Two homeowners living on the same street in very similar houses could have very different ideas about how long they plan to live in their houses. Most of us buy homes for specific times in our lives—whether it’s the starter home you buy as a young couple with no kids, that long dreamt-about “forever home” you hope to stay in for 20-plus years, or an investment property in a vacation town nearby. So if you have no reason to leave the area you’re living in, it can be hard to know when it’s the right time to sell your home (or if you should at all). There are signs, though—both tangible and intangible—that will reveal themselves to you when it is time to put your home on the market. Here’s how you’ll know you (and your home) are ready to enter the real estate game.
You’ve Outgrown Your House
Life happens fast, and while you were busy getting married and having a couple kids, you could look up one day and realize four of you are squeezed into a house you bought as a single person nearly 8 years ago. Ideally the value of your home (and your family’s income) has increased while you’ve owned it so that upgrading to a larger home when you need to is a feasible option. But even if it’s not the best time for the market to sell your house, the longer you keep waiting, the more stressful your living arrangements will become. Sometimes you simply have to bite the bullet and go for it—and trust that your next home will make all of it worthwhile.
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It’s a Seller’s Market
If you’re wanting to make a profit on your house, the timing of the market can sometimes trump the personal timeline you had for how long you’d live in your current home. According to Realtor.com, three signals you should keep an eye on that point to this being the time to sell are: “The price per square foot in your area is increasing, the amount of time properties stay on the market is decreasing, and you’ve noticed an uptick in brokerage activity in your neighborhood.” It’s especially important to do your research on what’s happening in your neighborhood. If homes similar to yours are selling at prices higher than you’d thought you could list your home for, it might be time to make a move.
You’re Feeling House-Poor
You may notice it immediately, or it might take a couple years to realize the costs associated with owning your house are more than you bargained (and budgeted) for. Between mortgage payments, property taxes, and regular maintenance, your home could be costing you way more than the expert-recommended percentage of your income: around 25 percent. This may mean selling before you had planned to, but having your personal finances in order is always a better option than owning a beautiful home that only brings you stress.