Is This a Good Time to Sell a House?

I had a comment recently that deserves a some more attention.

I can understand you wanting to have the freedom to travel, but is now a good time to try and sell your home with the market being so depressed?

This is a great question and one we spent a lot of time considering before deciding to go through with the sale of our house.  The housing market is the lowest we’ve seen since I can remember.  Most houses around here are selling well under what they sold for even 10 or 15 years ago. To answer the question of when to sell, we must ask another question:

Did you buy your house as an investment – or as a place to live?

The answer to this simple question will dictate the best time to sell your house.  If you bought it as an investment, you will sell your house at a point when it is profitable to do so.  If you bought your house as a place to live, you will sell your house when it no longer meets your needs.

We bought our house as a place to live.  We liked the location, we liked the layout, and we enjoyed it for many years.  Eventually, that house no longer suited our needs.  Life changed and those change made our idyllic home less so.  While living in that house we gave birth to our daughter.  I became unemployed and later found a job with a longer commute.  The cost of utilities, taxes, gas, and groceries went up.  Many things changed.

Our home no longer suited our needs and desires so we sold it in a down market for less than we originally paid for it.

Now we have a new place to live that is meeting our current needs and desires.  We live closer to work, closer to family, and closer to the weekend activities that we enjoy.

I have mentioned before that this move from a large house to a smaller apartment has freed up time and money, which allow us to travel more, satisfy more of our wants, and be more generous with our giving.

The Question of Timing

The investment vs. place to live existing on a continuum.  We answered the question of when to sell based on extremes.  If you buy a house as an investment then you sell your house at the point when you can make the most profit.  If you buy your house as a place to live then you sell it as soon as it no longer meets your needs.  Since money does play a big part in home buying, the timing of the sale lives somewhere along the continuum.

Naturally we buy a house hoping we can one day sell it and make a little something, while also satisfying the need for a place to live.  The timing of the sale depends on where you fall on that continuum and how much time you have available.

Our daughter was five years old when we listed our house for sale.  Time flies when you are watching your child grow up.  We desired to make changes quickly so that we can maximize the experiences we provide our daughter before she matures into adulthood.

When I thought back to my own childhood, my fondest memories were our family vacations.  The down economy not only affected the value of our house, but also affected our ability to produce these types of memories for our daughter.  The ability to create fond memories through rich experiences became a priority for us.

How much time were we willing to give up while sacrificing these memory making events in order to make a little more money on our house sale?  The answer for us was very little.  We had no clue as to how long it would take for the housing market to turn around, and we had already given up too much time in figuring out what we wanted and what was important to us, and then in the resulting purge of the stuff that didn’t support our goals and desires.

We changed our house because it suited our current life situation, and so for us, now is a good time to sell a house.

Comments

  1. Luna says

    I am planning to sell our house and buy a new one.. I will keep this in mind.. Thanks for this great tips!

  2. Karen (Scotland) says

    Great post. We lived in this house for four years before we started “making it our own”. We wanted to do so many things that would make it work for us BUT would take away so-called selling points.
    We made the decision at the start of the year to do what we need to do to make us love our home. Guest en-suite? Gone! We now have a fresh and family-friendly laundry room – hurrah – my life is transformed! Will the estate agent freak when she sees a washing machine upstairs in a Scottish house? No doubt, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…
    Point it – a home is for living in. It’s not JUST an investment (although whay-hay if you are savvy enough and lucky enough to end up with profit.) If you don’t NEED to make a few thousand more pounds on the EVENTUAL sale of your home, why compromise current happiness?
    Agree with everything you said in your post.
    Karen (Scotland)

    • says

      Hi Karen,
      I think you’re doing the right thing. You have to make your house work for you. We had a similar issue when we had our house built. We used one of the bedrooms for an office and had the builder put in built-in bookshelves instead of a closet. That meant that we could no longer market it as a 4 bedroom when we were ready to sell. In the end, it didn’t seem to affect anything, and we ended up finding a buyer that wanted it just the way it was.

      It’s far better to be happy with your house and customize it to your needs than to worry about earning a little more whenever you decide to sell. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m sure you are enjoying that laundry room. :)

  3. says

    Great article!! Thank you for sharing… It’s refreshing and uplifting to read so much that is on par with the reasons we’re selling our house and it’s in escrow as we speak.

    We too love our house especially the lay-out, landscape and had good memories here but it served its purpose raising our daughter’s and now the girls out to college and doing very well. I have enough confidence in them be able to put themselves through college with generous help of scholarship and their hard work. That’s why; this ole house no longer suited our needs…

    I’m still in a process of purging unnecessary belongings and will try my very best to only bring essential stuff we need to our new home; the rest goes to my daughter’s apartment and donations.

    We’re fortunate to get a lil sale proceed, not a whole lot but enough for the relocation and advance full payments of the lease term for a 2 bedroom condo overlooking the ocean of Huntington Beach.

    I’m so looking forward to living small, clutter free minimalist lifestyle. We’ve paid our dues, raised our kids and it’s our time to shine! Heck… I might even go back to school and finish my degree. And best of all…we plan to be physically active, fun and blissful; after all… that’s what living in the Socal beach all about.

    And oh, one thing I won’t be worrying and missing… expensive home maintenance :-)

    • says

      Hi Marilou,
      That condo sounds awesome, I bet you’ll love your new place. We went through two huge purges to get rid of enough stuff so that we could fit into an apartment. It felt good to get rid of all that stuff. I’d love to hear how the move goes for you.

  4. Marilou says

    Hi Freedom,

    Sorry for the delayed response, I’m browsing my sent box and opened an email link I sent to my husband last year and just read your response to my post and thanks for taking time to response.

    Well… it’s been 14 months since we sell the house and rented a 2-bedroom condo with breath taking ocean front view in Huntington Beach California. Besides the stunning view, there are lots of activities to do around here. My husband join the volleyball team and plays every weekend as a result lost weight while I took surfing lessons, joined a surf group and surf every weekend or often as I want.

    We are on our second year lease and have a dilemma if we should buy a condo here in HB or just continue to rent. I read these articles.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2013/11/11/should-you-buy-a-house-or-rent-the-economics-of-homeownership/2/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2013/11/11/should-you-buy-a-house-or-rent-the-economics-of-homeownership/

    We decided to continue to rent and enjoy the view for now because we can’t afford to buy an ocean front home right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge