Should I Sell My House?
Thinking about putting your home on the market? Before you do, you'll want to evaluate several different factors, including current housing market conditions, your own finances, and different selling strategies, to be sure you're making the right decision.
Here are a few considerations that you should take into account when attempting to answer the question, “Should I sell my home?”
Evaluate the Market
When selling your home, you'll first want to evaluate the current real estate market climate to determine whether or not you're choosing an optimal time to sell.
The best time to sell is during what's known as a “seller's market,” when there are more buyers looking for homes than there are properties for sale. When demand outpaces supply, it tends to drive up prices and competition, meaning chances are your home will sell faster and for a higher amount.
Conversely, a buyer's market is when the number of available properties outpaces demand, which will make it much harder to sell your home for an ideal price or in a reasonable amount of time.
During buyer's markets, it's generally advisable that you wait (if possible) until the scales tip back in your favor. Otherwise, you may not only have a hard time attracting a good offer — you could end up losing money on the sale.
Before selling, you'll want to evaluate housing market trends on national, regional, and local levels, as fluctuations often occur within specific areas independently of others.
Know Your Current Finances
They say you have to spend money to make money — and when it comes to selling a home, the expression definitely applies.
While most sellers are primarily thinking about the money they're going to earn, it's important to remember that the process of selling a home can actually be quite expensive.
Appraisal fees, home repairs, cleaning, inspections, agent commissions — these are just some of the costs you'll have to pay in order to get an optimal outcome on your sale.
Before you decide to sell, speak with an agent to get a better sense of a) how much you'll need to invest to ready your home for sale and b) what you can expect in terms of sale price, based on the recent performance of other similar homes in your area.
By weighing the cost of selling, the amount of equity you currently have in your home, and the projected sales price against one another, you should be able to decide if selling right now is worth it — or if it makes more sense to hold off for a few more years.
Do You Have Enough Equity?
Speaking of equity, this is an important number to assess. If you haven't built enough equity on your home, it may not make sense to sell yet — unless, of course, you need to move because of a job or another life event.
Put simply, equity is the amount of your house that you own compared to the amount you still owe on your mortgage loan. Selling with negative equity is typically a bad idea because it usually means you're going to lose money on the sale.
To determine how much equity you've built, take your mortgage statement and a comparative market analysis (CMA) that shows the current value of your home. Simply subtract your remaining mortgage balance from the market value of your home, and this will give you a rough sense of your current equity level.
You should have enough equity that, when your home sells, you'll be able to pay off the rest of your mortgage, plus the 20% down payment for your new home — ideally, your sale price will also cover your closing costs, moving expenses, and leave you with some net profit when all is said and done.
Do You Need to Sell or Just Want to Sell?
Of course, there are circumstances in which it always makes sense to sell, regardless of how much equity you've built.
This brings us to an important question: do you need to sell, or do you just want to?
Common reasons for needing to move (click to learn more):
- Your family is growing and you need more space
- Your kids are moving out and it's time to downsize
- You've recently gotten divorced
- You're starting a new job and need to move
- You're retiring
- Your income has decreased by a significant amount
- Your neighborhood is unsafe
- Your neighborhood is inconvenient
- You inherited a home and don't intend to live there
If none of the above apply to you, you'll definitely want to evaluate your current equity status and weigh the costs and efforts involved in the home selling process before deciding to pull the trigger and list your home for sale.
We recommend speaking with an agent to get a better sense of the process and whether selling now is a smart move, given your current situation.
Alternatives to Selling Your Home
If you currently have negative equity or the current seller's market shifts to favor buyers, there is another option: consider renting your home out.
Renting out your home is easier than you might think and can be a great source of supplemental income, freeing you up to make moves without being forced to lose money on the sale of your home.
To figure out if your property will generate a positive cash flow, calculate your monthly expenses (e.g., mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities (if you plan to include any of them in the rent, etc.) and subtract that value from the amount you expect to earn from your tenants each month.
Don't forget to factor in routine maintenance and repairs, management fees (if you're working with a third-party), potential vacancies, and any other expenses you might be taking on.
If it seems like you'd be earning a healthy profit, it could be a viable option. If you'd be netting a loss, selling may be a smarter approach.
Should You Sell Your Home Yourself or Work With an Agent?
Unless you have a background in real estate, selling your home by yourself is not recommended.
Many people opt to list their homes For Sale By Owner (FSBO) in an attempt to avoid paying commission fees to realtors — typically 6% of the final sale price.
In reality, FSBO-listed homes usually sell for less than those listed by real estate agents. What's more, only a small percentage of FSBO homes end up selling at all — and those that do often remain on the market for much longer than professionally listed properties.
It's also important to remember that the 6% commission is split between the two agents involved in the sale — the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. FSBO sellers will typically still have to pay the buyer's agent commission, meaning that they only end up saving about 3%, rather than the full 6%.
Keep in mind, when you choose to sell without the help of an agent, you're giving up a considerable amount. Their 3% commission usually includes a huge number of built-in services and advantages. They handle almost every aspect of the process, from marketing and listing your home, to managing showings and open houses, to negotiating with buyers, preparing paperwork, and the handling the actual closing itself.
How to Save Thousands on Agent Commission
Of course, you may still not want to give up 3% of your hard-earned equity to a third-party — and we don't blame you.
Luckily, there's another option: Clever Real Estate.
Clever partners with top-rated, local agents across the country to provide home sellers like you with full-service listing support at significantly discounted rates.
Clever Partner Agents work for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
Why are they willing to work for such low commission fees? Simple: independent agents have to spend a huge amount of their energy and resources on attracting and signing new clients. When agents partner with Clever, we provide that new business for them (for a small fee), enabling them to focus entirely on selling, which saves them a considerable amount of time and money — and those savings are then passed along to you, the seller.
If you'd like to learn more about how Clever can help you team up with a top-rated, local real estate agent for a fraction of the cost, feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call directly (1-833-2-CLEVER), or simply fill out our online form.
We look forward to hearing from you!