If you’ve been on the fence deciding to sell your home, we’ve got good news: It’s a great market for sellers! Limited inventory continues to drive home prices up, and the latest data from the National Association of Realtors shows that 46% of recently sold properties spent less than a month on the market. Of course, the decision to sell your home isn’t solely based on market conditions. You have to take your personal situation into account — and that’s where expert advice comes in handy.
We asked Linda Domis, a Los Angeles-area real estate Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) with 38 years of experience, to share her advice.
“Now is a great time to sell,” she says. “Longer days during daylight saving time mean more hours for buyers to look at property. With less stress, buyers can think about a move more comfortably.” Here are a few other things to keep in mind before planting a For Sale sign in your yard.
1. You’re Out of Debt With Cash in the Bank
If you didn’t have all your financial ducks in a row your first time around the home buying block, you probably learned a few things the hard way. Like the fact that Murphy can smell broke from miles away. If it can go wrong, it will! Put those lessons to good use and be a money-smart home buyer the next go-round! Start by taking a hard look at your finances. If you’ve paid off all your non-mortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that’s a good sign you’re 4 Signs Now’s the Right Time to Sell Your Home advanced notice SEPTEMBER 2015 financially mature enough to purchase a home again.
2. You’ve Got Equity on Your Side
When the housing bubble burst, home values plummeted, sending many mortgages underwater. Thankfully, the tide has turned. According to CoreLogic, 89% of homes with a mortgage ended 2014 with positive equity. If you’re not sure where your equity stands, ask an experienced RE/MAX Advanced real estate agent to provide a free comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine an approximate value for your home. Linda says it’s worth the sale “if your home has recovered enough value to provide at least 20% equity for your next purchase.” Why is 20% the magic number? Because putting 20% or more down on a home keeps private mortgage insurance (PMI) at bay. That could save you hundreds of dollars each year!
3. Your Home No Longer Fits Your Lifestyle
Another factor to consider is how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps you could use another bedroom (or even two) to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize. “Empty nesters can really benefit from selling now while rates are low,” Linda says. “It’s very freeing to sell a large home, pay cash for a smaller one, and invest the rest in your retirement.” Whether you’re sizing up or down, make sure your mortgage fits your budget. I recommend keeping your monthly payment to 25% or less of your take home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
4. You Can Actually Afford the Move
Don’t get so carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of leaving your current one. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.
David L. “Dave” Ramsey III is an American
financial author, radio host, television personality,
and motivational speaker. His show and writings
strongly focus on encouraging people to get out of debt.
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