Many factors can impact the decision to sell your home, but how do you know when it’s the best time to sell? Here are six surefire signs it’s time to sell your home now.
Most of us don’t plan to stay in our first home forever. Maybe not even the second or third home. But knowing when it’s the right time to put your house on the market can be tricky.
If you’re lucky, a life event like a new job, new marriage, new child, will force the issue and compel you to make a move. But without a pressing reason staring you in the face, it can be hard to know when to let go.
We become attached to our homes for many reasons and it can be difficult to say goodbye. It can feel like breaking up with a loved one. Maybe you knew you would never be together forever, but it doesn’t make leaving any easier.
If any of the following scenarios resonate with you, it’s probably time to move on.
1. You’re Feeling Cramped
Your family doesn’t have to be growing for you to outgrow your home. If you’ve started working from home, for example, you might need an office area. Or maybe you’ve rescued a family of dogs from the shelter or never got over not having a sewing room… If so, your house might be too small.
Before cashing in, try pairing down on your belongings to see if you can clear up some space. Consider remodeling or adding on to your home. Finishing an attic or basement can be a quick fix. Maybe you need to add on a whole new story.
To decide which route to take, check with your local building and planning department to see what your local zoning law will permit. Get estimates from two to three contractors and consult with your local Realtor®. Sometimes adding on won’t increase the value of your home and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on big improvements that won’t bring a good return on your investment.
2. You Have TOO Much Space
Do you have way more house than you need? If you find yourself with an empty nest and too many unused rooms, it’s probably time to consider selling.
It can be difficult to say goodbye to a family home, but it may not be feasible to stay. If yardwork and house upkeep are getting to be too much, or soaring utility bills are cramping your style, it might make more sense to move.
3. You’re Over The Neighborhood
Maybe you’ve had it with your strict homeowner’s association, or your neighbors rented their house out to frat guys… Whatever the reason, neighborhood dynamics can change dramatically over time.
Or maybe you have changed. That 40-minute commute didn’t seem so bad a few years ago and the bar next door didn’t seem to be so loud so late. Or maybe your kids are getting older and school district matters. Your local neighborhood is important.
4. Remodeling Isn’t Worth It
Giving your home a face-lift or turning your backyard into a garden oasis may make your home feel like new again and be all you need to stay put for years. But that doesn’t mean it’s a financially sound decision.
Before making any significant improvements, study your local market to see what similar homes are selling for. It’s a good idea to speak with your local Realtor® to run COMPS for your area and get a value estimation. If your home improvements will cost more than you will get back in return, you should consider selling instead.
5. You Can Afford To Sell
Before you consider selling, you should have some funds available to prepare your home for sale. Most homeowners will make some minor improvements, such as painting, landscaping, or updating flooring, to get the best price for their home. Sometimes a seller will agree to repairs requested by the buyer. All of these costs will come out of your pocket at first, so it’s a good idea to have a cushion before you start.
6. You’re Ready To Compete
Don’t forget, you’re a buyer too! Once you sell your home, presumably you will need another place to live. Prepare yourself from the buyer’s perspective as well and investigate potential neighborhoods you would like to live in and visit open houses. Work with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan and consult with your local Realtor® for neighborhood and home advice. Your agent can also help you arrange a sale that is contingent upon you finding your replacement home.
Great points – it’s certainly a lot to think about. We’ve been considering our options for a while now – and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. We have friends and family who work in real estate, which definitely helps when figuring out the timing when it comes to things like selling.
Selling the place where you’ve lived your entire life is not an easy decision, it’s a good thing that you have people who can give you advice and somehow help you with the arrangements.
Selling your home could be a hard decission to make most of the time. These tips are really useful, especially for those people who do not really know whether they should sell it or they should just keep their house and not invest on something else. I wll surely take these tips into account just in case this ever happens to me in the future, thank you for sharing, it’s really appreciated.
So true, it’s a difficult decision to sell your home, especially if you’ve never sold a house before.
I absolutely identify with the second point. As a woman in her 70’s living alone in a large home, there is simply too much space for little old me and my 5 cats!
I think that a lot of people are afraid to sell their homes because of the sentiment attached to it, but I think that there’s always room for improvement in a home. I also think that if you’re living in a house that is too big, it’s good to downgrade, so that the people who need the size of your house can benefit from it.
Thanks for posting! I think people don’t really consider these things, especially when it comes to having unused space. There are lots of very nice, smaller places on the market, and many of these are in nice locations. It feels like the trend these days is to simplify. I think it helps to have a good, realistic look at your lifestyle and needs and take that into account.
Some interesting thoughts here. I watched my parents sell several homes as a child and noticed that they appeared to regret most of the sales at least a little. The only sales that they didn’t regret at all were of homes that they regretted buying in the first place. We lived in a small town, and my parents used the same realtor every time.
Things are a lot different nowadays, and home prices are a lot higher. Do you recommend having an attorney on retainer every time one sells a home?
In California, an attorney is usually not necessary for a home sale. Some states require an attorney to close escrow on a home, but California is not one of those states. If you are not familiar with home buying/selling and the escrow process, I highly recommend you have someone to represent your interests, such as a licensed REALTOR® or real estate agent.
Check out these posts that discuss working with an agent for buy and sell your home:
Should I work with an agent to buy my home?
Should I work with an agent to sell my home?
This is a great list! I can really relate to number 4. When we finally did sell our first home, it was only because we grew tired of the neighborhood we were in. Crime had increased, it became dirty and unkempt and had low police presence. We no longer felt it was a good location to raise a family. We actually moved to a bigger city, but in a much better neighborhood. It was clean, there were plenty of parks and child-friendly services, and the crime rate was below average. We’ve been here for over 20 years and love it!
A lot of these reasons hinge on the advice of a realtor. And the realtor might try to push you to sell even if you’re not up to it at the moment. Space is definitely a reason to sell your home, along with a change in the neighborhood.
It always makes me sad whenever empty nesters decide to sell their house for a smaller place. It’s not so much on the house itself as it is about sentimentality (i.e. the memories they have with their children). They have the option to keep their place but if they’re adamant on moving, it’s highly recommended that they move somewhere that’s laid back and surrounded by trees and a breath of fresh air. It’s going to offer them peace of mind.
As for me, the only thing that would induce me to move to another place is a job transfer or when my family gets bigger. I’d keep it as-is even if my kids marry and move out. I kind of like the idea of “ancestral homes.” That way, my children will be able to visit me anytime they want.
Nice view on the subject! There are definitely many things to consider when it comes to selling your home and it is surely not an easy decision!
I agree that it’s never an easy decision to sell your house, especially when there are memories involved. My parents sold their house, the home where we grew up, and I could see what a tough decision it was for them. Now they stay in a quiet, small retirement community and they have a wonderful time.
Actually ,it’s one of the hardest decissions to make, for real. It’s even harder than deciding whether sell a car or not, it’s just more complicated.
Having too much space is something that has always caused a pain in my side. My whole situation in life is just not as stable as I once thought it would be (and I am betting I am not alone here) and I never seem to know how much room I will need. I try to be modest but sometimes it feels cramped, but then other times I cannot help but think why I am paying for space that is not used.
I expect within the next few years for our family to sell our current home. It’s too big for our needs, and it’s even more expensive than we can hope to manage. There was a lot of nervousness and concern, but direction such as the kind that came from this post is really helping us decide. It’s not that we need the finances so bad, it’s just that we can get so much out of living in a smaller house.
Nice and useful points, loving it.
Me and my partner are currently considering selling our house because we inherited it from his grandmother. The house is old and it screams for remodelling.. it’s extremely big and beautiful but the funds we’d have to invest to get it in top shape is too much for us to afford. Hopefully we will come to the right decision.
All excellent points. This is something that we’ve been thinking about for a while now, but the “stay where you are’s” outweigh the “go ahead and move’s.” The only really big pro for moving is that we definitely feel as if we’re outgrowing this house/feeling cramped.
Definitely don’t have too much space. I could use a dedicated office space and hubby would sure love to have an area besides the garage for his woodworking. A better place for our gym equipment would be a nice perk, too.
The neighborhood is *great* and remodling really would be worth it, so I have to assume that that’s what we’ll end up doing… probably add a room or two if outside space will permit.
The social politics in some neighborhoods are too overwhelming at times. Some neighbors will report you to the city for bogus claims simply because they don’t like your hairstyle.