San Jose Mercury News Q&A: When is the Best Time to Move Up or Down? (In a Hot Market or Cooler Market?)

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: We want to move to a larger home, but the prices have dropped in our neighborhood. I think we should make our move, my husband thinks we should wait. Who is right?


A: If prices are soft in your neighborhoods, you’re not alone, As a rule, savvy licensees know that cooler markets are the best time to buy up or down. When the inventory is at its highest, sellers and their agents tend to be polite and earnest. For example, they often will have the home in better condition to be competitive and they’re willing to listen. Sometimes they will agree to an offer contingent upon the sale and close of your current residence. However, you’d need an agent capable of presenting a contingent-sale offer. With the high turnover in our industry, though, many agents don’t have the skill and experience required to orchestrate buying and selling simultaneously.

Lacking a contingent sale, there are still many methods available to take advantage of this excellent move up or down market. Don’t let your husband wait for a frustrating hot market of limited inventory, with buyers competing over homes with deferred maintenance and sellers’ agents who don’t return phone calls.

Market Wise Column 3-1-08

by Pat Kapowich. E-mail questions to him at