Throughout North America, many real estate markets are favoring sellers. Competition is high, with some properties pending sale within hours of being listed. It can be tempting to sell with the opportunity of a high return on investment. For some, choosing to list is a no-brainer; for others, the decision can be difficult, especially if you want to but you’re not sure if you should. If you’re on the fence, ask yourself some important questions beforehand to help you with your final decision.
How much is my home worth?
With the number of home valuation websites and apps available to homeowners today, it can be easy to stay up-to-date on the value of your home, but not every owner is aware of the value of their property. If you’re on the fence about listing, learn the current market value of your home. You can enlist a local real estate agent to run comps, or you can utilize an online home valuation tool for a general idea. If you set your sights on a special neighborhood, or are looking to buy bigger, the last thing you want is to find out your current home hasn’t appreciated enough in value to help you with a bigger down payment on a new one.
What are the costs of selling?
It’s pretty easy to underestimate the cost of selling your home if you’ve never sold a property before, and selling does cost you. Depending on all the factors that go into a home sale, it can get expensive. Your local agent can help you understand the total costs (and they’ll vary by city and other factors), but sellers can generally expect to pay (please note, these are all dependent upon your location and local real estate laws/regulations):
- Agent’s commission
- Staging and home preparation costs
- Seller concessions
- Repair costs (if any are determined by inspection or agreed upon by seller & buyer)
- Home ownership and overlap costs
- Closing costs
After all is said and done, a seller may end up paying a fair share in a home sale. If you’re thinking of selling, your local agent can help you understand the costs of selling in your area and help you gauge whether a home sale is right for you at the current time.
How long will it take?
Depending on where you live, listing your home could get you offers within hours. But this isn’t the case in every city – location and condition of the home are two of the biggest factors in how fast a property will sell. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days a home in the U.S. sat on the market in March 2021 was 18 days. Depending on your location and whether your house could use some work, the amount of time it will take to sell your property could be much shorter or significantly longer. To avoid the possibility of your home just sitting on the market, enlist the help of your local agent to pinpoint items to fix/update before listing to ensure the offers come flying in.
Should I make repairs?
As a seller, the reality is that you do not have to make repairs in order to list your home. But, if you happen to live in an area with a lot of inventory, or you know there are issues that will dissuade buyers from making an offer, it is in your best interest to make some repairs, especially if you have to sell your home by a certain date or need to ensure you get fair offers. If you have the time and budget, you can hire an inspector prior to listing to find out if there are any items that would come up on an inspection that a buyer would want fixed. This can help determine what you may want to improve/repair. Your agent can also help you understand any cosmetic changes/improvements you can do to help make your home more competitive on the market. Repairs and improvements are not a guarantee to a sale, but they can certainly help your home sell faster and even possibly help you get a larger offer.
Where do I want to move?
If you’re inclined to impulse and list your home on a whim, do you know where you want to move to? While selling a home for a job relocation or to be closer to family ensures a destination, listing without a thought to where you want to move can present problems, especially if your home sells fast or if your desired area/neighborhood has no inventory in your budget or preferred home size. Before you list, know your future plans. You can always have a contingency in your home sale that gives you some leeway for how long you have to move out of the property, but it’s better to have a set plan, or even a new home to move into, before your current home sells.
Listing your home in a sellers’ market can be an easy decision for those that are ready. But if you’re on the fence, you have time and the resources to figure out if it’s a good decision for you and/or your family.