young family in kitchen

Timing the market, kids and schools: there are so many factors when it comes to deciding when (or if!) to list your home for sale.


Find out what you need to know before you decide to sell or stay.

When real estate prices are on the rise, it’s always tempting to sell. But should you sell your home? If you’ve been on the fence, now may be the time. Just be sure to consider these five things before pulling the trigger.

Equity advantage

During the housing bust, a huge percentage of homeowners saw their equity evaporate as home values dropped. Many even owed more than their houses were worth. No one wants to sell when it requires writing a check to the bank or listing as a short sale. And owners with equity definitely didn’t want to list knowing that lower sale prices would have eaten it all away.

If you’ve been waiting to sell for this reason, chances are, you now have a bit more positive equity in your home, thanks to recent market upswings. Maybe now is the time to consider that long-awaited sale and hopefully walk away with some equity intact.

Too big for your own good

You’ve grossly outgrown your current home — either it’s way too small after that second or third child or an elderly parent has moved in. If you’re in a home that’s too small for your immediate (and future) needs, this is the time to consider the jump to something a bit larger. Sale prices are solid, and you can take advantage of current interest rates before they start to climb.

Incredible shrinking family

What if you’ve recently joined the empty nester club? Maybe your oldest child has headed off to college, and you’ve realized it’s time to pack up that extra bedroom and ditch all that square footage. Selling now and downsizing has many perks — lower operating costs and less cleaning and maintenance, to name a few — so go for it, and take advantage of a move that enhances your new lifestyle.

Interest rates could light a fire

Interest rates aren’t going anywhere but up, so if you’re wondering when it would be the best time to get a good mortgage rate on a new home once you’ve sold your old one, the answer is now.

Rates are at historic lows and aren’t likely to go anywhere but north in the foreseeable future. Sell now, buy, and get in on those low rates for the long term.

Sell when you need to, don’t chase the market

Not ready? Don’t rush it. The bottom line: List when you need to. If you’re dealing with a job change, divorce, children, health issues, marriage, etc., and you really need to sell your current home right now (or don’t have the time or energy to get your home in market-ready shape), don’t try to chase the market in either direction.

When you sell and subsequently buy another house, there’s good news: If you’re selling low, then you’ll be buying low. And if you’re selling high, well, then you’ll be buying high. It’s a wash. Come to terms with the current market and sell your home for its current fair-market value. When you move on, be sure to buy a house you can afford, both now and in the future!