Selling a House After 1 Year or Less

Deciding to sell your home after a short period, such as within a year, involves a careful evaluation of both benefits and challenges.

Homeowners often ponder, “Can I sell my house after 1 year?” or “How soon can I sell my house after purchase?” especially in rapidly changing life circumstances. Here are the key pros and cons to consider when selling your house after 1 year:


  1. Potential market appreciation leading to profit.
  2. Quick adaptation to unexpected life or career changes.
  3. Taking advantage of a seller’s market for a favourable sale price.


  1. Substantial selling costs
  2. Possible capital gains tax if selling within two years.
  3. Risk of market downturns affecting sale price.

This article will explore these aspects to give you a comprehensive understanding of what selling a house after just a year entails.

3 Pros of Selling Early

Selling a house after a short period, such as within a year, isn’t always a straightforward decision. However, certain situations can make this option not only viable but also potentially beneficial.

1. Market Appreciation

The real estate market is dynamic and can fluctuate. This is due to various factors, including:

  • Economic conditions
  • Interest rates
  • And local demand.

Sometimes, these factors can favour homeowners who haven’t owned their property for long. Your home’s sale price might exceed the original purchase price. This could happen due to two things:

  • If the housing market in your area has experienced a rapid increase in demand
  • Or if there’s been a general rise in property values

This increase is known as market appreciation, and it can lead to substantial profit despite the short ownership period.

Understanding and monitoring the housing market trends are crucial. For instance, a housing market that’s heating up can create an ideal scenario for sellers. This is because there is an increased buyer demand and limited inventory.

This, in turn, could potentially lead to bidding wars and higher sale prices. It’s important to keep an eye on local market indicators. It includes average days on the market (DOM), sale-to-list price ratios, and overall inventory levels.

Another factor influencing your home’s value is improvements and renovations. Strategic upgrades can significantly enhance your home’s appeal and value. These upgrades include:

  • Kitchen remodels
  • Bathroom updates
  • And adding smart home features.

Focus on renovations that offer the best return on investment (ROI). Improvements that increase a home’s functionality can be more likely to boost its market value.

However, it’s important to balance the costs of these improvements against the potential increase in sale price. Not all renovations provide a dollar-for-dollar increase in value. Some may even be too personalized and not appealing to the broader market.

To make informed decisions when selling your home, focus on upgrades that are known to increase its value. Consult with a real estate agent or a home improvement professional for guidance and advice.

2. Adapting to Life Changes

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes, significant changes necessitate reconsidering your living situation. Selling a house after 1 year might align perfectly with personal or professional shifts. These changes can include:

  • Job relocations
  • Alterations in family circumstances, such as a growing family needing more space or downsizing once children move out.

When faced with such life circumstances, the question “Can I sell my house after 1 year?” becomes more than a financial consideration; it’s about adapting your home to fit your evolving lifestyle.

A quick sale, in this case, may offer the flexibility and financial liquidity needed to support these new life phases. This adaptability is particularly crucial for homeowners who experience a sudden change.

Examples of this life change include a job offer in a different city or an unforeseen family situation requiring relocation.

The decision to sell quickly due to life changes also ties into the concept of liquidity. Real estate, unlike other assets like stocks or bonds, is not typically considered liquid due to the time it can take to sell.

However, in a strong housing market, selling a house after a short period can be a viable solution. This is especially true if you’re looking to free up funds and ease transitions into new life stages.

3. Capitalizing on a Seller’s Market

What if you bought during a buyer’s market? Then, now that you’re planning to sell, the market shifted to a seller’s market? If so, it’s your lucky break! 

In a seller’s market, the dynamics can be favourable enough to offset potential capital gains taxes and selling costs. This includes commission realtors and closing expenses.

In understanding how soon you can sell your house after purchase, it’s vital to gauge the market. Indicators of a seller’s market include:

  • Numerous competitive bids
  • Homes selling above the asking price
  • And a general shortage of available properties.

Selling in such a market can result in substantial gains over your original purchase price. This is especially true if your home is in a highly sought-after area or has unique features that attract buyers.

Capitalize on the seller’s market by working with experienced real estate agents. Not just any agent, but one who understands the nuances of your local market.

A skilled agent can advise on the optimal listing price and navigate selling negotiations to maximize your returns. They can also help manage the sales process efficiently.

Full-service realtors with knowledge of short-term selling can be invaluable in these scenarios. They can provide comparative market analysis to set competitive prices. They can also suggest minor improvements and use marketing strategies to attract serious buyers.

3 Cons of Selling Your House Within Two Years

While there are advantages to selling your house within a year or two, it’s crucial to also consider the downsides. Selling a property shortly after purchasing it often comes with a set of financial implications.

These can impact the overall profitability and ease of the transaction. This section aims to explore these challenges. 

1. Financial Implications

A major consideration when selling a house within a short period is the array of associated costs. These include commission realtors’ fees, which can be a significant portion of the selling expenses.

Traditional realtors typically charge a commission rate that is a percentage of the sale price. This fee, along with additional closing costs, can significantly reduce the net proceeds from the sale. Additional costs can include title insurance, transfer fees, and property taxes.

Real estate commissions are not fixed and can vary, but understanding the average commission rate in your area is important. Sometimes, homeowners opt for full-service realtors for a comprehensive service. This can be more costly.

However, there are alternatives! Such alternatives are discount brokers or agent matching services that might offer lower fees.

Moreover, for those considering a sale by the owner to save on commission costs, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. The lack of professional guidance can sometimes lead to lower sale prices or longer time on the market.

Selling your house soon after purchase also opens up the possibility of financial loss. The original purchase price of the home can mean selling for less than what you initially paid. This is combined with selling expenses and any potential decrease in market value.

This loss can be more pronounced if the market has experienced a downturn since your purchase. It could lead to a situation where you’re dealing with a desperation sale or a quick sale scenario at lower prices.

Additionally, if you still have a mortgage on the property, you need to consider the balance remaining. You also need to consider whether the sale will cover this amount.

In some cases, homeowners might face a mortgage prepayment penalty, which is an extra cost for paying off your mortgage early. These penalties can vary based on your mortgage agreement. These should also be factored into your overall financial calculations.

The financial burden can be further compounded if you haven’t stayed in your home long enough to build substantial equity. In such cases, mortgage balances, selling costs, and potential capital gains taxes can erode the sale profits. It could lead to a minimal financial return or even a loss.

2. Tax Implications – Capital Gains

One of the financial considerations when selling a house within a short period is the potential capital gains taxes. Capital gains tax applies to the profit made from selling an asset like real estate. It varies depending on how long the asset was held before being sold.

For homeowners selling their house after 1 year or less, any profit realized is typically subject to short-term capital gains tax. These taxes are levied at the same rate as your ordinary income taxes.

This means they could be quite high depending on your household income and income tax bracket. This is in contrast to long-term capital gains taxes. This generally applies to assets held for more than a year and are taxed at lower long-term capital gains tax rates.

The capital gains tax burden can significantly affect the net profit from the sale of your home. For instance, if you fall into a higher income tax bracket, your short-term capital gains could be taxed at a considerably higher rate. It could potentially erode a substantial portion of your sales profits.

There are, however, some exclusions and tactics to reduce the burden of capital gains.

The IRS allows for an exclusion on capital gains taxes for those who have lived in their home as their primary residence. This for at least two of the previous five years before the sale.

Unfortunately, if you’re selling your house after only one year, you won’t qualify for this exclusion. This could result in possibly costly capital gains taxes.

3. Market Risks

The housing market can be as unpredictable as it is rewarding. Market volatility refers to the frequency and magnitude with which market prices change. When thinking about selling your house after buying, remember that market changes can influence your home’s sale price.

A volatile market might work in your favour if market appreciation has occurred since your initial purchase. This will lead to a higher sale price. However, volatility can also work against you, especially if you’re aiming for a quick sale.

If you sell your house before the usual few years recommended by agents, market swings could mean one thing. It could mean getting a sale price lower than your purchase price, especially after paying agent fees and other selling costs.

Selling during a market downturn is a notable risk when offloading a property within two years of the purchase. If the market is experiencing a decline, also known as a market downturn, your property’s fair market value might be lower than when you purchased it. This is particularly challenging for those who bought homes at the peak of a market cycle.

During a downturn, the urgency to sell can lead to a desperate sale, potentially resulting in a sale price that’s lower than the desired amount. This quick sale might not only negate any potential market appreciation. It might also lead to significant financial loss when considering the following:

  • Cumulative costs of real estate commissions
  • Closing costs
  • And other selling-related expenses.

In a downturn, buyers have more negotiating power. This might force sellers to agree to additional closing costs or concessions.

And if you’re still within the initial purchase period, you may not have built enough equity to cushion against these losses. This is especially true after accounting for mortgage payments and potential prepayment penalties.

It’s also important to consider the time of year and economic conditions when listing your house. A market downturn paired with a slower selling season can exacerbate the difficulties of finding a buyer willing to meet your sale price.

The consequence of this timing may result in holding onto the property for extra months, which carries its own set of costs. It includes:

  • Consecutive months of mortgage payments
  • Maintenance
  • And potentially having to price in closing costs to entice buyers.

Selling a house within a short time frame demands careful consideration of these market risks.

An experienced real estate agent, particularly one with expertise in your local market’s cycles, can be a valuable resource. They can provide a comparative market analysis and help you know the short-term capital gains tax implications.

Selling Smart with Dave Masson

Selling a house within one to two years can be advantageous under the right market conditions. However, it’s vital to be aware of the financial and tax implications. 

Consulting with a knowledgeable team of realtors is your best strategy. In Vancouver, the Dave Masson Real Estate Group embodies professionalism and market savvy. We are the ideal ally in your real estate ventures.

Contact us to explore your options and embark on a selling journey that’s as informative as it is fruitful. Let’s turn your real estate questions into confident and successful sales. Visit us today and take the first step towards a smart sale.

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Dave Masson

Founder/Realtor® Team Lead/CIR REALTY Vancouver Owner

Dave graduated from BCIT with a Diploma in Professional Sales and Marketing and began his successful real estate career in 2010. He received the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award from Royal LePage in his first year. Since then, Dave has consistently ranked among the top performers, placing in the top 10% of Royal LePage agents from 2013 to 2015 and in the top 5% from 2016 to 2019. He is highly regarded by clients for his negotiation skills and client-centric approach, ensuring they get the best possible price for their home sales or purchases in the shortest time.

Outside of work, Dave loves connecting with people and organizes various family fun and client appreciation events throughout the year. In his free time, he enjoys staying active at the gym, playing hockey on multiple teams, and cherishing moments with his wife Kristy and daughters Kashton and Quinn. Giving back is also a core value for Dave, as he serves on the board of directors at Ruben’s Shoes Society, a local non-profit organization that builds and supports schools in impoverished areas. To raise funds for this cause, he annually hosts Ruben’s Classic, a hockey tournament.

Dave’s dedication, expertise, and commitment to his clients and community have made him an exceptional real estate agent. With his extensive track record of success and his genuine care for people, he continues to make a positive impact in the industry and beyond.

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