A couple weeks ago, we talked about the New Hampshire housing shortage – a trend seen in many cities around the country. There are less homes available for a variety of reasons. Because of that, the current market is very competitive for buyers. That’s good news for sellers.
It may be a good time for sellers to list their properties, but is it the right time for you? Here are some guidelines to help you decide if you should sell your house and take advantage of this sellers’ market:
Your Space No Longer Suits Your Lifestyle
Maybe you’ve had a few kids since you first moved in, and now you’re bursting at the seams. Maybe you’ve become an empty nester, and there’s no reason to have five bedrooms anymore. Or maybe you’ve changed jobs, and you need to relocate to accommodate your new commute. Whatever the reason, moving is now non-negotiable. You need to sell your house.
If this is you, you’re in luck. The odds are in your favor that you’ll be able to sell relatively quickly: according to Realtor.com, the average U.S. home is currently on the market for 60 days. Just don’t forget that if you’re selling, you’re also probably buying a new property. Competition among buyers is fierce right now, so be prepared for that. Check out our post on preparing to buy a house.
You’ve Built Up Equity
Before you decide to sell your house, make sure you know where your home equity stands. The goal is to have put enough money in to your home to cover a down payment on your next home – at least 20%, so you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance. For most people, it takes about five years to reach that point. Waiting five years also gives you time to recover from the hefty closing costs before shelling out for selling fees and home improvement costs needed to sell your place.
Obviously that number is going to vary, and you can hit that point faster if you pay more on your mortgage. Run the numbers before you list your home. It could save you (or make you) thousands in the long run.
You Can Afford to Sell
Just like buying a house, selling comes with its own share of upfront costs. You may need to update your curb appeal to attract buyers, invest in upgrades throughout your home, and cover costs per a buyer’s request. You will also have to pay a realtor’s commission fees once your house sells. If you’re also buying a property, you’ll have a whole set of additional expenses to prepare for.
Selling your home is a massive project, especially if you’re planning to buy a new house. But if you begin the process with realistic expectations and healthy credit and finances, you can reap the benefits of a seller’s market.