Thinking of Selling
Selling Your Home
There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won't have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)
Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you're moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you're relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.
When is the Best Time to Sell Your Home?
Everyone seems to have specific ideas on when the right time is to sell. Some base their theories on the overall economy, while others will tell you that there are key buying months that you'll want to capitalize on.
If you're not buying and selling strategically or for investment, the best time to sell is really when you feel your existing home will not meet your future needs. The best reason to purchase a new home is to take advantage of your family and lifestyle changes. Do you wish to be closer to a school? Are you switching jobs? Do you have an aging parent to care for?
In Canada, weather and holidays do play a factor. Almost no one goes house hunting around Christmas, and few give up their summer vacations. Of course, those with school-aged children are less likely to move during the school year and summer is an ideal time. In some areas, there is a definite "spring cycle" -- perhaps it's a bit of spring fever and a wish to break out of the bonds of winter.
Another key factor to consider is the economy. Are interest rates higher or lower in comparison to your current mortgage? If they are higher, you may want to stick with your current home, as your new mortgage payments could be uncomfortable. If rates are lower, you might be able to trade up to a more expensive home without a significant increase in your monthly mortgage obligation.
What's more, if it's a buyers' market, you may be in a strong position to purchase a new home, especially if you have accumulated some equity in your current property.
Are There Costs Involved in Selling?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Even if you think your home is perfect, you may have to do some minor repairs or upgrades to make your home more attractive to potential purchasers. A professional home inspection may be a condition of the offer. If the inspection points to problems, your purchaser may ask that you make the necessary repairs or choose not to close the deal. Closing costs, such as lawyers' fees or unpaid taxes, will also have to be paid. Mortgage discharge fees may be levied by your lending institution. Sales commissions must be paid as defined by your listing agreement.
Buy or sell first?
That's tricky. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home, before you've found a new one, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates can not be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you've unloaded your old one, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a time.
So how do you manage? Easy. Do your homework and have a good idea about the neighbourhood and type of home you're looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family's needs and budget.
Speak to your realtor and start your new home search as soon as your existing home hits the market.
If you've found a home, before you've sold your existing one, use "sale of your existing home" as a condition on your offer. If you don't sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.
Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you're counting on the proceeds from the sale.
If you've found a purchaser before you've found your next home, use "purchase of a new home" as a condition when you sign back the agreement. Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a "sold house" you will be in a better position to negotiate price.