When is the best time to sell my apartment?


Dear Ian,

Can you please help? I am wondering when the best time is to sell my apartment in today’s down market? I have put a downpayment on a new apartment and wonder when I should sell my current apartment so that I can maximize my returns.

Maximising Returns

Dear Max,

There is one thing that strategic thinking can’t do for you – time the market. If you want to know the best time for anything, then it should be right now. As Confucius said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” Trying to hit the best time for anything would be akin to planning for a baby; you will almost always get it wrong! So let’s apply some strategic thinking onto your situation instead.


What is your intent here? Why do you need to sell your current apartment? Is it because you need the proceeds to complete your purchase? If that is the case, then you should get going right now! You certainly don’t want to be left with no cash to complete the transaction and then forfeit the whole deal, right? So, the first, and most important thing you need to do is to identify your real intent. Use the five why’s to get there, if you need.

More on the 5 Why’s: http://www.strategyinnovationgrowth.com/#!The-Five-Whys-it-is-still-the-best-tool-to-identify-strategic-intent/cnsk/535C22A4-F64F-4F20-807F-B7EC3297F344

Thinking in time

It is interesting to see how you have previously dealt with timing the market for investments. If you have a good knack for making a profit on the market through timing, then you can then use your own competencies to make the sale. But if you have not had any experience in timing the market, the easiest is to just go for it, and then don’t look back.


In deciding what to do with your current apartment, you need to work out your constraints. A constraint is not a limiting factor but actually a necessary condition for the success of your decision. For example, many people view a budget constraint as a limiting factor (I don’t have enough money), but if we looked at it as a necessary condition, then it means that your solution needs to be within the budget that you have. If the solution is too expensive, you would have to find a new one. Identifying your constraints will help you frame your decision better, and from there, make the right one.

Intellectual opportunism

In finding the right decision, we need good options. This requires us to reframe the current situation, looking at it in different perspectives. In applying the reframing process,

See: 7 perspectives to see your situation differently (http://www.strategyinnovationgrowth.com/#!7-perspectives-to-see-your-situation-differently/cnsk/06B2D9AD-CA50-403C-835A-D046F71C2E1E )

you might be able to see new and different ways to meet your intent. You could rent out your current apartment to make the instalment payments, coming up with the balance payment through other creative means; or you could share the burden of the new apartment with someone else. There may be other ways to meet your needs if you think about it.

Balancing options with constraints

By balancing your options with your constraints, you can narrow down your options and your solutions. From there you can use scenario thinking to mitigate your risks before making the final decision.


Strategic thinking is not really great for timing the market because it is not a short-term thinking tool. When I have a timing issue, I will either make it today, or wait for the last day. There is really no best time.

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