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How to Tell When You’re Ready to Sell Your Home

There are more signs to look for than you might have expected.

January 24, 2019

By David Dyck

Owning a house, especially in a city as booming as Vancouver, is an enormous financial and emotional responsibility, which makes deciding when to sell it difficult—and stressful. There are many factors to consider, among them the current state of the market and how much equity you’ve built up.

According to Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President at RE/MAX of Western Canada, the three most important factors when considering selling your home are personal timing, preparation of the property and choice of Realtor.

“The most important thing to consider when deciding to sell is your lifestyle choice,” Ash notes. “The decision to move should never be based on hype and market price.”

If the flame you once felt for your property has started to cool off, here’s are a few other indications that it might be time to put your home on the market.

1. Equity is in Your Favour

If the amount you would get for your house would cover the rest of your mortgage—or better yet, leave you with extra money—it may be a good time to sell. Additionally, if you’ve paid off any loans that you took out to finance your home, you’re in a great position to start exploring your options.

2. Renovations are Complete

You might have put a lot of time, energy and money into a new bathroom or kitchen. These renovations likely raised the value of your home—and your equity to boot. If your home is up-to-date and undertaking any more improvements won’t increase its value further, it could be a good time to sell.

Check the value of the other houses in your neighbourhood. An easy way to do this is to punch your address into RE/MAX’s Home Estimate Tool, which generates an estimate of a home’s fair market value based on historical home price trends, recently sold comparable homes and tax assessments in the home’s neighborhood. If the condition of your house is similar to the highest priced houses in your area, you might already have done enough to merit a great offering price.

3. You Don’t Have to Sell Any Time Soon

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? This moral applies to selling your home, too. You’re in a better position if you aren’t in a rush to sell. Buyers have an advantage if they know you’re motivated to sell, and it can be a stressful experience to sell on a deadline. If you’re able to take your time with the sale, put your house on the market and be selective about the offers given to you.

4. Your Lifestyle Has Changed

Lifestyle changes have an enormous impact on the decision to sell a home. A child on the way or teenagers moving out can signal a new chapter in your life that necessitates a change. Maybe you’d like to be closer to friends or family, or you’ve started a new job that requires a longer commute. Whatever the reason, life changes sometimes, and moving to a more suitable home is a smart financial and emotional choice.

5. Your Neighbourhood Has Changed

Much like the families that call them home, neighbourhoods change over time. It could be that your Strata rules are becoming too strict, there are more renters than owners moving into your neighbourhood or the amenities don’t match your current needs. Families with younger children often aim to be closer to schools and parks, for instance. If you’ve outgrown your neighbourhood, it might be a good time to start looking at the market.

As helpful as doing your homework can be, it’s important to consult with a real estate professional before taking the leap. According to Ash, homeowners should even interview multiple realtors before settling on one.

“What you’re looking for is someone who you feel [is] going to give you the advice and direction that you need in selling your home,” Ash says. “You’re hiring someone to fulfill a position — that’s really the best way to look at it.”

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