By Donna Fuscaldo
The decision to put your home on the market shouldn't be made in haste, but it also can't be dragged out. Economic uncertainty and rising mortgage rates are causing potential home sellers to flip flop in their decision making. And being non-committal to the process will hurt the selling price.
"It has become more commonplace for homeowners to put their homes on the market, but choose not to make the updates or repairs likely needed to more easily sell the home," says Rob Pajon, vice president of product and marketing at real estate company USRES/RES.NET. "In some cases, people are still unsure of whether selling is the right decision and might be emotionally attached to the home, which makes investing in major changes difficult."
There's no set formula to decide if you are ready to hang the "for sale" sign, but experts identify four signs that hint it's time:
You Have a Game Plan: Serious sellers typically have an idea of where their next home is going to be located. "Having a game plan, at least generally, as to where your replacement home will be, greatly helps determine the future," says Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist for Realtor.com. A game plan "is a motivating factor to some sellers."
What's more, having a general idea of the next neighborhood hinges on having an estimated listing price of how much home you can afford. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you sell your house and can't afford the new one, or you can't secure a mortgage because you don't have a large enough down payment.
You're No Longer Emotionally Attached to Home: "If you have any emotions about the home, you are really not ready to sell," says Brendon DeSimone, Zillow's real estate expert. "If you are still connected to it, you are not going to listen to your Realtor and you are not going to do what it takes to sell."
Sellers have to view their home as a product, no longer their home, he says.
You are Financially Ready to Make the Leap: Sellers ready to hit the market have usually perused real estate listing websites, checked out mortgage calculators and, in some cases, been pre-approved for a new mortgage.
"The first sign that homeowners are ready to sell is that they are financially ready," says Pajon. "The next sign is that they evaluate and determine they are financially prepared for the costs associated with purchasing a new home: taking into account the down payment, closing costs and moving expenses."
You are Ready to Make Changes: Sellers who are still emotionally attached to a home will likely resist major changes or upgrades, whether it's a new paint color or kitchen upgrades, which could compromise asking price and a quick sale.
"Nowadays, sellers have to invest the time and energy to do a little renovating," says DeSimone. "If you are not investing the time or energy to get it done then you really aren't ready."
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