When it comes to selling a house, there are many challenges involved. From knowing the best time to sell a home to getting ready to move, there are many things that homeowners should understand. These are some factors to consider when putting a house on the market.
Sell at the Right Time
Not every homeowner can choose when they put their home on the market. A key factor is the time of year though. Selling your home in spring often makes the process easier. This is a time when the weather starts to get warmer which makes buyers more active. There are more buyers in general and although summer is often the peak selling season, putting a home on the market in spring allows you to get a head start, and hopefully have a leg up on those around you.
In contrast, selling a house in the winter is possible, but there are fewer people interested in buying and moving during the colder months of the year. By the time spring hits, people have been cooped up during the winter and they’re ready to head out and start touring homes. In fact, areas where weather starts to get nice in March or April such as northern Virginia note that the first few weeks of April tend to be the busiest for their buyers.
Spring is also an easier time to move then almost any other season. Moving in the winter or summer comes with challenges regarding weather. Fall and spring offer perfect weather for a move, not too hot, not too cold. This makes it much easier for both buyers and sellers prepping for a move.
Prepare for a Move Early
For home buyers or sellers who are getting ready to move, preparation makes a significant difference. For anyone short on time, this may not be possible. However, if there is adequate time to plan, the process will be much smoother. It’s best to keep a notebook or spreadsheet handy to coordinate costs and tasks involved in moving. Some homeowners will simply want to hire a company to pack and ship their items. This is the most convenient but usually the costliest as well.
Before moving out of your home, these are the basic tasks to plan for with the move:
- Hire movers or a moving truck – schedule these as early as practically possible for the best results. Moving at a popular time will decrease the availability of these services
- Obtain moving boxes, tape, padding, and other supplies- make sure to have all the materials needed to pack up your items. You’ll probably need more than you initially thought so consider buying extra.
- Thoroughly clean your prior residence- If you’re selling the home and moving, it may be worth hiring someone to do a deep clean and put it in the best possible shape for its residents. If not, make sure that you clean as you go and then do a once-over clean after you’ve completely moved out.
- Pay your final bills- make sure that you pay any bills that are due at your old home. You’ll also want to set up the utilities in your new home before moving to make sure that you’ll have electricity and running water when you move.
- Pack a bag for a few days- think about moving as a short-term trip. Ultimately, you’ll have all your items unpacked but that will take some time. Pack a few days’ worth of clothing, basic toiletries, and anything else you’d need for a short trip. This will allow you to unpack at your own leisure.
- Hire a babysitter/pet sitter- When you move into a new space, you’ll want to be able to take the time to unpack. You’ll be able to go about this uninterrupted if you have some help with any kids or pet needs. Hire a babysitter or pet sitter for a few hours a day and you’ll be able to go about this process more easily.
These basic tasks will prepare you for a move and get you set up in your new home. You’ll be in better shape and enjoy a more streamlined process than ever before with a little extra planning.
Make a Financial Plan
When you sell a home, you’ll be facing changes to your finances. There are significant costs to selling a house including closing costs, realtor costs, and similar. One area that all sellers will experience is taxes from selling a home. When you sell a house, you’ll probably have to pay taxes on any money that you earn from the sale.
If you’ve lived in your house for any of the two of five years right before selling, then you can expect to enjoy tax-free profits from the first $250K that you make from the sale if single and $500K if you are married. Note that this tax only applies to you if you make a profit on the sale and not income. If your home has lost value and you sell it for less than $250K more than what you paid for it, you won’t have to pay any taxes when it is sold.
In order to enjoy this tax break, then you must meet certain requirements. You must have owned the home for at least two years. If you’re purchasing the house within two years of buying it, then you won’t qualify for tax breaks. Also, you must have used the house as a primary residence for at least two of the past five years. This means that if you use the property as a second home or rental property, you likely won’t qualify. Finally, you must not have used this same tax break for another home sale within the past two years.
Successfully Selling a House
Getting ready to sell a house and move as well as manage your finances around its sale can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that this information can help to navigate this process and streamline it from start to finish.