(A big thank you to scottunderwood.com for sponsoring this post!)
Is it a good time to put your house on the market?
It’s not an easy question to answer. There are bits of conventional wisdom that you can apply, like putting up the first “for sale” sign in the spring. However, your housing market has its own unique quirks.
Once you’re sure you want to sell your home, it’s a good idea to find the right agent. According to Scott Underwood, a real estate agent in Long Beach, a professional brings “comprehensive market knowledge, exceptional hands-on personal service and superior negotiation skills.”
Peak Selling Time
Your goal is to maximize your potential profit. That means showing your home to the highest number of potential buyers possible. Obviously, putting your home on the market when nobody’s buying or prices are uncharacteristically low is a bad idea.
Nationally, the best time to list your home is on a Saturday in the middle of May. However, there are deviations. You can look up sales statistics in your area. For instance, Zillow reports that homes in New York City sell faster when they’re put on the market at the end of April.
There are several reasons the real estate market tends to heat up in the spring: it’s easier to move during nice weather, tax refunds are lining many bank accounts, and the school year is wrapping up for kids.
You Have Equity
It’s also a good idea to estimate the value of your home. You want to make sure your home is worth more than you owe on it. A short sale is only a good deal for the buyer—and an absolute worst-case option for the home owner. Even if your home is worth more than what you owe, you’ll also want to look at what it will cost to move into your next home.
Figuring out how much equity you have is easy. Simply subtract your mortgage balance from your home’s value. You can contact the bank that holds your mortgage for the exact payoff amount.
You’re Ready to Move
If you hate the idea of moving, you might not be ready to move to a new property. Sometimes, the itch to sell your home is really just a desire for change. You might just be able to satisfy your family’s needs by renovating important rooms.
In addition to being emotionally ready for the move, you need to be financially prepared as well. Moving is expensive. Don’t allow yourself to be too stretched out. If you can’t afford to cover your moving costs, wait to sell your home. You’ll build equity and grow your nest egg at the same time.
You Have Cash in the Bank
You don’t want to be pressured into accepting a bad mortgage deal. You’ll morph into a homebuyer again after you sell your property. If you’re broke, it’ll affect your negotiations.
Buying a new home will be a lot easier if you’re financially secure.
You Need a Change
Perhaps your kids have gone off to start their own lives and you don’t need as much space. Don’t saddle yourself with a large, expensive home if you don’t need one.
Or maybe you’re thinking about expanding your family and you actually need more space. Life has many different stages and it’s possible that your home won’t fit neatly into any of them.
Selling a home that you’ve outgrown and paying for a property that you love in cash is the ultimate dream.
It’s a Seller’s Market
The economy is bouncing back into shape after the last recession. Across the country rent and home prices are rising. In many areas, it’s absolutely a seller’s market. That means it’s a good time to get value from your property. Buyers are willing to pay more when the market is hot.
If you’re seriously interested in selling it’s a good idea to discuss the potential value of your property with a real estate agent. Tax records and property estimates from services like Zillow often don’t accurately reflect your home’s current market value. Your home may actually be worth more than you think. At any rate, you need accurate information to make an informed decision.
Your Renovations are Complete
If you have any lingering home improvement projects, wrap them up before putting your home on the market. It’s a good idea to opt for neutral paint colors and ensure the home is in good repair. Once an offer is made and accepted on your home, it’s likely the potential buyers will have a home inspection clause. If your home isn’t in good condition, the contract may offer the buyers a chance to back out of their commitment and leave you to start over again with the selling process.