Selling your house can be either an exciting or a stressful time, depending on how much you have considered before deciding to sell. Before setting your heart on a move, be sure to consider the following questions that will help clarify whether or not selling at this time will benefit you based on your goals, expectations, and financial status.
1. What do I hope to accomplish with the sale?
Before beginning to answer the remaining questions – you should first keep in mind why the idea to sell your home came to be. Are you relocating for work? Are you expanding your family and in search of more space? Do you desire lower payments or less maintenance? Identifying these goals will help you to examine the remaining questions with a more transparent lens and eventually determine whether or not selling your home at this time is right for you.
2. How much do I owe on my primary mortgage?
Even though not every home sale results in a profit for the seller, you’ll generally want to make money through the deal. The first thing you should look at is the current estimated market value of your home. If the market value of your home is MORE than what you owe on your mortgage, you’re much more likely to see a favorable financial outcome when selling. If you owe MORE on your mortgage than your home is currently worth, you are taking more of a financial risk putting the home on the market.
3. Have I taken out any home equity loans that have a current balance?
If, in regards to the question above, you determined that your home is worth MORE than you currently owe on your mortgage – you’re in good shape. However, you also need to add any home equity loans that you have taken out against your home to your debt total before making this determination. You’ll be required by the loaning bank to repay both of these (primary mortgage and home equity loans) when you sell so take the time to get your home appraised and make this calculation carefully.
4. Should I hire an agent?
Unless you are a real estate professional experienced in selling homes, it’s often best to leave the work of selling your home to a licensed agent. Not only will they work to sell your home for the highest price and in the shortest amount of time, but they will handle all legal aspects of the sale including offers and contracts, aspects that can make or break your home selling process. Also, they will take away the home showing stress as much as possible, market your home effectively, and assist you in determining the real value of your home and what you can expect to make on the sale.
5. How much do I need to spend on home repair and improvements before selling my home?
If you choose to work with a real estate agent, this is also something they can assist with. Homeowners often assume their home needs to be in pristine move-in ready condition before they can negotiate the price they want, but the value of some repairs and improvements impact the value of your home more significantly than others. You will want to work with your agent to determine which projects will be worth your money in the end so you can prioritize them and allocate your money and resources as effectively as possible.
6. Is the timing right to sell my house?
While the real estate market ebbs and flows on a longer term scale concerning interest rates and buyer demand, there are also certain seasons and times of year where selling your home could have a more favorable outcome than others. Generally speaking, April, May, and June see a peak in home sales, but if you’re looking to sell outside of that window, don’t fret. Your agent will help you determine the best marketing tactics to use regardless of when you put your home on the market. For example, if you’re selling in the early fall season, buyers may want to be reminded how nice it will be to host winter holidays in their new space or ring in the New Year with a fresh start.
7. Where will I be moving to?
Assuming you will be purchasing a new home as a part of the moving process, you will want to work especially closely with your realtor to determine the logistics of selling and purchasing a home simultaneously. If you are relocating to a new home in the same area, it should be relatively easy to both ready your home for showings and also attend open houses in search of your new space.
However, if your move will require travel, you’ll want to work with your agent to determine a schedule for showings that coordinates with your search. Another aspect to consider is what your real estate agent should write into your contract to protect yourself as well as the sale. For example, will the purchase of your new home be contingent on the sale of your current home? Or, can you afford both mortgages should you find your new home before selling your current one? These questions will often impact the offer decision, so consider them carefully.
8. What will I need to leave behind in the house after it’s sold?
To prevent any misunderstandings in the contract phase of your house, consider what you will leave behind in your current home for its new occupants. Sellers are expected to leave any fixtures, meaning anything physically attached to your home like landscaping, ceiling fans, and counter tops. However, things like appliances, decor, and furniture are open for negotiation and may impact the price you can ask for your home. Be sure to determine what you’re willing to part with early so that if it comes up, you’re able to respond quickly and not delay an offer.
Hopefully, these questions have shed some light on the considerations that must be made before placing that “for sale” sign on the lawn and have given you a clearer picture of what you can expect from the home sale process. Remember, everyone’s situation is unique. Working with an agent will help paint an even clearer picture based on your set of circumstances.
Agents who have been certified by AdvantageU Home Seller’s Resource can give home sellers a lot of expert tips on preparing their house for sale.