauty and warmth of your home at its best. An experienced real estate broker can advise you on what décor items add that special touch and which items might be too much.

For my Sellers, the end of the year is often a desirable time to close a chapter, with people excited to move to their own new locations, closer to family, down-sizing, up-sizing, traveling, time off from work to make a move, and/or financial freedom for the holiday and new year.  Many people are choosing to simply sell before the anticipated recession and have cash in hand for their next buying opportunity. Whatever your reason, you haven’t missed out yet. I hope spring sellers are not disappointed by lower prices, and that we continue to have the stability that we’ve finally just grown used to again.  However, the future is always uncertain, and we know that todays’ values are a gift in hand.

I also want to take a moment to recognize all of the property owners throughout California who have suffered terrible losses from these devastating wildfires. Our close neighbors in Malibu, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village are suffering, and we all have friends and colleagues who no longer have a home to celebrate the holidays. Some are displaced temporarily, others without a home to return to. Some were in process of selling or buying a home, dreams burned to the ground.  Of course, devastating as the property loss is, it is nothing compared to the loss of life.  While Southern California has been lucky enough to have few human fatalities, the number of fatalities in Northern California is heartbreaking. This is a reminder to never take for granted our beautiful neighborhoods and California lifestyle, and to reach out to our suffering neighbors. The American Red Cross and the Humane Society are both great organizations, on the ground now in these areas, providing assistance with the overwhelming needs of people and animals in need. Please consider donating or volunteering to help our neighbors. Through the end of the year, a percentage of all of my sales will go to victims of these tragic wildfires. #RealEstateWithHeart

ABOUT LISA PHILLIPS, ESQ./ CA Bureau of Real Estate Lic# 01189413

Lisa Phillips is an active Realtor in the Los Angeles area, with more than twenty years as a practicing real estate broker and attorney. Lisa is also a member of the National Association of Realtors “Green Resource Council”, and achieved its “GREEN” Designation. Her unparalleled knowledge of real estate, from local markets and pricing to legal issues and deal-making, has made her a trusted and valuable asset to her clients. In addition to her real estate and business savvy, Lisa is passionate about helping others, and works tirelessly to achieve the best results for her clients. For more information or to submit a question for an upcoming column, please visit www.LisaPhillipsRealEstate.com or email [email protected]