Should You Sell Your House?

10 Jul
Have your realtor show you comps in your neighborhood to make sure you are not overpricing your home as this can lead to it sitting on the market and becoming a stale listing.

Selling your house can be exciting and a new chapter in your life but it is also a lot of work and can be emotionally draining. If you are having a hard time deciding if it is time to put your home on the market, keep reading. Below are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to sell your home and if you are ready, both emotionally and financially to list your home.

Can You Truly Afford Your House?

If your financial situation has changed since you first purchased your home and it has become a financial burden, it is probably time to put it on the market. Being house poor is never fun and if it goes on long enough it can quickly drain your savings and leave you in debt with nothing to fall back on. 

This can be especially true for young couples just starting out who end up biting off more than they can chew when it comes to a mortgage payment. Many first-time homebuyers overlook the additional expenses that come with owning a home, focusing only on the mortgage payment. When other costs such as homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, property taxes and mortgage insurance are added in, they may find the home is not quite as affordable as they thought. 

If most of your income is going towards a mortgage and other house related expenses it is probably a good idea to downgrade to a more affordable house. Experts recommend talking to a lender in person (not just online or on the phone) before deciding on how much home they can afford. Always take into account the additional expenses that go into homeownership before making an offer on a home. Get insurance quotes on any home you are seriously considering so there are no surprises after you have signed on the dotted line. 

Is Your Location and Home Still Ideal?

While you may have loved the location of your home when you first purchased the house, is it still ideal now? Jobs and commutes can change over the years as can the makeup of a neighborhood, if you no longer love the location of your home, it may be time to sell.

It’s not just the neighborhood you should consider. Is the layout of your home still a good fit for your current situation? While a two-story home may be perfect for a young family, a one level ranch is probably the better fit for an older retiring couple. If your family is expanding it may be time for a larger house, on the other hand, as the kids move out it may be a good idea to downsize. 

Just because your home is getting a bit dated or may no longer function perfectly for your situation it doesn’t mean you have to put it up for sale. If you still love the area and the bones of the home, a renovation may be the answer. 

Even a minor renovation can give a home a new life and make it function better for your current situation. Always consider the return on investment when planning a renovation. Going overboard can turn into a money loser as you may not get the money back when you actually decide to sell. 

Are the Market Conditions Right?

Unless it is absolutely necessary you should never sell your home in a down market. In a buyer’s market you may end up getting significantly less for your home than you would if you wait until the market moves more in your favor. 

Contact a local realtor to get an estimate of what they would list your home for before making a decision on whether to list it. If the price meets or exceeds your expectations it may be time to sell but if the price is well below what you feel is fair it may pay to wait before listing it.

Always make sure you are being realistic in your pricing. Have your realtor show you comps in your neighborhood to make sure you are not overpricing your home as this can lead to it sitting on the market and becoming a stale listing. 

Can You Afford to Sell?

Selling a home can be expensive as all of the commission fees fall to you. In addition, you may be hit with inspection fees and the buyers may even ask for you to cover some of the closing costs. Other expenses can include storage rental if you need to declutter your home as well as a deep cleaning and any small repairs that need to be made before you list. 

Consider all of the costs and make sure you will have enough cash left over to cover the down payment on a new home or the security deposit if you are moving into an apartment. If you find that you will be coming up short after all the expenses of selling it may be prudent to wait until the market improves or you have saved up enough money to make selling a possibility. 

You Are Emotionally Ready to Sell?

Even if the numbers all add up there is an emotional component of selling a house that you have to be ready for as well. 

Before listing your home make sure you are ready to move out of the home your family has made memories in all of these years. You also have to be ready to hear some harsh criticism from potential buyers who don’t agree with all of your decorating ideas. 

Selling a home that you have been in for many years can be surprisingly emotional so be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions, especially if you have been in the home for a long time. 

Are You Ready for the Work?

Selling a home can be hard work and before you put your home on the market you need to make sure you are ready for everything that is involved. 

In most cases, you will need to de-clutter your home which involves taking out all of your personal items as well as any excess furniture and Knick knacks. You may need to move it all to a storage unit for the entire time your home is up for sale. You will also need to give it a good deep clean to make sure your home shows well and keep it clean until you are under contract. 

There may be home repairs that have to be made before it is ready to be listed and if you can’t afford to have someone else do the work you will have to make time to handle all of the repairs. 

Finally, you have to be ready to leave your home with an hour’s notice or less when a potential buyer is interested in seeing it. All of this can be stressful so make sure you are up to the task before contacting a realtor. 

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