Deciding to sell your home can be difficult. And knowing when to list your property for sale can feel even more daunting. Your goal when selling your house is for it to move quickly and for as much money as you can earn on your investment.
But in the world of real estate, timing is everything. Here are some tips for determining if you should sell your house now, or hold onto it for a little while longer.
Be Emotionally Prepared
Leaving the memories created in a home can be gut-wrenching, especially for homeowners who have spent ten or more years in their house.
For a seller who isn’t prepared to separate emotionally from the property, the sale can be painstakingly difficult, if not impossible.
An emotional attachment could influence the way you price your house for sale, the way you stage and present the home, and the way you perceive offers and negotiations.
You certainly don’t want to resist and resent the act of selling, so if you’re not emotionally ready to cut those apron strings, then it’s best to hold on to your home until you’re ready to part with it.
Analyze Your Reason for Selling Your House
There are many reasons homeowners decide to list their house for sale. In the best-case scenarios, the owners can level up to a more desired lifestyle, whether upsizing, downsizing, or retiring. Or, they’ve built up an impressive amount of equity and are ready to cash out.
These savvy homeowners have the option of listing immediately or waiting until the market lends itself to even higher home values such as spring or autumn in a seller’s market.
But the reasons for selling aren’t always on the plus side.
It’s not uncommon for some homeowners to become overwhelmed by their property – either financially, or in the maintenance and upkeep. In these situations, owners may find themselves facing a foreclosure or a short sale. The owner may be in a pinch and need to sell faster.
Other reasons some people feel like they have to sell is in the case of a divorce or a transfer for work.
Are you selling your home to make a profit, a lateral move such as a work transfer, upsizing, downsizing – or are you in a pickle where you need to get out from under the pressures of a mortgage or upkeep? These factors play a significant role in whether you should sell now or hold.
Talk with your real estate agent about market conditions and when might be the more advantageous time to list your home.
Earning Escrow or Paying Taxes?
The longer you’ve owned your home, and the more you’ve paid on your mortgage loans, the more equity you’ll have in the house. It could be a great time to sell.
However, if you’ve lived in the home you’re selling for less than two years, you could end up paying a big fat fee to Uncle Sam for a Capital Gains Tax.
If you’ve lived on the property for at least two years, you can deduct up to $250,000 on the profit. For a married couple, that amount doubles for up to $500,000 in deductions.
On the flip side of that real estate coin, if you sell your home before living in it for two years, that deduction disappears, and you pay tax on the profit from the sales price of your house.
Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?
A buyer’s market is when more properties are for sale than there are people wanting to buy them.
The buyers can afford to be more choosy and seem to have the upper hand in negotiating a better price for themselves. If you can hold off for a shift in the market, a seller’s market will prove much more profitable.
A seller’s market is when an area has more house-hunters than there are houses to hunt.
In this case, buyers scramble to beat other buyers to the chase and submit competitive offers. And, in an ideal setting, a seller’s market can spawn a bidding war, raising home values substantially. During a seller’s market is the ideal time to sell your home.
Choosing the Right Season to List Your House for Sale
Believe it or not, the seasons – yes, the weather – can play a leading role in how quickly your property will sell and how much money goes into your bank account.
Think about this: Do you enjoy going out in the middle of winter? Most people don’t feel good about going outdoors in freezing temperatures, rain, or snow.
On the same token, summers can be detrimental for showing homes. Buyers tend to avoid going out in the scorching heat. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but there’s definitely a mood-shift in buyers that is influenced by the seasons.
Spring and autumn tend to be much more lucrative in the real estate industry. In the spring, people are feeling inspired, revived, and excited about what’s to come. In autumn, people are determined to make choices before the turn of the year.
Your home may also be easier to stage in spring and autumn. It can be difficult to enhance curb appeal if your yard is buried in snow. But in spring, flowers are blooming – and in autumn, the leaves are changing. Temperatures are gentler. You can use nature’s influence to sway your real estate transaction.
Is Your Home in the Right Condition to Sell?
Before you can list your home, you’ll need to make sure it’s ready to show to buyers. When buyers tour properties, they want to find a home that’s move-in ready, in most cases.
There are those, however, who don’t mind buying a fixer-upper, but you’ll quickly discover those offers come in with much smaller price tags and may have more stringent terms.
If you’re not selling to an investor or a cash buyer, the buyer’s lender will require an inspection and appraisal.
During the inspection, the inspector surveys the property, including the land and the structure, to ensure that it’s free of any major problems such as faulty heating and air, plumbing, electrical, and roofing.
If problems are discovered, you are required to make repairs before closing, or there may be more dollar signs subtracted from your asking price so the new owner can make repairs.
The next step in getting your house prepped for listing is staging. Staging a property is when you spiff it up to its absolute best condition.
You’ll depersonalize the space by removing your personal effects such as family photos, kids’ drawings, religious or political items, and anything that might make a buyer feel more like they’re visiting your house rather than shopping for a home of their own.
After depersonalizing comes a deep clean, from baseboards to ceiling fans, and from the inside of the house to the out. It may be necessary to add fresh paint to the walls or shampoo the carpets.
Until your property is in tip-top shape, inside and out, you’re not quite ready to list your house for sale.
Once you know the reason you’re thinking of selling your house, you’ll be more prepared to move forward. If you’ve got time to spare to wait for a ripe market, you may want to hold on to your home.
But if it’s a seller’s market, you’ve got equity, and the seasons are in your favor, then strike while the iron is hot.
If you’re selling because of a divorce or financial hardship, speak with your real estate agent about the best way to move forward with listing your house for sale.
Have Questions? Ask Lindsay!
Give Lindsay Rice a call today at 703-223-8676 to set up a time to discuss your current and future real estate goals in regard to buying or selling a home. We look forward to working with you to make your goals a reality.