We are often asked the question: “Is this the best time to sell?” My answer is consistent, regardless of markets. “The answer is not simple. I need to know LOTS more.”
Yes, there may be times when the market is a super-hot seller’s market. But deciding on whether to sell or not should be something that is not based purely on whether you will maximize the selling price. Here are some of the questions I ask of sellers before answering the question:
1. Where do you plan to live if you were to sell?
2. What is your motive to sell: is it simply to maximize your profit, or do you have other reasons?
3. How long have you owned the home and what have you invested into the property?
4. What are your monthly costs to own and operate this home?
5. Do you have a mortgage? Is it a fixed rate mortgage?
6. How does the cost of your home match your net worth and income? What percentage of your net worth does the home represent?
7. What are the current market conditions in your specific classification and location. What are the projected longterm trends?
8. How new/old is your renovation/condition of your home? When might it need renovation? If recently renovated, when might its added value to the consumer start to fade?
9. Have you seen the properties your compares closest to to better understand what they are listed for, what has recently closed and what was recently signed? A COLLECTION can be helpful here.
10. Will your home need repairs, additional maintenance, renovation, assessments, higher real estate insurance/taxes in the coming months and years? Do you have a complete accounting on estimates for cost?
11. How much time do you have? This is a brutal question. But possibly the most important one. Too many people delay decisions forgetting how time erodes opportunity and enjoyment. I have seen old relatives suffer difficult circumstances in their huge homes with lots of stairs waiting for a better time to sell….then suffering a fall. What was the value of the potential upside of a higher sale price compared to the QUALITY of life had they moved into a simpler single-floor home without stairs? How long do kids live with you before they are off to college? Are you willing to sacrifice your need for space for the PERFECT time to sell? If you are buying a larger home, selling in a down-market may have an upside on the BUY side.
These are just 11 questions I ask. There are many more. No real estate evaluation should be over-simplified with generic answers based on averages. Each person’s home and circumstances are very different. No human or home is an average. A home is a substantial investment requiring serious analysis, evaluation and consideration. Yes, we need to help simplify these matters, but over-simplifying them is not in the best interests of the consumer. Balance-sheet thinking should replace transaction obsession.
The above demonstrates yet again how the services professional agents go well beyond the mere transactional duties. Substantive, non-googleable or non-do-it-yourself advisory with real fact-based insight is an invaluable service that most are very willing to pay for.