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Afraid of Selling Your Home Too Soon?

If you sold your home at a good price, you’d be thrilled, right? But what if, a year or two later, you check in on your old home by idly punching your former address into realtor.com ... and discover that its value has shot up even higher? In other words, had you only held onto this property a little longer, you could have made a real killing?

Welcome to home seller's remorse—a rampant affliction among home sellers across the country. It can hit at any point after a home sale, where, akin to tossing a winning lottery ticket, home sellers torture themselves with fears that they've sold their home too soon, thus losing out on tens of thousands of dollars. Home seller's remorse can even kick in before a sale, stressing out homeowners who are thinking of selling but are worrying that they could be pulling the trigger too early ... and missing out on the windfall their home could become. Sound painfully familiar? In the strong seller's market we have now, where prices are rising across the country, it's understandable.

Yet real estate experts insist that home sellers should stop second-guessing themselves and make peace with when they sell, and for how much. Here are some reasons you should never worry whether you're selling your home too soon.

Reason 1: Just as with stocks, you can't time the housing market

Have you ever heard how you can't time the stock market? Pretty much the same thing goes for selling a house. Clairvoyant powers or a fully functional Magic-8 ball would be needed to know exactly what home prices will do next; even economists and real estate agents wouldn't dare make predictions with any level of certainty. So as a home seller, you shouldn't beat yourself up; hindsight, as they always say, is 20/20.

To snap yourself out of this mindset, remind yourself that home prices could also drop—in which case you will be thanking your lucky stars that you sold when you did. Or, if home prices do indeed rise a year or two later, it can help to take a step back and consider the long-term perspective.

Reason 2: If you wait, the price of homes you're buying could rise, too

It also helps to see the trade-offs. At the same time, the prices of homes you are buying would rise, too. So it's a wash.

Reason 3: Odds are, you sell when you have to

Last but not least, homes aren't abstract, tradable commodities like stocks, where the only thing that matters is the stock's price. Homes are homes, and as such, have to fit your life circumstances—meaning that they need to be large enough to raise your family, to offer a convenient commute to your office, to be situated in a good school district, and more. So if you've changed jobs, or are expecting a new family member, or your eldest just got accepted to the top magnet school across town, then the question of when to sell your home may not truly be an option. You really can't wait!

So you can stop worrying and torturing yourself. Trust that, in the long run, you'll sell at just the right time.

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