The first step in selling your home is, of course, deciding whether it is TIME to sell. Have you outgrown your current home? Is it too large and do you want to downsize? Are you ready to move up to a nicer home or down to a smaller one? Ready to change neighborhoods, schools, or towns?
If you have a choice in whether or not to sell your home (i.e., if it’s not a job transfer or other life change dictating the move) let’s discuss some of the factors you’ll want to consider.
If you are UP sizing to a more expensive home then a good time to move is when the market is LOW. You’ll get less for your current home, but will get a better deal on the home you’re purchasing. Conversely, if you are downsizing then you may consider it better to move when the market is HIGH so you can maximize the return on your current home. Know that whether the market is “high” or “low” often depends upon the price range you are considering and the area of town. Best to consult a real estate professional to discuss your specific situation in order to plan what is right for you.
Even if committed to moving, many potential sellers want to find out if there is a home they want to move TO before they put their current home on the market. Not a bad idea. But unless you can purchase a new home without selling your current home, do not get too invested in finding the “perfect” home before you sell your current home. Your goal should be to see if there are houses (more than one) you would like to move to so that you are comfortable putting your home on the market. But chances are that if you fall in love with one particular home, THAT home will be sold by the time you get your home on the market, get it under contract, and are ready to write an offer. So on the exploratory search the goal should be to determine whether there is likely to be a home you will be happy moving into when your home sells.
In other words, it is somewhat of a leap of faith. You put your home on the market trusting that you will find the “right” home to move into when the time comes. Of course, you have some control over this process since if you price your current home correctly it should sell quickly. But know that few if any sellers will agree to a “sale of property” contingency if your home is not at least under contract.
Here is how that works: if you must sell your current home to purchase a new one, then you submit an offer for that new home with a contingency stating that your purchase of the new home is contingent on the sale of your current home. From the perspective of the seller who you are making that contingent offer to, it would be quite risky to agree to that contingency if your current home is just “on the market” and not yet under contract. There’s no guarantee that your home will sell quickly – and the seller is taking their home off the market if they get under contract with you.
So consider the market, the neighborhood, and your personal circumstances. This may be the perfect time for you to move. Generally, prices are rising but interest rates are still low.