I'm not going to lie to you. Selling your home is a pain. Packing up all your stuff, letting strangers tromp through your home, MOVING. So how do you decide when it's the right time to sell your house? Here's my simple process.
1. It starts with a desire.
It all starts with some kind of desire to sell that outweighs the inconvenience factor. It's unique for each homeowner, but here are some examples:
- You're moving to a new city.
- The location doesn't fit your lifestyle anymore.
- The floor plan doesn't work for you anymore.
- Your financial situation has changed.
- You hate your neighbors and their barky dog.
- You can think of a few things you'd love to do with some extra cash.
- The home needs maintenance and repairs that you don't want to deal with or pay for.
If you don't have some kind of desire or need like this, then congratulations! Your decision is made. Don't sell your house. Seriously. There are too much work and inconvenience involved to set out down the path of selling your home if you don't have a big "why" to keep you focused on your end goal.
If one of these resonates with you or if you can think of a unique pain point of your own, then read on about how to pursue your goal like a billionaire.
2. Practice good goal setting
I am a total dork for all things personal growth, and that includes goal setting. Like any goal, the goal of selling your home is best achieved by setting a target date and breaking it down into benchmarks.
First, decide when you want your home sold by. Do you have important dates to work around, like a major trip, or school for the kids starting or ending? Pick a date by which you hope to have your home sold.
Next, consider what smaller benchmarks you need to hit along the way. These probably include:
- Pick a real estate agent
- Pick a price to list your home
- Find another place to live
- Decide what to do with your proceeds (money) from the sale
3. Get help from experts to hit your benchmarks and clarify details.
The biggest mistake I see home sellers making is waiting too long to enlist the help of experts who can save them tons of time and help them make good decisions.
I always tell people "it's never too early to meet." I regularly offer guidance to potential clients who don't take action for months or sometimes years, and I have no problem with that.
These experts include real estate agents (like me!), financial planners, accountants, etc. Experts, particularly real estate agents, can help you make good decisions about action items and benchmarks.
- For example, an agent can answer questions like:
- How long should I expect this process of selling my home to take? The answer allows you to work backward from your target date.
- How much should I expect to net from my home sale? How much money will I make?
- What are my options for housing after I sell this home? Should I buy or rent next?
- Should I make repairs to my home, or sell it as is? Which route would be more profitable for me?
4. Regroup based on new information and decide.
At this point, you've discerned you have a desire to sell your home. You've taken that goal and sketched out a rough plan of action. You've consulted with an expert to understand what's possible.
Now it's time to decide. Does selling still make sense? Will you pull enough money out of your current home to justify the move? Can you afford to move into a more desirable situation?
Be open to adjusting your plans based on new information. This is really just good advice for life.
If selling does make sense, fantastic! Take your benchmarks and, with the help of your agent, break those down into action steps, and start checking them off.
If selling doesn't make sense just yet, but you still have the desire, then shelve the idea for now, and pick a date at which to revisit the idea, and regroup with the appropriate professionals.
The key here is to avoid getting stuck in decision limbo. Decision limbo is where you spend entirely too much mental energy pondering a decision, without actually making any progress toward a resolution. And studies show again and again that a key to success in life is the ability to make decisions.
Cue advise from millionaires and billionaires to prove my point:
"Studies have shown that the most successful people make decisions rapidly because they are clear on their values and what they really want for their lives. The same studies show that they are slow to change their decisions, if at all. On the other hand, people who fail usually make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly, always bouncing back and forth. Just decide!"
— Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within
"Recognize that decision making is a two-step process: First, take in all the relevant information, then decide." -Ray Dalio, Principles
(Notice Ray did not include a common third step: waffling.)
"Nothing happens until you decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward." -Oprah
And there you have it: a guide to powerful decision making when selling your home. And powerful decision making in life generally.
- Start with a desire and convert it to a goal
- Make your goal real with dates and tangible action items
- Enlist help from smart people and let them fill in your information gaps
- Make a decision and COMMIT
Cheers to good decisions.