11 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Your Home

Thinking about selling your home? Here are some things to consider before you decide to list it.

real estate sign in front of a house for sale
Updated May 28, 2024
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As the U.S. housing market shows signs of cooling down, it might be a good time to consider whether you want to sell your home.

Perhaps you’ve been planning to move for a while. Or maybe you are dreaming of big plans — such as having a new baby or planning an early retirement — that means your current home no longer works for you.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before deciding to list your home on the market.

Can I find an affordable house?

Sam Foster/Adobe aerial houses residential British England drone

Some housing markets are more expensive than others. Check out the markets you are interested in to see how much home you can afford.

Also, note how much home values have increased in the past year. If a favorite market had a dramatic price increase and hasn’t slowed down, it might be a good idea to hold off.

On the other hand, markets that are now flat or showing signs of cooling off may be a better option if you plan to buy soon.

Will another house serve my needs better?

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The pandemic and other events of the past few years may have changed how we view the concept of “home.” Perhaps you’re now working from home and need more space for an office. Or maybe you’ve experienced some life changes, such as becoming an empty nester.

Consider whether moving to a new home would really make a significant difference in the quality of your life. A move is a big deal, so you want to have a good sense that it is worth it to take a chance.

How much is my house worth?

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If you plan to sell your current home and buy a new one, consider how much your home is worth.

Home prices have surged in many markets, but not everywhere. If you don’t think you can make a profit, you might want to rethink moving, at least for now.

What's the minimum I'm willing to accept?

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Your listing price and the price you are willing to accept as a final offer are often two different things. You might have to negotiate with potential buyers or compromise by accepting a lower offer in order to move on.

Perhaps you have your own offer on a new house that is contingent on selling your current home. Think about the minimum you’re willing to accept before you list your home, knowing that the number may change throughout the process.

How much house can I afford?

Kittiphan/Adobe Stressed young woman checking bills

Know how much house you can comfortably afford, including your monthly mortgage payment and your down payment.

Don’t forget property taxes, as well as estimated monthly utility costs and homeowners association dues.

How will rising mortgage rates affect my budget?

Krakenimages.com/Adobe couple applying for mortgage

Mortgage rates have jumped this year, which could be a downer if you’re looking for a new home. Talk to a mortgage lender before you list your current home to see what type of mortgage rate you might qualify for.

Factor mortgage rate increases into your potential listing price, knowing that a buyer for your home may also be in a bit of a squeeze due to rate increases.

Are there repairs I need to do?

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe writing on clipboard in the repaired kitchen

If you’ve sold a home before, you may know about the additional time and money it takes to get a home in shape to show to potential buyers.

If you’ve been putting off repairs, you might need to get estimates on them now and fix things before you put your house on the market.

Necessary repairs — particularly issues that can easily be seen — might have to be done soon. If you don’t do these repairs, you might have to reduce your price compared to other comparable houses, since you will be passing that repair bill to the new owners.

Does my home need to be staged?

Anatoli/Adobe canadian style furnished and staged apartment

You may love your traditional furniture. Or, perhaps you painted the walls in dramatic colors or added fun wallpaper or art. However, potential buyers might not share your taste.

The good news is you can hire companies to store your furniture and stage the home in a more appealing way. It also may be a good idea to hire a painter and change the color of your walls to a more neutral tone. 

Just be sure to factor in those costs before you consider listing the home.

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Will I use a real estate agent?

WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe real estate agent showing new house to couple

Real estate agents can be great people to have on your side as you navigate the selling and buying process. They negotiate with other agents and make sure contracts are in order. They might also get you a better deal than if you go it alone.

On the other hand, agents cost money and you may have to pay a fee to the agent who sold your home. Do your research to see if it is worth the cost of working with an agent.

Should I get a home inspection done?

F/Adobe inspector check the structure of the  house

During the recent red-hot housing market, some buyers were waiving home inspections to land the house they wanted. But that can be a bad idea.

As the market starts to cool down, inspections might become a regular occurrence again. As a seller, it can be a good idea to hire your own inspector before you put your house on sale. That way, you won’t be surprised by any suggestions, repairs, or other issues that need to be addressed.

Have I considered the closing costs?

itchaznong/Adobe real estate agent giving house key

Even if you make a profit on the sale price of your home, the buying and selling of houses can come with some additional costs. Remember to ask about closing costs, which might include application fees, title insurance, property taxes, or underwriting costs.

These closing costs can be in addition to that big chunk of money you saved for a down payment. Account for all costs, so you don’t end up spreading yourself too thin.

Bottom line

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Selling your home can be rewarding. In a best-case scenario, a sale can help put some extra cash in your pocket.

But selling also can be stressful. Think about whether selling your home makes sense financially and if now is the right time to put your house on the market.

Weigh the pros and cons in terms of your own personal needs, as well as research how the market is currently performing. Thinking things through can help eliminate money stress and give you a better sense of whether now is the right time to list your home.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.