Once, long, long ago, you fell in love with your house. Admit it. Sure, you read all the books that told you to buy with your head, not your heart. But unless you’re a professional real estate investor, you felt a spark. Maybe it was only an infatuation. Maybe it matured into true love. You coveted the place so much that you applied for a loan, paid for inspections, committed to a mortgage, waded through the paperwork of closing, footed the bill for closing costs, and, oh yeah, scraped together the bucks for a down payment.
Now you want to do it all again. There are a variety of reasons people choose to sell, but typically there are a combination of factors that contribute to the decision to sell. Here are some important factors you should take into account when making this big decision.
Space-If you plan to buy up, do you actually need more space because of a growing family or a newly launched home business? Or do you and your spouse simply each want a private den? If you’ve chosen to downsize, consider whether finances require the move, or if you’ve just grown tired rattling around a big house now that the kids are grown.
Privacy-Some people who say they want a bigger house really want more privacy. The family of four wants a place where Josh can play his Nintendo games full blast, where Susie can practice her ballet, and where mom and dad can watch PBS in peace. Since all these activities involve noise, this family should consider a standalone home, one in which they can get as loud as they like without disturbing each other or the neighbors.
Finances-You may sell your house to bring in some cash to pay off other debts, and that’s fine. Just make sure that you are going to walk away from the deal with enough money to do so. If you’re selling your house because you’re making more money and like the prestige of a new home, consider whether you want to buy the largest house available in your current neighborhood or whether you want to go for a more modest home in the classiest area of town.
If you are laid off and looking at a long unemployment haul, you may face the unpleasant choice of selling your house or being foreclosed upon. You need to get out of your mortgage payments.
Job-If you’ve been transferred from Colorado to Missouri, and you’re unwilling to deal with the hassle of acting as a long distance landlord, you have to sell your house.
Divorce-The end of a marriage often entails the sale of a house. What Do You Want from Your New Place? After analyzing your reasons for selling your house, think about what you want from your new neighborhood and your new home; then take steps to make sure you get what you want.
Location-If you want a peaceful atmosphere, relatively crime and noisefree, consider moving into a gated, deed restricted community. (Deed restrictions regulate homeowners’ conduct. The restrictions can limit everything from the color you paint your house to the pets you can own to the hours you are allowed to play your opera.) If you want a better education for the kids, call up the school board in the area you’ve targeted and ask for districtwide results of standardized tests.
For most homeowners, the decision to sell is not made lightly. If you find yourself with a growing list of needs that aren’t being met by your current home, it’s probably time to go. When finances are your biggest motivation, it may be less of a choice and more of a necessity. If you can’t make your mortgage payments, then you have to sell.