Real Estate

How Soon Can You Sell a House After Buying It?

By Tom Burchnell

Whether you plan to stay in your home for a lifetime or flip it quickly, there’s no minimum amount of time you need to own it before reselling. Once you close on a house, you can do what you like—so long as it doesn’t violate the contract you have with a mortgage lender. 

The question isn’t necessarily how long you have to hold onto property, but rather how soon can you sell a house after buying it without losing money? 

Let’s take a look at common situations and recommendations to keep your investment in real estate working for you. 

Why Sell a House Quickly After Buying It?

Buying and selling a home are both time-intensive experiences that often take months to prepare for. Immediately switching hats from home buyer to home seller is possible—but it will likely require some work and some calculations to avoid losing money.

That said, there are some situations where selling your new home may be more beneficial than staying where you are. New homeowners may be faced with a quick sale for several reasons: 

  • Business-related relocation with profit potential that outweighs a quick sale loss
  • Financial struggles such as job loss or medical expenses
  • Selling property before divorce settlement or other family changes
  • An unsolicited high offer from a potential buyer

How Soon Can You Sell a House After Buying It Without Losing Money?

To calculate whether you’ll lose money or make a profit, there are four figures to keep in mind: 

  1. Sale price of the home – To avoid losing money, you’ll want to ensure you don’t have to sell your home for less than you paid for it.
  1. Buyer’s closing costs – For a buyer, closing costs range from 2% to 6% of the sale price, with an average of 3%.1
  1. Seller’s closing costs — When you shift from a home buyer to a home seller, plan to pay an average of 8% to 10% of the sale price for closing costs—a higher rate for sellers, since they cover both the seller’s and buyer’s real estate agent commissions.2
  1. Appreciation in home value – Start with an online valuation calculator and then get a competitive housing market analysis from a real estate agent for your current home’s market value. To help us compare the recommended rules around how long to wait before selling, we’ll calculate examples below using average appreciation. Based on data from March 1992 to June 2022, homes appreciate at an average rate of 5.3% annually.3

The Two-Year Rule

There are two classic guidelines for timing a home sale in relation to financial impact. The first is the two-year-minimum rule, and it’s about preventing loss. Selling a house in less than two years is likely to cost you more money overall.2 

Let’s run through an example of a home purchased for $280,000 and then sold after two years. 

Based on the metrics we included above, the homeowner’s costs might include: 

  • $280,000 sale price, plus
  • $8,400 buyer’s closing costs, then 
  • $27,942 seller’s closing costs two years later. 

After two years of appreciation, the $280,000 home sells for $310,467. The homeowner has paid out $316,342 total, which means they’ll experience an overall loss of $5,875. 

In this case, the two-year rule would only help you save money if: 

  • The homeowner added upgrades or improvements to up the sale price 
  • The home appreciated at a higher-than-average rate
  • The homeowner shopped around to reduce each set of closing costs

The Five-Year Rule

Five years is the rule of thumb to make a profit on your home sale. This is because you’ll have lived there long enough for the increase in home value to pay for home buying and selling costs plus extra dollars.2

Let’s start with the same $280,000 house example: 

The homeowner’s costs include: 

  • $280,000 sale price, plus
  • $8,400 buyer’s closing costs, then 
  • $32,624 seller’s closing costs five years later. 

After five years of appreciation, the $280,000 home sells for $362,493. The homeowner has paid out $321,024 total, which means they’ll make a profit of $41,469.

Drawbacks of Selling a House Too Soon

In addition to lost money and lost profit opportunity, selling early can have other drawbacks. These may include:2

  • Capital gains taxes up to 20% if you live in the home less than two years 
  • The time, work, and cost of moving multiple times
  • Potential buyers and real estate agents see a red flag on the house resold so soon

If you’re considering selling your home early out of necessity, rather than the desire to move, it may be a good idea to consider other options—like a sale-leaseback program that enables you to stay in your home while converting your equity to cash.

Sell Your Newly Purchased House With Easyknock

Intentionally flipping a house can be a profit opportunity, but if you’re faced with a fast sale because your financial situation has changed, finding a new place to rest your head may be the last thing you want to do. 

If you’d like to learn how to sell a house while living in it, EasyKnock provides solutions for homeowners to explore. Our clients range from sellers who need time to evaluate a potential move and buy their next home without a sale contingency, to those who prefer to stay permanently in their family home while converting their full home equity. With us, you can sell your house and rent it back for as long as you’d like.

If walking away from your property after a sale seems like the only way to convert your home’s value, we can help. Whether you need to sell your house to pay off debt or other expected life expenses, contact EasyKnock today. 

Key Takeaways

While there is no rule to how soon you can sell your house after buying it, whether you should depends on your circumstance. Contact EasyKnock today to see if your situation would be a good fit for our sale-leaseback program.

Sources: 

  1. The Balance. How Much Are Closing Costs for the Buyer? https://www.thebalancemoney.com/buyer-s-closing-costs-1798422
  2. Home Bay. How Soon Can You Sell a House After Buying It? Learn What Experts Recommend. https://homebay.com/how-soon-can-you-sell-house-after-buying/
  3. CEIC Data. United States House Prices Growth. https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/united-states/house-prices-growth
Topics:
Sell & Stay
Selling
Tom Burchnell Director of Product Marketing for EasyKnock, licensed real estate agent.

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process.