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Originally published Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:00 PM

When is a good time to sell if it's not a seller's market?

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PHILADELPHIA — Given the level of economic uncertainty these days, even falling home prices and a 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping this past week to a record 4.15 percent national average may not be enough to reel buyers in.

Not the ideal moment to sell a house. So jumping into the real-estate waters can be quite a leap of faith. How can you know that this is the right time?

Lifestyle changes are a major motivator of sellers right now, said Mark Wade, of Prudential Fox & Roach Real Estate in Philadelphia.

"Most move due to need, be it a transfer out of town or a growing family," he said.

Some sellers are "scaling down and moving to assisted living," said John Duffy, of Duffy Real Estate in Philadelphia. "Empty nesters are moving to smaller properties that are easier and cheaper to maintain, and the younger couple is selling their first home and moving to a larger property now that children have come along.

"We still have the estate sales, and, unfortunately, the divorce sales, and, in some very rare circumstances, people who sell because of affordability issues," he said.

Jeff Block, of Prudential Fox & Roach in Philadelphia, doesn't believe in trying to anticipate what the market will do down the road.

"If I advise my sellers one thing, it is that you can't time the market."

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