Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Sell Your House

Dutch Uncle Advice on Why You Should Sell Your House

By Mark J. Donovan

At some point in your home ownership life you are going to need to make the hard decision to sell your home. There are numerous reasons why you may need to make the decision, some good and some bad. Listed below are the ten most popular and smartest reasons on why you should sell your home.

Empty Nesters – If you walk through your home and peer into empty bedrooms that were once occupied by your children, but who have now moved away, it’s a wise idea to think about downsizing. Unless you have the financial resources to continue to do the maintenance and upkeep of it, and pay the annual property taxes on it, a home larger than your needs is simply a drain on your time and wallet.

Yes, you have a lot of fond memories in the home, but those memories are in your mind, and in your photographs and films of you and your children. They are not in your home. Sell your home and cherish the memories in a more cost effective residence where you can avoid high home maintenance costs and the tax man.

High Property Tax Rates – If the property tax on your home is representing ten percent or more of your annual income its time to sell your home and downsize. Living in New Hampshire for over 35 years I know something about high property tax rates.

The state of New Hampshire has no income tax or sales tax, so the majority of the tax burden to fund all the programs in the state, cities and towns falls squarely on the shoulders of the property owners. Also, sitting on a school board for nine years in the state of New Hampshire, I know something about the cost of providing public education and how it impacts property tax rates.

Pricing your house to sell.

Suffice it to say, it impacts it a great deal. And, higher costs per student expenses do not necessarily translate into improved academic performance, better schools, and increased property values, as education advocates regularly suggest. If your municipality’s property tax rates are high by most relative standards, and your school education officials can’t clearly show you demonstrable improved student academic performance, it’s time to sell your home and move on.

Loss of Job – Unless your home is paid for or you have savings to support at least one year of mortgage bills and property taxes it is a wise idea to immediately put your house up for sale when you lose your job. Even a year of reserves may not be enough depending upon your line of work and the state of the economy. Presently there are over 92 million Americans out of work and Congress has been in a giving mood for the past five years on extending unemployment benefits due to the fact that so many people have been out of work for so long. Consequently, if you lose your job under these situations, don’t kid yourself that you’ll find a job of equivalent income and in your local area.

There is a very likely chance that you’ll be out of work for a long time and have to eventually take a job far from where you live, and at a reduced income level. So don’t wait. Put your home on the market when you lose your job, and have limited savings and job prospects. Also, listing a home too high is effectively not putting it on the market.

Consequently listen to your real estate professional and price your home to sell. You may not have time to wait for that one buyer that is willing to pay a high price for your home. Also, and this is often the case, you may end up selling your home for much lower than the real estate’s recommended price target if you price it too high at the outset when you listed it, and the housing market is falling. This situation is known as catching a falling knife.

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Neighborhood Changes – If the neighborhood where your home is located has decayed due to economic and social reasons, forget trying to fight city hall and change it. It’s a brutal and typically losing battle. Cut your losses, sell your house for what you can and move on. And don’t waste time trying to get the most for your home. You won’t. Almost any buyer will be smart enough to know what they are buying into and will not pay a premium for it. Also, most likely prospective buyers will have limited income which will prevent them from making high offers on your home. Simply put, get out while you still can and be glad you walked away from your home with something in your pocket.

Impending High Maintenance Costs – As one elderly and savvy longtime homeowner once told me “a home is not self maintaining”. Most home systems, such as roof shingles, water-boilers, air-conditioners, well pumps and appliances have lifecycles of about 15 years. If your home is approaching that age, or with an older home it’s been that long of a cycle time since one or more of these types of items was last replaced, it might be a good time to sell your house. Unless of course you are willing and able to deal with the hassle and expense of the maintenance work.

Loss of Spouse – Losing a spouse is a tough event for the surviving partner. Besides the loss of the companionship of the loved one there are also financial and physical realities. When a spouse dies there is typically a loss of income, be it from a job or a retirement check. Likewise, particularly with the loss of a husband, there is a loss of the physical strength often needed to maintain a home.

Consequently when losing a spouse it is often a time to assess whether or not the survivor should move on and downsize to a smaller residence. In most cases, with rational thought, it does make sense to sell the home after the loss of a spouse.

Health Problems – Similar to a loss of a spouse, if you or a family member has acquired a health problem you may want to seriously consider selling your home to reduce financial and physical burdens. Selling your home will also enable you to find a new residence that may be more appropriate for the type of health problem you or your family member is suffering with. For example, if you or your family member can no longer walk up stairs then purchasing a one story home maybe the perfect solution.

Lifestyle Change – After owning and maintaining a home for many years you may be looking for a lifestyle change. It could be that you want to free up cash and the headaches of maintaining a home to travel and see the world. Alternatively, it could also be to free up cash to pursue a lifelong goal or hobby such as learning to fly and owning your own airplane. Whatever the reasons, if owning a home is no longer a priority in your life then it makes little sense to continue to be burdened with the costs and effort of maintaining one.

Get Closer to Your Family – If your children or family members are consolidated in a different area from where you live and you are getting older it’s a wise idea to sell your home and move closer to them. In the process also think about scaling down to a smaller home. This way you’ll have family near you if you need help and will free up cash to spend on your children and grandkids.

Get Away from Family – If you have problems with your extended family it’s often a wise idea to move away from them. Often space and time cool tempers and attitudes towards extended family and friends. You may find out that moving farther away from them may actually cause you to become closer to them.

For help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home addition project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home addition building costs.

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