Posted by Candace Stadelmann on June 11, 2018
Contrary to popular belief, selling a home is not really a quick transaction. In fact, it is a lot like navigating an obstacle course…blindfolded…in heels.
There’s no single formula for determining when to put your house up for sale. But, no matter how good the real estate market is, selling your home is by no means a speedy process. Every step—from listing your house to receiving an offer to closing—takes time…lots and lots of time.
Of course, the decision of when to sell your home isn’t solely based on market conditions. Your personal situation must also be taken into account before jumping into the selling process.
In any event, if your living space has become too cramped or is in need of some serious downsizing, it may be time to make the big move. Here are 10 factors that can help you find out whether or not you’re financially and emotionally ready to sell your home:
During the housing crisis of 2008, millions of homeowners across the country were left with negative equity, which meant they owed more on their homes than they were worth. While breaking even is a little better, it’s also not ideal.
Preferably, you want to have enough equity to cover closing costs and put some money down toward your next home.
In order to see how much equity you have, subtract your current mortgage balance from your home’s estimated market value. The difference will give you a good indication of how much equity you have to work with.
If you want to buy a home and have peace of mind, take a long hard look at your finances and decide if you’re ready to take the next step toward homeownership. Be sure to have all of your nonmortgage debt paid off and have at least three to six months of expenses stored away in an emergency fund.
A house should be more than just a place where you sleep and store your belongings. While we’re accustomed to buying homes based on physical characteristics like kitchen size and backyard space, it’s important to look at other factors like safety, proximity to schools and retail shops, commuting distance to work, etc.
4. Moving Expenses
From last-minute home improvement projects to hiring movers, there are numerous unexpected costs associated with a home sale. According to Zillow and Thumbtack, the average American homeowner will spend $18,342 to sell their house in 2018.
While it may seem extraneous, first impressions do make a difference and it’s important to set aside additional funds for any home upgrades that can make your home more appealing to potential buyers, including curb appeal updates and kitchen and bath updates to keep your property looking in tip-top shape. Your real estate agent can also advise on which updates and repairs would be best for attracting first-time homebuyers.
5. Emotional Readiness
It’s easy to form an emotional attachment to your home. Regardless of how long you’ve lived in it, you’ve made memories and had experiences there that can be hard to leave behind. But, one of the best ways to get ready to sell your house is by mentally preparing for what’s to come:
- Are you ready to take criticism and make any necessary adjustments to your home?
- Are you willing to keep it ‘show ready’ for weeks or even months?
- Are you equipped to handle the hardball sales price negotiations from a potential buyer?
While the housing market can be fairly unpredictable, familiarize yourself with the current market trends and sell your home for its market value. And in your next home buying venture, make sure you can afford your new home, both now and in the future.
7. Real Estate Agent
Navigating a home sale can be tricky. But, hiring an experienced real estate professional who knows the market can help save you time, energy, and money in the long run. Not only do they bring a wealth of expertise to the table, but they’re able to juggle several different seller responsibilities, including:
- Setting a selling price for your property
- Marketing your home so it receives maximum exposure to first-time buyers
- Scheduling showings with potential buyers
- Handling all necessary paperwork
8. Credit Score
In order to qualify for a new mortgage, your credit score needs to be impeccable. A good credit score also helps with lower interest rates and lower monthly payments.
Seasonality plays a key role in the housing market. Prospective buyers are typically more active during the spring and summer months of the year, and trail off during the fall and winter.
Tax Returns - According to GOBankingRates, nearly five percent of Americans said they would put their tax refund toward a major purchase, like a home.
Better Weather for Moving - The moving process is much simpler when the weather is cooperative and when rental companies are not charging their highest rates.
Summer Break Coming Up - Spring is an ideal time to sell because it allows you to organize the move in the summer, which avoids disrupting your kids’ schooling.
Keep that in mind when considering putting your home up for sale. Also, compare the listing prices of other homes in your area so you can properly estimate how much yours could sell for.
10. Sell When you Need to
Don’t try to chase the market and sell right away if you’re dealing with a job change, marriage, divorce, children, health issues, or foreclosure.
Other factors aside, everyone wants to emerge from a home sale having made significant financial gains that make all the stress worth it in the end. If you want to get top dollar for your home, it’s imperative you are selling at the right time.