Exactly when is the perfect time to buy or sell a home?  If you’re a buyer should you look at properties on the market today or wait until more homes hit the market after the winter thaw?  If you’re a seller, do you list today or do you wait until there are more buyers in the market?  Waiting is understandable, buying and selling downtown Chicago real estate deserves serious consideration.  It’s not exactly on the same plane as wondering whether to catch the Bulls or Blackhawks tonight.  I get that.  So let’s look at a couple of things that might sway you.

The latest Case Shiller Home Price Index for Chicago indicated an increase in year over year prices for the first time in six years.  That’s great for sellers, especially as the real estate market heads into spring.  But if you’re a seller who’s also going to buy up or downsize, then be prepared for slightly higher prices compared to today.

Buyers can expect to see higher prices if current trends continue and while that means more expensive homes.  Overall, a recovering real estate market lifts all economic boats.  Rising home prices are a good thing, not a bad thing. But waiting can mean you’ll pay more for the same property.

Here’s another consideration and it affects both buyers as well as sellers: interest rates.  When interest rates are low it allows you to borrow more which also means you can buy more.  If rates move up by one percent, it decreases your buying power by about 10 percent.  And for sellers, as rates increase it reduces the available pool of buyers; higher payments keep more people from qualifying for your property.

These are just two considerations but they’re big ones.  Should you wait to buy or sell?  There’s no single answer.  But waiting without exploring your options today might not be the best move.  Find out what you can do right now.  Let’s see what today’s market has in store for you!