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How to pick a good time to sell

Knowing that you’re ready to sell your home and actually listing it for sale are two different things – with the latter action often being delayed by your desire to find the “perfect” time to move.
 
“But actually,” says Gerhard Kotzé, the new MD of the RealNet estate agency group, “it is unlikely that such a moment will ever arrive, because property markets are constantly shifting, so you need a different approach to decide whether selling now would be a good decision for you, your family and your finances.”
 
The following, he says, are some of the most important factors to consider and questions to answer before you decide to sell:
 
*Why do you want or need to sell? Perhaps you need to relocate for work, move to a smaller home ahead of retirement, or move to a bigger home to accommodate a growing family. All of these are good reasons to sell, but if you’re just considering a “change of scene”, selling your home might be a bit drastic.  
 
*Are you emotionally ready to sell? Kotzé says it’s often hard for sellers to detach from their homes because of the associated memories, especially if they have lived there a long time, but that’s what needs to happen before you list, or you may well find yourself wavering half-way through the selling process. “You need to be able to think of this as a business transaction and if you can’t do that, you may want to delay selling for a while.”
 
*Do you have a plan for selling? Probably the most important part of the selling process, he says, is anticipating and planning for all the possible scenarios and outcomes that could arise when putting your property on the market, such as not finding a buyer, or receiving multiple offers, or even receiving a great offer on the first day. “Do you know what steps will you need to take if your buyer doesn’t get a bond, for example, or if the bank valuation of your property is lower than you thought? It will be much easier to respond appropriately if you are working with a professional estate agent.”
*Are your finances in order? You need to have a strong understanding of your financial position in order to determine a good time to sell, says Kotzé. “This will also help you develop a plan for after the sale, and where you plan to live next. You need to know how much you still owe the bank, for example, and whether you have enough equity in your property to cover the deposit on a new one. You should check your credit score and find out if you will qualify for a new home loan. And you should also ask your agent to list the various fees involved in selling your home before you decide.”
 
*Is the market favourable? If you have to move for work, you may not have a choice about when to sell, he says, but if you do, it really pays to be aware of buyer demand or lack of demand in your area, so that you can pick a period of high demand when your home is likely to sell more easily. “Your agent should have this information at their fingertips – and also be able to help you set a market-related asking price that will ensure a speedy sale without sacrificing any of your equity.”


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