We were recently referred to a young couple. Both had good jobs....and had just started a family and wanted to move to a larger home and continue growing their family. We went through each room of the home discussing staging, removing furniture, reducing clutter. Yes, they knew the housing market wasn't what it was and this was the perfect time to move a little further west and replace their cute first time home with a little room to roam and some of the ammenities they wanted...a fireplace, larger garage, more storage space. They bought the house at the height of the market. Later research shows...they also paid the most of any buyer for comparables homes that year. They had finished some of the lower level...maintained, painted, polished hardwood floors and updated the bathroom. Their house was "market ready to sell."
Then......they KNEW what their improvements were worth...more than any home had sold for in recent history. "The market can't have changed that much in a year or a year and a half....my friend paid more......" The market can't have changed ? Yes ...it could and did. unhappily, many first time buyers, now ready for their second home did the best thing they could do at the time...make a real estate investment they could afford while making improvements and saving money.
You don't always win on the sale end.....but the same "bargains" are on the upside...the side you are moving to ...UP...larger...bigger yard, more features....No one can expect to win on both ends...selling and buying...
"Welll....maybe we should wait till we have more equity." That is after all, all part of what some people have learned in today's real estate market....waiting doesn't necessarily build equity. More short sales and foreclosures that as they close, become comparables WILL and DO influence the value of your home. If more homes come on the market for whatever reason...job loss...."pick a payment" option arms....more inventory more competition...get less of a price....competition may improve the quality of the product/home/staging/condition....not the bottom line.