Money Matters

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Factors to consider before selling your home

Selling a home is no small undertaking. It often pays to be patient when putting a property up for sale, but waiting for an acceptable offer can be stressful, especially for those homeowners who have already found their next homes.

Because so much tends to be riding on the decision of whether or not to sell a home, homeowners would be wise to consider the following factors before putting that "For Sale" sign in their front yards.

• Motivation: Many homeowners sell their homes because their families are growing and they have outgrown their current residences. Others may recognize a seller's real estate market and want to strike while the iron is hot, while still others might be moving for a new job. The factors that motivate homeowners to sell their homes vary with each individual case, but prospective sellers should keep in mind that moving can be expensive, and finding a new home may not be so easy, nor is the grass necessarily greener on the other side. When deciding if now is the best time to sell your home, make sure you will be selling for the right reason. That can make the often trying process of selling a home a lot easier to handle.

• Market: The local real estate market is another factor to consider when deciding whether or not to sell your home. A home is a significant investment, and you want to earn as substantial a return on that investment as possible. Selling when the market is struggling will make your investment less valuable. Research recently sold homes in your neighborhood to get an idea of how much you can expect to get if you sold your home in the current market. It might be worth it to sell now, or it might pay off to be patient and wait until the market rebounds.

• Kids: Selling your home will impact your family just like it will impact your bottom line. Unless you plan to move down the street or to another home in your community, selling may mean you and your family no longer see your friends and neighbors. That can be a difficult adjustment, especially for school-aged kids who will have to adjust to a new school. The potentially negative impact that selling can have on your children may not be worth the financial benefits of selling, so the decision of whether or not to sell should not be taken lightly by homeowners who also happen to be parents.

• Quality of life: It can be difficult to turn down an opportunity to make a lot of money on your real estate investment. But if you plan to sell and move further away from your office and your friends and family, the financial windfall you earn when selling your home may not be worth the sacrifices you have to make in order to earn that money. Studies have shown that longer commutes can elevate stress levels, and even the most affordable property may not be worth moving to if you won't be able to enjoy the home with your friends and family.

When deciding whether or not to sell their homes, many homeowners make the decision a strictly financial one. But there is more than money to consider when deciding if now is the right time to sell your home.