There is an incredible amount of work, time, planning, and effort that goes into successfully selling a house. There is a reason why licensed brokers are hired to assist people in these transactions, the paperwork alone could make someone’s head spin. Currently the real estate market is creating a lot of interest among home owners because historically high home values and low interests rates have created plenty opportunities to profit.
A quick internet search by prospective sellers can get them many articles on questions to ask brokers, what work to do on their home, and a number of other things that don’t relate to the key question; should I or should I not sell my house. Here are 5 questions sellers should ask when deciding to put their home on the market or not.
Why am I selling?
This is number one for a reason, this should be the most important question you ask yourself. The answer is going to change as much as the individual asking the question. Certain things are out of your control; if your job is relocating you, you need a larger house for a wife and children, or your partner passed so you can no longer take care of the home yourself.
The individual reasons for selling are unique but there are follow up questions that can help narrow down whether it’s the right decision or not. If you do have a choice then the next four questions are what you’re going to ask next.
Where am I going?
This is the second most important question to ask because it determines how much your budget should be, how long you’ll need to find the right house, and a number of other factors that are fleshed out by asking the simple question, “where do I want to live”. How does this help you decide if you want to sell your home? I’m glad you asked.
Where you’re going is important because it’s possible that 5 minutes into your search you realize that the neighborhood you want to get into doesn’t have any homes for sale at the moment. Or you can realize that the type of home you want is about $500/month more than what you’re looking for. What if the school district you want only has $600,000 homes listed and your budget is $450,000? If you don’t know where you want to go, in all likelihood you’re still at least one step away from being ready to sell.
When do I want to move?
This question is affected by a number of different factors but ultimately, it’s one that needs an answer before putting a home up for sale. Along with the factors already mentioned, when you want to move is going to be key in determining when you sell your house. Do you want to move after the school year is up? How long is it going to take for your home to sell? Some people have little to no choice over this question, but unless that’s you, please come up with a timeline for when you want to be in your next house.
How much work am I willing to put in?
Updating a home before it goes on the market can be one of the best ways to maximize it’s value with minimal cost to the seller. It all depends on the house, but if the house is 7–10 years old, more likely than not some updating and repairs need to happen. They can be as minimal as repainting, cleaning the carpet, or updating an outdated feature. Depending on the work that needs to get done, the amount of money a seller wants, the preferred timeline, and a number of other variables all play on a role in answering this question.
This doesn’t always work for everyone but there is an entire industry based on updating homes and making a profit on it. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone but if you can take an equity loan out on your house to put $30,000 into updating it so that you can sell it for $60,000 more than you would have been able to, isn’t it worth it? I think so; I also think this has to be done with planning, expertise, and a delicate touch because it’s easy to put $30,000 into your home and not get it all back.
Now after all this, it’s time for the last question…
Is it worth it?
Asking each question before this allows you, the seller, to have a completely thought out answer as to whether selling your home is worth it. Currently I see this as the questions many sellers are asking themselves first, before thinking through any of the other variables. I get it, if you bought a house between 2008–2015, you’re looking pretty good with the amount of equity in your house as well as your monthly mortgage payments. 3% interests rates are not on the table anymore and I don’t see a dramatic decrease in home values on the horizon.
It’s a safe time to buy a house whether you’re upgrading or downsizing. The market is strong, interests rates are still historically low, and the ability to buy in neighborhoods with good appreciation has never been better. The best decision is what makes the most sense for you and your family. In order to find out what the best decision would be it is important to meet with a professional to help you take a step back, analyze the situation, and decide what is the most fiscally and emotionally beneficial course of action.