Should I wait a year to sell my house to get a better price?

Red home for sale sign on lawn

Q. With housing prices low, and a commitment to close on a new house in three months, should we rent our current home and wait a year or so to sell at a higher price?

A. Probably not.

We know homes appreciated like crazy for more than a decade. The median sales price -- that's the price for which half the homes sold for more and half for less -- rose more than 110% over the past 11 years and by more than 25% just since 2003.

But over the past year prices have leveled out. The National Association of Realtors say the median sales price for an existing home was $227,500 in the second quarter (the prime selling months of April, May and June).

Monthly figures show median prices reached $230,000 in July before declining to $225,000 in August, putting the median price for the first two months of this quarter right around $227,500 as well.

That's only $100 less than the quarterly record reached last summer of $227,600.

NAR projects home prices will increase only 2.8% this year and 2.2% in 2007. So even if you wait a year to sell your home, you shouldn't expect to sell it for a lot more than you can right now.

Finally, renting a house can be a lot more work and trouble than you think. Before taking the plunge, please consider all of the potential costs.

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