Sometimes sticking the for-sale sign in your yard is the obvious (and only) choice in light of a new job or a drastic change in your financial situation.
But an array of factors can drive the major life decision to sell what’s probably your largest financial asset, whether it be the desire for a different lifestyle, the need for more space, or the opportunity to take advantage of perfect market conditions.
Selling your home isn’t just about the sale itself but what comes next—a fresh start, a new chapter and oftentimes another home that’s an even better fit for your stage of life. If you relate to one or more of these reasons for putting your home on the market, chances are you’re in a strong position to sell.
1. The value of your home is significantly higher than when you purchased it.
They say if the price is right, the home will sell. A top-notch real estate agent will be able to help you establish a price range for your home using a comparative market analysis that takes into account current market activity and other homes like yours on the market.
If the price of your home is significantly higher than when you bought it, you’re in a great place to sell and use those gains to upgrade to a new home, move to a more expensive and desirable location, or build your savings.
But make sure you do your homework. Top-selling New York real estate agent Ambreen Faruqi has seen homeowners act too quickly based on a shoddy, inflated price estimate coming from an agent who didn’t have the sellers’ best interests at heart.
“We had a couple of people who were thinking of selling because some schmuck Realtor told them their house was worth $1.5 million and it really was not,” Faruqi said.
“And so they were really motivated to sell, but there was no way they could pull $1.5 million from that property.”
So be sure you know the real value of your home before anyone else can persuade you otherwise for their own gains.
2. Real estate market forces are working in your favor.
Political uncertainty fills the news, but when you are deciding whether it’s an opportune moment to sell your home, you need cut straight to the trends of your local real estate market and determine whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.
Signs that you’re in a seller’s market include more buyers out looking for homes than there are homes for sale. That puts the ball in the seller’s court when it comes to pricing and negotiation.
You also want to take a look at the latest mortgage interest rate trends. If interest rates are on the rise, with every month you wait to sell, you risk taking a higher interest rate on the next home you buy.
Talk to a real estate agent about who holds the cards in your current market, then also consider the best time to sell a house in your area—HomeLight data has found that depending on seasonal factors and buyer behavior, it’s possible to boost the profits on your house by over 75%.
3. You’ve thought through staying put versus moving from every angle, and the pros of selling outweigh the cons.
What do you, or you and your family, stand to gain from selling? And what do you stand to lose?
Before you make any rash decisions, take a hard look at your motivations and whether they’re based on the long-term picture or fleeting desires, such as a house you saw on the internet that’s probably out of your price range.
Will a specific school district make all the difference to your children’s future? That might be a great reason to move.
Are you in love with the crown moldings of a townhome that’s aesthetically beautiful but in an inconvenient location? That might create headaches for years to come. Knowing what your priorities are will help you make the right choice.
“I see people wanting to move but they really haven’t really sat down and thought about the pros and cons of why they live where they live,” says Faruqi. “Sometimes the truth is that they are in a good spot.”
4. You’ve got a strong sense of what’s available on the market, and you like what you see.
Moving is much easier when you already know where you’re headed next. Before you list—go get a sense of what’s on the market.
“[Another] hesitation is ‘I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know if I like where I’m going,” says Faruqi.
Homesellers are usually homebuyers, too. So one good reason to sell is if you’ve got a good sense of what’s on the market, know what you can afford, and want to take advantage of the opportunity to snag the property of your dreams.
The internet works for casual browsing, but a real estate agent who knows every inch of the inventory is an even better resource.
Faruqi tells hesitant sellers “let’s take you out to see a few properties” before we put yours on the market.
5. You’ve checked your emotion at the door and feel ready to move on for practical purposes.
With time, houses become homes filled with memories. The emotional attachment to a home can delay your decision to sell.
You’d be surprised how many people settle for conditions that make their lives significantly harder simply because they’re comfortable. Comfort feels good in the moment but doesn’t necessarily create the best life. There’s a reason why “getting outside your comfort zone” is generally believed to be a positive thing.
If you have too many kids and too few bedrooms, or family members who could benefit from better in-home accessibility, it’s important to think about what you’re gaining and what you’re losing by staying in your current home.
An emotional attachment to their own home—there’s always that factor,” Faruqi said. “Approach the decision from a place of logic, not emotion, and see what truths bubble up to the surface.”