If you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely asked yourself when to make a move a dozen times over the last eighteen months. With historically low interest rates and an unquestionable “seller’s market,” people across the country are asking the same question!
When it comes to a decision as personal as this, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are a few objective points to think through before you start calling realtors.
You should seriously consider selling your home if...
Your lifestyle demands it
Sometimes the question of selling or staying put boils down to practicalities. Perhaps your kid is ready to start school, and you want to be zoned for a different district. Maybe your family is expanding and you simply need more space — or maybe you’re downsizing, and just have too much house to keep up with.
Remember that your home should work for your real, everyday life — not your aspirational mental image of what life should be. If you’ve done all the household improvements you can think of and the home still isn’t sufficient for your family’s lifestyle, it may be time to move.
You are financially ready
Whether you’re looking to cut housing costs or increase to something a bit more upgraded, this tip works in both directions. If you are going to be an empty nester soon, downsizing can save you an enormous amount of money in the next few decades. Even if your mortgage is paid off, there are still taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance costs to consider.
On the flip side, you may have been diligently saving for years, waiting for the moment when you feel ready to bite off a bit more financially. Tip: If you haven’t already, “practice” paying for a higher monthly mortgage by setting aside the new amount every month for three to six months and see how it affects your savings and spending. That way, when the time comes, it won’t feel like such a blow to see that money missing from your account each month.
You will be able to find a new home
This may seem like an obvious component to your home-selling process, but it’s worth noting in these unpredictable times. Because the market has been so hot, you’ll want to make sure that you can secure a new home before you sell your current one. While some people take the “we’ll just hope for the best” approach, this market is not the time to do that. Housing inventory is incredibly low across the board, so just make sure you have an exit strategy before you sign on the dotted line.
The season is right
In pre-pandemic times, the time of year made a big difference in how quickly it sold. Traditionally, spring — specifically, May — is the best time of year to list your home for sale.
And it makes sense — it’s at the end of the school year, meaning kids won’t have to change schools mid-year, plus it’s far from the holiday busyness. And, moving in May or June allows people to settle in during the slower summer months when fewer obligations happen.
Of course, as the housing market has gone haywire in the last year and a half, seasonality is a less accurate sales predictor. That said, it will likely still play some role, but the surge in sales may be less dramatic.If your answer is no to one or more of the above prompts, it’s probably best to stick around a while longer. In the meantime, you can tackle your home project list and give your current space a refreshed feel! And if you do plan on listing your home, read up on the most common concerns of prospective buyers.