Deciding to sell your home is one of the biggest property decisions you’ll ever make, but the right preparation and research will make the process as smooth as possible.
If you’ve outgrown your current home, found your dream home for buying, or if you’re downsizing, selling your home can be an emotional roller coaster, full of excitement, nerves, and hopefully, relief at a great outcome.
Before we move on to selling strategies and procedures let me help you with appraisal and decision-making. Don’t rush to list your house if you’re not ready to sell. Unfinished repairs, neglected maintenance, and a bad first impression can all keep your house on the market for a longer period of time.
Selling your house is a big decision in one’s life. Discuss with your family members and friends before reaching a decision to sell your house. Clarify your goals and make sure it’s the right time to sell. Choosing when to buy or sell a home is one of those crucial financial planning decisions that will have a lasting impact on your journey to financial independence.
The right time to sell your home depends on your circumstances, but there are some common reasons people decide to sell.
Any of the situations below could be factors when considering the best time to sell your home:
- A growing family.
- A job transfer.
- A need arises to unlock capital.
- Realising profit from an investment.
- You can no longer afford to keep the property.
- An opportunity arises that is too good to refuse.
- Funding retirement.
- Inherited property to be distributed among legal heirs.
Generally speaking, it’s best not to sell a property during times of upheaval in your life or when you are unable to showcase the property in its best possible light.
Whether you are relocating for work, moving to a more desirable neighborhood, making room for a growing family, or downsizing you need to take steps to make sure that your house is ready to sell. The peak season for selling a home in most housing markets across the country is typically after the holiday season when most expatriates are on leave. However, there are some strategies that you can put into action to help sell your home regardless of the season or current economic conditions that are out of your control.
Before you move forward with selling your home, start by answering these questions:
- Why do I want to sell?
- What will a new home offer that my existing home does not?
- Do I need to sell within a certain amount of time?
- How much preparation or repair work is needed to sell my home?
- Do I have enough equity in my home to make a down payment on a new house and/or achieve other financial goals?
- Is making a profit on the sale of my home a must? If so, how much of a profit?
- Should You Sell with an Agent or on Your Own?
- When Is the Best Month to Sell a House?
- Who is successful at selling homes like yours in your neighborhood?
- How quickly are homes selling?
- What types of homes are selling?
- How does your home compare to those that are selling?
- How much fixing up will you have to do?
- Do you really have the time to handle the renovation?
- Whether you’re selling your first home filled with family memories or downsizing for retirement?
- Are you ready to put in the work to get your house ready for house hunters?
- Are you committed to keeping it ready to show for weeks or months?
- Are you ready to hear the reasons why potential buyers believe your home is not perfect?
- Are you ready for honest-and sometimes hardball-negotiations over what buyers are willing to pay for your home?
- Are you really ready to move out and leave the place where your family has made memories?
Selling your home is an emotional issue, too. Before you plant the “For Sale” sign in the front yard, take a minute to answer above questions.
Selling your home-especially if you’ve never done it before-can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging. Strangers will come into your home and poke around in your closets and cabinets. They will criticize a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and then, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it’s easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes, but with a little know-how, you can avoid many of these pitfalls altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable time frame-without losing your mind.
Downsizing or for any reason when selling your home: Overcoming the Emotions
If you never thought you were sentimental about your home, try putting it up for sale. Suddenly every nook and cranny is the spot of some special event or sweet memory. But don’t let emotions keep you from downsizing your home.
Downsizing could bring great benefits to you, your family, and your finances. But to cash in on those benefits, you’ll first have to overcome your emotions.
The decision to downsize your home can be difficult to make-and following through can be even tougher, even when you know it’s the best move to make. To save yourself from staying stuck in a home that’s not right for you, try to understand why you feel emotional about selling your home.
Sad to leave your memories behind: You raised your kids and made a million memories within the walls of your home. The thought of leaving them may break your heart, but I’ll give you some tips for keeping the most important memories with you.
Guilt from family: Your adult children might make you feel guilty for leaving the place that holds their childhood memories. But never let your grown-and-gone kids dictate your living situation! Besides, think of how much fun the grandkids will have making new memories when they squeeze into your smaller, cozier house for the holidays.
Afraid of change: Are you paralyzed by all the unknowns that come with downsizing your home? Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by all the work your home needs before it goes on the market. I get it. But when you get a clear plan together, you’ll calm your fears.
Moving to a smaller home might be a humbling experience-especially if your friends have large houses and won’t understand your decision. But are those really the kind of “friends” you want? Me neither. Besides, they’re probably just as stuck in that fake-rich life. Who knows, maybe when you’re free to live like no one else, you will inspire them to follow.
I have personal experience of emotional attachment preventing me to sell my house in F-11 Islamabad when an opportunity existed for buying three new houses of the same size in DHA 2 Islamabad in 2005-6. My sons refused to leave the home and neighborhood where they grew up.
Are you Selling the inherited house?
Before selling the family inherited house there are a few things to be settled for the best-selling price.
Get the property on the names of all legal heirs first. It could be on one of the legal heirs if the release deed is made and registered in favor of one legal heir.
All legal heirs should be present and most importantly all must be willing to sell.
Do you have the time or cash available to fix up the property? Is the inheritance contested? Will the people who will inherit the property all be involved in the decision-making? And since any proceeds would immediately have to pay off outstanding debts before being distributed to the heirs?
Vacant or occupied . Which house sells better?
An occupied House often takes longer than a vacant house to sell. However, there are markets where an occupied house is preferred to a vacant one. If the home is rented it may need face-lifting to attract a buyer.
Here are the reasons why vacant homes tend to sell faster than the ones occupied by their owners or tenants,
- It is a lot easier to carry out extensive repairs and renovations such as loft conversions or brick veneer panels. There’s no need to cram every possession into one room while the floorboards of the upstairs rooms are lifted up.
- Vacant homes are easy for buyers to tour at their convenience and agents like a house they can show at any time. The chances that a real estate agent will show your home are increased as well. They don’t have to call you and make an appointment, they can simply go over and show the house.
- No pressure to clean: The seller isn’t under continual pressure to keep their home in immaculate showing condition and spotless at all times. With small children, this can be almost impossible to do, even if one of the parents does not hold a job outside of the home.
- Less inconvenience: For starters, a homeowner is not interrupted at inopportune times to show the home. A seller doesn’t have to go out into the yard or walk around the block while buyers are looking at their homes.
- Many times, home buyers want a “move-in ready” property – one that doesn’t require much work and elbow grease before moving in. This is especially true of younger buyers, 76% of whom say a move-in ready home is a must. An occupied house may take longer for handing over to the buyer.
Consider Your Motivation
Explore your reasons for selling. Maybe this isn’t the ideal time for you to sell if you aren’t really committed. Perhaps the current market isn’t ideal.
Try comparing the pros and cons-staying a while longer versus selling right now-in a written list to determine if you’re making the right move. Talk to trusted professionals and gather opinions.
How does the property cycle work?
You may be familiar with the concept that the property market moves in a cycle – prices rise, fall, stabilize and then rise once more.
While the names of each stage differ slightly depending on who you talk to, it is agreed that the property cycle is made up of four key phases:
The value stage: Prices are flat, leading many people to believe it’s a good time to buy.
The growth phase: Prices begin to rise, slowly at first, before picking up pace.
The peak: This marks the top of the market. Prices will have increased very rapidly – as much as 20 percent year on year – but will have reached the highest point of the cycle.
The correction: Prices moderate. People often equate a correction with a crash, but sometimes a correction is simply a long, slow period where prices stagnate.
Together, the whole cycle generally takes about seven to 10 years, and ideally, one full cycle will see the price of property double.
The factors that contribute to one phase will directly lead to the next phase of development.
After a period of stability, people will regain confidence in the market and start buying and investing, which leads to price growth.
As prices grow, more and more people become eager to buy, which quickens the pace of price rises.
Eventually, affordability constraints will lead to prices peaking, before undergoing a correction to bring prices back from their heights.
Once prices hit this trough, a period of some stability ensues, and the cycle begins over again.
The phases, though, don’t transition purely of their own accord. There are a vast number of external factors that play a role.
Regardless of which phase the market is in, the following are factors that should always be considered as part of your buying and selling decision:
How much you can afford funds for your next purchase.
Broader economic outlook and unemployment rates.
Local infrastructure projects.
The rate of property price growth or declines.
Vacancy rates for investment properties.
Whether there are available properties that suit your needs.
Additionally, property cycles can be much more localized than most people recognize. For example, it is unusual for every Pakistani city to be in the same stage of the cycle simultaneously, as each market operates independently of the others.
Within each city, each suburb can be subject to its own property cycle. One particular area may experience rapid growth thanks to a new shopping center being constructed while the next suburb sees little to no growth.
In my real estate career, I have seen a designer-made house that could not be sold for 5 years and ist still in the market due to its bad neighborhood and dilapidated roads leading to the house.
Is it better to sell your home furnished or unfurnished?
Selling an empty house vs. furnished – which is better? The opinion is divided. Some say that potential buyers are more likely to see the appeal of a house if it’s furnished, while others say that furnishing a house for sale is expensive, inconvenient, and not worth the effort.
Whether you sell your house furnished or unfurnished will likely come down to your personal preference and situation, but to make the decision easier, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of each option below.
Pros of selling a house furnished
Most vendors who sell a property with furnishings do so either because it’s the easiest option (such as if they’re living in the property) or because they recognize that furnishings can impact a house’s perceived liveability.
- Furnishings can help prospective buyers get a better picture of how the space can be used
- Increases the aesthetic appeal of a property, making it seem like a home rather than a house
- Helps cover up small imperfections like chipped paint, marks on the carpet etc.
- A beautifully furnished house can add to its perceived value and help attract a higher price tag.
Cons of selling a house furnished
- On the other hand, choosing to sell a house furnished can mean extra work and costs, and using the wrong furnishings can do more harm than good.
- It’s inconvenient if you’re aiming to sell and move out as quickly as possible, and don’t want to leave furniture removal to the last minute
- Can be expensive if you use professional staging services or hire furnishings for the purpose of selling the property
- Leaving furnishings in can make the space look smaller
- Unattractive furnishings can detract from the home’s aesthetic appeal
Pros of selling a house unfurnished
- Vendors typically decide to sell properties unfurnished because it tends to be more convenient and less costly. In some cases, showing a property unfurnished also adds to its perceived value because it appears more spacious and clean.
- Typically less expensive to sell a house unfurnished as furniture hire and staging costs don’t apply
- Showcases a property’s maximum space and core architecture, which some buyers prefer
- Lack of furnishings means one less thing to worry about for showings – an unfurnished property can be inspected at a moment’s notice, which could see it sell quicker
Cons of selling a house unfurnished
- On the other side of the coin, an unfurnished home can lose some of its character and aesthetic appeal to potential buyers. It’s also more difficult to hide imperfections if a home is unfurnished.
- Potential buyers could be turned off by a blank slate and have trouble visualizing how they might furnish the property themselves
- An empty home can seem dull and lifeless
- Could seem like the property has been on the market for a long time or cause speculation about why the owners were so quick to leave
- Lack of furnishings means nothing goes unnoticed, including imperfections
So, should you sell furnished or unfurnished? The answer is that it depends on your preferences and willingness to spend money. Some houses present better when tastefully furnished, which can help secure a higher price.
You should only use your own furniture if it’s impeccably presented and has broad appeal. Otherwise, hiring furniture or using professional staging services could be the way to go. If space is an issue, it’s usually a better idea to sell unfurnished as it showcases the maximum amount of space to prospective buyers.
Before deciding which strategy is the right one for you, perhaps consider these questions:
- How much work does the current house need to reach the standard I want or need?
- How will I finance renovations/moving?
- How much equity do I have in my current home?
- How will my decision affect my family? Moving potentially means shifting away from friends and perhaps out of your comfort zone. But depending on the type of renovations, living conditions during the project could be adversely impacted.
- Is the state of the current market favorable to selling and buying somewhere else? Remember, if you’re selling and buying in the same market, even if it’s a hot market, you might get a high price for your property, but you’ll have to correspondingly outlay more to buy somewhere else as well.
Before listing your property for sale, make sure that you are genuinely ready and willing to sell.