Have you outgrown your home? Do you need another bedroom, a bigger garage, a larger yard? Do you need to move to be closer to work or your children’s school? Have your kids flown the coop and now you’re looking to downsize your house and upsize your lifestyle? Are you just ready for a sea change?
Whatever your motivations, selling your house is an important decision. For many though, the need to sell your home may not coincide with the best market conditions.
Know the Market
Be informed. Keep an eye on property in your area – are houses selling, how long are they on the market for, what type of buyers are interested in properties like yours? Scan the real estate listings for your area and get to know the prices of properties – are prices climbing, falling or stagnating?
Market conditions may not always work in your favour; however, if prices are dropping in your area, chances are they are also lower in the area in which you are looking to buy, so even if you sell your house for less than you expect, you may purchase your new one for less as well.
Beware real estate agent smooth talk. Agents are out to secure your listing, so they may tell you what you want to hear. They may try to sway you with a high sell price or chatter about how ‘hot’ the market is and how quickly they can sell your property. They may intimate that they have a list of buyers interested in properties similar to yours. The more informed you are going into discussions with potential agents, the better!
Leave Emotions at Home
Don’t let sentimentality cloud your judgment. Although selling your home is often an emotionally turbulent time, don’t let emotions get in the way of prudent financial decision-making. Although you may believe your home is “worth more”, take care to compare your expectation with the market value of similar properties.
Timing is Everything
Some times of the year are better for sales than others. Sales tend to slow over the Christmas period, so you may wish to wait until the new year before listing your property. Spring is seen as the most popular season to buy a house (and so it would be a good time to sell one!). As the dreary greys of winter give way to the burgeoning colours of spring, spirits are lifted and buyers hit the market in search of their new homes. According to industry stats, real estate agents report selling 20% more properties in spring (on average) than in any other season. Although this slows down during the Christmas period, sales trend towards picking up in the new year and tapering out again in late autumn and over the winter months.
Preparation is Key
Regardless of season, if your home isn’t ready for the market then you won’t be doing yourself (or your sell price) any favours. Make sure your house puts its best foot forward when it hits the market and finish off any half-completed renovations, tidy the garden and de-clutter and re-style the interior to really highlight the features. First impressions are extremely important; you want your home to wow buyers. A clean, bright, liveable space is sure to impress, so take the time to get your property ready before pushing it out on the market. And it’s the detail that counts – fresh flowers and the smell of coffee are unbeatable.
Ready, Set – SOLD!
Selling your home often means buying a new one, which can be an exhilarating time. It’s also the perfect opportunity to reassess your home loan provider. Mortgage products vary widely and new products come on to the market all the time, so compare lenders thoroughly to make sure you’re getting the best mortgage possible for your new home and circumstances.