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How to Know When to Sell Your House

Selling a home can be a complicated decision with a lot of different factors to take into consideration. Whether you're looking to downsize, relocate, or want a change, there are several signs that can help you make an informed decision on when it's the best time to put your house on the market.

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Changing Needs for Your Life

If there's anything true about life, it's that things change. The home you bought years ago may not fit your needs if your family is growing or your kids have moved out. Other times, a new job, marriage or divorce, retirement, or other life events leave you needing a different space.

Equity and Market Factors

It's crucial to understand your home's current value compared to the purchase price and to keep an eye on the housing market. Do you have enough equity in your home to afford closing costs, repairs, and other costs to sell your house? If yes, is the housing market favoring sellers or buyers? Lastly, consider your goals and decide if you want to leverage your equity for other investments or put it towards a different house that would suit your needs better.

Neighborhood and Community Changes

As times change, your neighborhood or community may not meet your needs anymore. Changes in school quality, nearby major construction, and other factors can affect your property's value quite a bit. Work with a real estate agent to assess how these changes might affect your experience living in your home and your long-term property value.

Financial Factors

Selling while prices are high means you also have to buy while prices are high or afford current rental prices. If you decide to buy again, check out our Cross Collateral Home Loan so you can buy your new home now and sell your current house later. Think about things like rising maintenance costs, property taxes, and interest rates as you review your finances and decide if those costs will become a burden as time goes by. Suppose you're struggling to meet your mortgage payments, or you've gained a lot of equity. In that case, selling can help alleviate the financial strain you might be feeling.

Before putting your home on the market, crunch the numbers to see whether you can afford to buy another property if that's your plan. You'll want to review your finances to determine what size loan you may be able to qualify for and how much you can safely spend on a mortgage each month (check out our mortgage calculator to run a few different scenarios).

Home Repairs and Upgrades

Take a good, hard look at the condition of your home. Are any repairs cosmetic or more involved? Would those repair costs outweigh your potential return on investment? If yes, selling could be a better option. On the other hand, if you're already done with upgrades and renovations, playing up those improvements and upping your house's curb appeal can help to increase its market value (and sale price).

Emotional Readiness

Are you emotionally ready to sell? Homes come with many memories, sometimes making it difficult to let go when it's time to sell. Before considering putting a for sale sign in your yard, make sure you're totally ready to say goodbye.

Future Goals and Plans

This one should be near the top of your list so you can set up your future self for success. Whether that means moving to a different area, traveling, retiring, or something else, keep that in mind when deciding to sell your house.

Seasonal Considerations

Historically, more people buy homes in the spring and summer than at any other time of year, with the market starting to grow as early as February. Blooming trees and flowers in combination with bright, sunny days help houses to look their best; plus, many buyers are looking for houses during the spring so they can move in during the summer when the weather is better. Because inventory is higher, you'll need to increase your curb appeal to help your house stand out against the others for sale. Selling during the summer months means less competition and curb appeal is still high. Specifically, buyers with school-age kids might send you more serious offers and want to close quickly so they can move in before the school year begins. Housing inventory goes down as the colder months set in during fall and winter. This means demand to buy goes down as well, but that does mean your house will be one of the few listed and available to buy, even if it does take a bit longer to sell.

When Not to Sell Your Home

While there isn't really a perfect time to sell your house, the worst time is when your home has a major unfinished project (in the middle of repairing the foundation, for example) or it needs significant work done. The types of projects that would-be buyers may want to avoid taking on are a leaky roof, rotting siding, septic tank repair, plumbing or electrical work, structural issues such as a bowing foundation, and things like that. Buyers are much more willing to overlook an unpainted fence or other small project. Before selling, consider having an inspection done yourself so you can get ahead of any necessary repairs before finding out about them when the buyer's inspection comes back with a deal breaker.

WaFd Bank is Here to Help

With over 100 years of experience, we know a thing or two about buying and selling homes. Our knowledgeable bankers are here for you every step of the way, and no question is too small. Plus, you can submit documents and receive status updates in our secure online portal. Check out all our mortgage options to see what might be right for you, stop by your local branch or find a friendly loan officer ear you, or give us a call at 800-324-9375 to learn more.

All loans subject to credit approval.


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