If you’ve thought about selling your home, now may be an excellent time!
In many areas of the U.S., demand is significantly outpacing supply, meaning the odds of getting a favorable price in a short amount of time are in your favor. The National Association of Realtors reports the median sales price for single-family homes rose 6.2 percent (to $255,600) in the third quarter of 2017, compared to Q3 of 2016. Prices increased in 87 major markets measured by the NAR, and at the same time the number of homes on the market nationwide dropped 7.1 percent.
“Listings typically flew off the market in under a month — and even quicker in the affordable price range — in several parts of the country,” reports NAR economist Lawrence Yun. “With new supply not even coming close to keeping pace, price appreciation remained swift in most markets.”
Even when economic conditions are ideal for a sale, however, potential sellers need to review all the advantages and disadvantages before actually listing their property. There’s such a thing as seller’s remorse, since selling your home affects far more than just your finances and can come with a huge emotional wallop. Here are five questions you may want to ask yourself before taking action to call a real estate agent:
- What’s driving your time frame? The status of the real estate market shouldn’t be your only criteria, since selling your home is a major decision on many levels. Perhaps you should make a list of the pros and cons of moving out now compared to switching residences at some later date. Are you feeling pressured in some way, perhaps by family members, to move up the process? To what extent are your job and relationship status affecting your decision? How will your budget be impacted in either scenario? What challenges will be involved if you move now as opposed to later? Is your current home really inadequate for your future needs, or is your perception skewed in some way? Weigh all the factors and be honest with yourself as to whether a move is in your best interest right now.
- Has your next residence been established? The transition will likely be financial and emotional as well as physical, and your lifestyle may significantly change as a result. You need to be clear in your mind (and your budget) as to the next step you’re taking and whether it will truly meet your needs.
- Who’s likely to be interested in your home? This question will be relevant to getting the most money out of your sale, since it addresses whether any renovations should be made and whether the timing of your sale is optimal. For example, if you live in the last cottage on a lakefront property now surrounded by more expensive homes, you might wish to avoid expensive changes on the grounds the next owner may want to clear the land and start from scratch. Conversely, if you live close to a city you might significantly boost your home’s market value via cost-effective improvements (Granite countertops? Wood floors instead of carpet?) geared toward young professionals.
- What would you consider success? How much money will you need for your house to meet future financial goals? To what extent do you wish to negotiate on price if need be? Can you go ahead with your move if it doesn’t sell right away? What would be your ideal time frame for selling your house, from start to finish? Is part of your goal to sell your home while staging minimal open houses? Do you have a preference as to what kind of person buys your house? Do you have any caveats for the buyer, such as a willingness to let you take certain plants with you when you go?
- Whom do you need on your team? To minimize the stress associated with buying and selling, it’s essential to find both a real estate agent and a mortgage broker that make you feel comfortable and confident. Ask friends and family members for recommendations of professionals with whom they’ve had positive experiences, perhaps checking out online reviews as well. You’ll want to similarly vet any building contractors, painters, plumbers, electricians, cleaners, landscape specialists or other professionals you’ll need to get your home shipshape for the market. And never underestimate the importance of hiring an honest and reputable moving company.
In short, putting your home on the market should never be a snap decision if you can help it. The selling process is likely to go much more smoothly, logistically and emotionally, if you take time to think through all the ramifications before moving forward.