Personal Finance

7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selling Your Home 

February 14, 2022
An older couple drying dishes in a modern kitchen

Selling your home is a big decision. In fact, it’s consistently listed as one of the top five most stressful experiences in an adult’s life. Moving is an enormous life disruption—the emotional process of saying goodbye to your home coupled with the uncertainty as you look for the perfect buyer, is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. 

Gretchen Kingma, real estate agent, occupational therapist, and Truehold General Manager in St. Louis, has accompanied many clients through their home sale journeys. She recommends that you ask yourself the following questions as you’re going through the process of selling your home. 

1. Why do I want to sell my home?

You’ve started wondering about selling your home. Before you move forward, it’s essential that you take some time to reflect on the reasons why you want to sell your home. By clarifying your motivations for selling, you can build the best plan to reach your specific goals. 

Are you:

  • Taking advantage of low interest rates?
  • Capitalizing on the current buyer demand?
  • Urgently needing to move because of a current life change?
  • Planning ahead for a future life change?
  • Hoping to downsize?
  • Tired of home upkeep? 
  • Needing more cash flow?

or something else? Not only will identifying your goals help you be strategic, but keeping your eye on the prize will also help ease anxiety and boost your spirits. 

2. When should I start the process?

It’s important to get an early start to the process of selling your home. If you’re trying to cram all of the steps into a short time frame, you’re bound to feel pressure while trying to balance the rest of your responsibilities. Professionals suggest that beginning six months ahead of time is the “sweet spot” to give yourself enough buffer room to complete all the necessary steps in the process without feeling rushed. You’ll also have time to reflect on important decisions instead of making them in an anxious hurry. 

3. Should I hire a real estate agent? 

Absolutely, yes! The real estate market is complicated, and a professional will help you navigate this potentially stressful process while advocating for your personal goals. 

It’s easy for homeowners to think they’ll get top dollar by selling on their own, but this is rarely the case. In 2020, homes that sold with an agent sold for $58,000 more on average than homes for sale by owner. 

There are many costs and nuances to consider other than a real estate agent’s commission. If you sell your home by yourself, you could leave thousands on the table.

In St. Louis County, for example, there is currently less than half a month’s inventory on the market. Hiring a professional can help get your home in front of the right buyers at the right time. Real estate professionals are well-networked and have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), of which approximately 8,000 other agents are part of. They have access to many more marketing opportunities than just posting to Zillow that will help ensure your listing catches the attention of your perfect buyer. 

4. When should I sell my home?

Now that you’ve determined why selling your home is attractive to you and you’ve hired a real estate agent, you can start working together to make a plan. Based on the specific motivations you’ve identified, your real estate agent will present the best options available to you. 

  • Sell now: If you’re currently experiencing a life change and need to move out of your home urgently, or you want to take advantage of today’s housing market, they will help set a price for your home in its present state. 
  • Sell soon: When homeowners have a few months before they need to sell their home, real estate agents will provide a list of small updates, from painting the walls to changing cabinet knobs, that will make your home more appealing to buyers.
  • Sell in a while: For homeowners who have significant time before moving and are looking to maximize their return on investment, real estate agents may recommend a total home overhaul. This can include larger-scale projects like remodeling your kitchen or bathrooms. Large renovations are advisable if the upgrades will garner a higher selling price than what the project costs. For example, a kitchen remodel can cost $40,000, but it could raise your home’s selling price by $55,000, increasing your profit by $15,000. 

5. What price should I set for my home? 

Setting a realistic price for your home is something that a real estate agent will do for you. Agents have pricing strategies that allow you to make more money from the sale of your home while still covering commission fees. 

When setting your price with your real estate agent, it’s important to keep things in perspective. If your neighbor’s home sold for more than the listing price your agent recommends, look more closely. Do they have a pool in their backyard? Were their floors redone in the last year? These amenities will make their home sell for more than yours, even if you have a similar size building in the same area. 

6. Should I pay for listing photos?

According to the National Association of real estate agents, 98% of home buyers see their home online first. High quality photos and video can make all the difference in selling your home, so it isn’t wise to cut costs by taking amateur photos. Photos are almost always included in a real estate agent’s fees, so you won’t have to worry about hiring a photographer if you sell with a real estate agent. 

7. Do I really want to leave? 

If you’re simply tired of home upkeep or need to unlock your home equity, there are options to consider other than moving out of your home. We’ve laid out the equity unlock options, from cash-out refinancing to home equity loans. 

If you know you want to sell your home, but don’t want to move, consider Truehold’s Sale-Leaseback. A Sale-Leaseback is a great choice if you: 

  • Want to sell your home while the market is high but you aren’t quite ready to leave 
  • Are planning on downsizing in the future but don’t want to just yet
  • Want market value for your home but don’t want to deal with listings and showings
  • Want to be a cash buyer on your future home
  • Are hoping to offload the burdens of homeownership like maintenance, home insurance, and property tax
  • Want to access your wealth that’s locked into your home equity but don’t want to take on any debt

Truehold’s Sale-Leasebacks consists of two simple transactions: a house sale and a lease agreement. With a Sale-Leaseback, you’ll receive 100% of your home’s value in cash, verified by comparable market transactions and a third-party valuation. We immediately rent your home right back to you for a fair market rate based on comparable local rentals. 

We then take care of the home’s maintenance, property tax, and home insurance for you. You seamlessly keep living in your home until you decide it’s right to leave—whether that be in a year, twenty years, or even just a few months.

On average moving costs add up to 10% of your home sale. By utilizing our Sale-leaseback option, you eliminate the need to make any updates to your home or pay for listings or showings, since we will purchase your home as-is. 

If you’d like to learn more, call (314) 353-9757, and one of our Truehold Advisors can help determine if we’re the best option for you. 

Good luck!

Whether you decide to leave your home or stay with a Sale-Leaseback—you’ve got a big decision ahead of you. Take your time, give yourself grace, and know that you’re not alone—real estate agents and Truehold Advisors are here to help you through. 

Get a free info kit to learn more about Truehold's Sale-Leaseback.

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