By Rachel Hemmingson

Weirdly, there is a whole lot of real estate activity right now and we don’t see it slowing any time soon. What does the timing of this unusual situation mean?

For many buyers, the driving force is historically low interest rates. These low rates mean that for the same investment of money – 20 percent down on a purchase – one can buy a house worth about $100,000 more than what they could afford a year ago. First-time buyers and “move up” buyers want to take advantage of this.

The “move up” buyers are often those who’s families have expanded and/or are now working from home and need more space, not to mention space for children to be home-schooled.

Other buyers out there are your peers; older adult homeowners. They’ve been living alone in a house much larger than they can really use. Maybe they’ve held on because they could still host family gatherings but that is not happening now so space sits unused.

Maybe they want to be closer to their family members or live with them to reduce everyone’s overhead. The thing is, many older homeowners are on the move.

Right now there are more buyers than houses for sale, so houses sell fast. If your house is priced right for its condition and location, you will likely have an offer within a week, for full price or better. That makes this is a great time to be a seller.

It can also be scary because finding and buying your new home may not happen that fast.

Terms may include things like how much time you need to downsize and move and how much time you’re willing to give the seller of your new house to do the same. Happily, it’s often a good thing for everyone to slow down.

As a buyer you may be concerned about the need to purchase quickly when competing for a house. However, there are more “move up” buyers looking for larger homes than downsizers.

Those buyers don’t mind your stairs and big yard is a positive, not additional space that needs upkeep as it may have become for you.

You may need to go to the outskirts of the Portland area, but you can find single level homes,  and if you have substantial proceeds from selling, your cash gives you an advantage as a buyer.

If you’re daunted by questions of how to manage the sequence of all this, know that this is doable. You’ll want to speak with a real estate professional who has a good connection with a loan officer and understands your needs as an older client. You’ll want a backup plan.

In the past, fall was not seen as ideal as spring for selling a house. The spring selling season everyone has come to believe in, however, has been usurped by other forces. Those who wait until spring will add a few more houses to the marketplace for buyers to consider and not likely affect pricing.

The other thing about next spring is…who knows? So much has been unpredictable we’ve learned to not think we can predict the future so well. If a winter alone in your current house sounds like just what you do not want now is actually a very good time to take action.