Should I Stay or Should I go?
Thinking about selling your home but not sure if it’s a good idea? There are a few things to consider including your life circumstances and current financial situation. You’ll also want to understand the current market, the costs of selling your home, and your ability to finance your future living goals.
Determine why you want/need to sell your home
Most of the time, the decision to sell one’s home is due to a life change. You may be moving to a new city for a job change, downsizing once you become empty nesters, or you may need more space as you grow your family. It could be that you’re retiring and no longer need to live in the city, or perhaps a change in family situation (divorce, job loss, death, parents needing more support, etc) may provide the reason to sell.
Any of these life changes could necessitate the need to move and sell your home. But it could be just that you “want” to move. Maybe you want to move closer to work or to your children’s grandparents. Perhaps you want to move to a “nicer” or “safer” neighbourhood. Maybe you just want a change in lifestyle. Obviously needs outweigh wants, but don’t discount your wishlist when it comes time to consider whether moving is the right decision.
Whatever the reason, let’s find out if it makes sense to sell your home.
Gauge Your Current Finances
Determine how much your current home is worth and how much equity you have in it
While you can gather information on what comparable houses are listing for on your own, you will need to enlist the help of a realtor to compare what those homes are actually selling for. Because no two homes are exactly the same, a real estate agent can quickly compare the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage of the home, the condition of the home, the location and neighbourhood and any unique selling features your home may have. Your realtor will like at the combination of all of these factors to come up with a range in which your home is likely to sell.
Once you have a range that your home would sell for, you can calculate the equity you have built up in your home. Many people want to make sure they have enough equity for the downpayment on their next home as well as enough left over to cover the costs of selling (real estate and lawyer fees, disbursements, moving costs, etc). If after calculating, that is not your situation, your next step is to consider your financial situation.
Your Financial Situation
Beyond the equity in your home, do you have another source of money available to help with the sale and purchase of your next home? Consider if you are currently in a position to purchase another home or if you may need to rent for a period of time (e.g. if you recently became self-employed or have lost your job, getting a new mortgage may prove difficult). If your financial situation is not steady or if the numbers don’t make sense, it might be best to stay put until things stabilize.
If however, your finances are capable of covering the cost of the sale and purchase of your next home, let’s look at some other factors of selling your home.
Selling Your Home
How long will it take to sell your home?
If you are working within a timeline, knowing how quickly your home could sell is very important. A delayed sale could require you to delay a job opportunity, incur extra financial costs, or pass on the purchase of your dream house because you need to sell your home first. A realtor can look at the average days on market (DOM) for comparable homes in your local market. Days on market can be affected by a variety of factors including neighbourhood desirability, number of homes for sale, the season, and the condition of your home. While most of those factors are outside of your control, the condition of your home (and therefore its attractiveness to potential buyers) is within your control.
Is your home ready to sell?
Is your home well-maintained or is it outdated and in need of repairs? While we don’t recommend large renovations, there are a variety of repairs you can complete to make your home more attractive. A good realtor can also give you recommendations based on your neighbourhood and condition of other homes on the market.
dWe also always suggest depersonalizing and improving curb appeal. Both of these don’t require a large investment of time and/or money, but have a huge impact on how your house is perceived by potential buyers.
To list with an agent or not
In an ideal selling situation, you will have your finances in order and your home in selling condition. But we know we don’t always get to choose the situation we are put into. Sometimes emergencies happen and for one reason or another, you have to sell your home. Regardless of the situation, working with a realtor who has your back in negotiations is always your best bet. Your real estate agent knows the local market and the average days on market, can run comparables, and is well connected. They will ensure you get the best price for your home so you are set up for your future goals.