It’s undeniably a great time to sell a house.
Buyers are out and they want more choices in homes for sale.
Sale prices are generally high.
The economy is good and people have money in their pockets.
But are you ready to part with your home?
1. Equity is the key question.
You need to know how much your home is worth and it’s probably best to consult a real estate agent on this question. You need to know how much you owe on your home. Value minus mortgage balance gives you a picture of your equity.
Strong credit scores will help you score a new mortgage quickly. If your credit score is low, consider taking some time to raise your score before you make a move.
2. Cost of the move.
You have to live somewhere and you are going to have to pack up and that usually means professional movers. Cash on hand, plus a little elbow grease, should be the ticket.
Be sure to figure in the costs of painting and fix-up.
3. Does your existing home fit?
Put aside emotion for a moment. You may have raised kids in a lovely multi-bedroom two-story home. Lots of memories there, but do you need this particular home right now?
Aging sellers might want a ranch style home with no stairs, fewer bedrooms (who needs to clean that big house?), less yard work, or a
convenient location near the grandkids.
Younger sellers might need more room for kids, enough land for a garden, or a location close to work.
4. A change in lifestyle.
Older homeowners especially may be living in a pile of equity that could finance a new retirement lifestyle: Travel, a retirement living community, or just cash for living expenses.
One consideration: If you live in a high-cost housing market, your money will be worth so much more in the more rural areas in Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas, upstate New York, or northern Maryland — the least expensive housing markets in the country.
As an example, a 1,200 square foot home in California might cost $300,000, but a similar home in one of these areas could cost about $50,000. Or build one for about $120,000. That leaves you with a nice nest egg for travel and enjoying a slower-paced life.