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Is now the time to sell?

There is rarely a perfect time to sell a home. Market conditions fluctuate and so do your personal circumstances. If you are considering a move, the key is to focus on the things you can control. Your answers to these questions may help you find the time to sell that's right for you.

Does your home fit?

The size of your family is a big factor when deciding whether to sell. You may need more space to accommodate a growing family. Perhaps it's time to downsize if the kids are gone or you have recently divorced. See 5 Ways Less Is More for other reasons to downsize.

A changing lifestyle can have an impact, too. If your job has you traveling every week, a smaller home may be suitable. If you frequently entertain family and friends, perhaps you need a bigger home.

How's your debt?

Some buyers end up putting other financial goals on hold while struggling to cover the cost of home ownership. Can you relate? Before rushing to sell, take a look at your financial situation to see where you stand. You may want to pay off credit cards or save for an emergency first. If more cash flow would make those goals feasible, refinancing your existing home is an option.

Can you afford to move?

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Is there equity?

Thankfully, home values have recovered from major declines during the recession. According to housing data source RealtyTrac, the number of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth is at its lowest level since 2012. Shoot for 20% equity in your home, since putting that much down on your new home will mean you won't be required to pay for private mortgage insurance.

There are other factors to consider, many of which you cannot control.

  • Seasons – Most homes sell in spring or summer. But fall brings buyers, too, as families relocate at back-to-school time. Snowbirds flocking to southern climates boost winter sales in those areas.
  • Health – Changes in your health may prompt you to want fewer stairs to navigate or less property to maintain.
  • Job Transfers – If relocation is imminent, waiting to sell may not be an option.
  • Rentals – Rising rental rates in your area can motivate more renters to buy.
  • Buyers – Always remember that buyers control most aspects of the deal, from what they are willing to pay to when you will have to move.