Deciding on When is the Best Time to Sell Your House

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by Elle Martinez · 7 comments

There are many homeowners who are anxiously waiting to put their homes for sale on the market, but who don’t aren’t sure if the timing is right. For those who are selling their homes for the first time, it can be stressful. No one can predict what will happen, but there are definitely times, when you can get a significant advantage with selling your house.

And no, I’m not going to say list your house to sell on a Thursday in the spring. I’m talking about how to analyze YOUR situation and YOUR house. Selling your house is more than using a few simple tricks to get the money you want. It’s really a mix of right and left brain thinking (with more focus on objective analysis than emotions).

Start with Why

One of the first things you can do to help you determine when is the best time to sell is going over exactly why you want to sell your house in the first place. Besides giving your an idea of what to look for in your next home, you can also get a better idea of the type of person or family that would find your house the perfect fit.

Perhaps you bought your house years ago, excited to be at a location where you could walk over to any number of community events. However as your situation changes and your family expands, you find your space a bit small for your needs and it’s too far from the schools you like.

You now have something to add to your buying checklist (good schools, bigger space), but you also have a selling point and a possible niche – singles and couples without kids looking to be in the middle of the action. When you get ready to stage the house, you know that’s what you’ll be highlighting to potential buyers.

Looking at the Numbers That Matter

I know most of us have emotional ties to our homes. After all, it’s more than a shelter for us, it’s a place where we’ve made many happy memories. BUT…. Selling a house is not about your sentimental feelings.

Now is the fun part – looking at the numbers. After all, selling a house is best handled as financial decision instead of simply an emotionally one. There will be plenty of numbers flying around, most of them noise and of no real help for you as you decide whether or not to sell.  However there are a few important ones you should have an idea on before you sell your house.

  • How much growth is your city having with real estate? What you’re basically looking for is whether or not people are moving into your city. Growth can mean more potential buyers (though not a slam dunk as your specific location in the city plays a huge role) which can mean more money for you when you sell.  If people are fleeing your city, don’t expect to get top dollar for it.
  • How much are comps selling for? I’m not a fan of keeping up with the Joneses, but being aware of what homes have sold for in your area is extremely handy. Look at the most recent comps (comparable homes) that have been sold in your neighborhood. If buyers seem to think homes in your neighborhood are worth a certain amount, then you have to have some fantastic features to convince them to pay more for your house (or more than likely, lower your expectations).
  •  What’s the minimum you need this how to sell for? While you may be flexible to some degree on how much you want to sell it for, you have an amount in mind as a minimum. If you’re planning on buying on another house, it does help to have a large down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance. Selling your house at the right price can make it much easier to get the dream house you want without going broke.

As you can probably guess from what I’ve shared, selling a house isn’t for the faint of heart or the sentimental (not if you want to maximize how much you get). It takes time and planning even before you put the house on the market.

Thoughts on the Right Time to Sell Your House

I’d love to hear your story on selling your house. What convinced you it was a good time to sell? How did you prepare your place to be sold? For those thinking about selling their homes in the next year, what are some of your concerns or thoughts? Why do you want to sell your home?

Photo Credit: roarofthefour

About Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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  • ATerribleHusband

    A buddy and I owned some rental property that I wanted to sell for years. We were listing the place for rent when one rental agent said he knew a guy who had money burning a hole in his pocket for property like that. We told him to give us an offer and it was much higher than we expected. We negotiated a bit, did a bunch of research on the market and then realized this offer was way too good to pass up. That’s how we knew!

    If we were selling one place and buying another we wouldn’t worry too much on timing because if the first place was down we could ride the market up in the second. In fact, we’d prefer to ride up the second to lock in a tax deduction for the loss on the first and then make it up on the second. :)

    • Elle Martinez

      So happy you got a great offer; nice to have someone with money to burn and happy share with you ;)

  • Holly Johnson

    We sold our house earlier this year and it went off without a hitch. I couldn’t believe it. After all of the horror stories I’ve heard, I thought it would be awful. But, no. We sold in 13 days for almost full asking price. It was crazy.

    • Elle Martinez

      Congrats Holly! Did you stay in the same city or did you guys decide to move?

      • Holly Johnson

        We moved about 30-40 minutes away due to my husband’s new job. But it was a no brainer. Nicer town with better schools!

  • The Student Loan Sherpa

    I like your approach. It definitely beats just trying to time the market.

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