Making the decision to put your property on the market isn't always one you have the luxury of putting off. If you need to relocate for business or you're selling a home due to divorce, for example, you may have to list it. For many other people, there's the desire to sell — either now or within the coming months or years — but you're not sure how to time it. Note that if you're planning to list your place and buy another, you may have to factor in the significant increase in recent interest rates (since December 2022). Those rates have risen from 3% to around 7%, as noted by Forbes. That means buying now may be more expensive.

With so many factors to consider, how do you know when to make a move? To gain some insight, we turned to real estate agent Jon Sanborn, co-founder of Brotherly Love Real Estate. In an exclusive interview with House Digest, he notes that this is a big decision to make. "Homes are probably one of the most valuable assets we possess," he explained. "So how can we know that it's time to reap the benefits from this investment?"

Increased real estate values

A big factor for many property owners is determining when they can get the most profit from selling their house, and that all depends on current real estate values. Home prices have increased over the last few years, as noted by For context, in April 2022, the national median listing price was $425,000 — a 14% increase over the previous year. There's more to consider, though, as noted by Jon Sanborn.

"Presently, the wave of new home buyers are millennials, and most of them are first-time buyers. Post-pandemic, inventory has been historically low. An inventory shortfall leads to low interest rates, which amounts to a seller's market," he says. Understandably, those conditions have played a significant role in the increase in prices over time. "Although these factors do not entirely dictate whether to sell your house or not, they could play into your decision," Sanborn continues

You are outgrowing your current home

There are some situations in which your family just cannot safely or comfortably continue to live in your current dwelling. Perhaps you're welcoming a new child, getting married, adopting a new family member, or just have kids that are getting older and need more privacy. If so, you may need to move, says Jon Sandborn. "A small apartment/neighborhood will not be sufficient when you decide to start a family," he reveals.

Is this a really good reason to pull the trigger now, though? "79% of people sell their homes because their family is getting bigger. Most of them also consider the school district," Sanborn shares. So if you're simply unhappy with the current school district or want to move your child into a specific program for their special needs, making the move now may make sense. Because this is a big factor in quality of life, selling a too small house and moving into an area that boosts your family's potential for success can be a smart decision in the long run.

You want to downsize

What about if you're older? Perhaps your children are off at college or have already gotten married and moved out; it may now just be you and your significant other. "Years after living in a big house, some homeowners decide to downsize," Jon Sanborn explains. If you're in this position, then, think about what's making your house less comfortable or if it's even fitting for your current needs. Is it really just the size, or is there more to it?

Plenty of reasons exist for people to decide it's time to buy a more modest place. "They are looking for something smaller, more affordable, and manageable," Sanborn continues. "Downsizing also means less maintenance costs and a lower mortgage." To that end, are you thinking about all of the work of shoveling snow, cutting the grass, cleaning out the gutters, or washing all of those windows? It may sound like a great idea to be in a smaller home, perhaps even a condo, where these types of tasks are done for you. More so, it can make sense to make the move for financial reasons; a lower mortgage could mean more money going into retirement savings.

Shifts in lifestyle

Shifts in lifestyle happen; you may be ready for a change because it's a new season for you or it's just the right time to settle down. "57% of homeowners indicate that they want a permanent home where they could age in place," Jon Sanborn points out. "If your future plans are fundamentally different than when you purchased your home, then it may be time to reassess and sell." It could be helpful, then, to assess how much your family, interests, or needs have changed over the years. Most likely, you're a different person today than you were when you purchased your residence.

Don't forget how world events can have an impact on your housing needs, either. "The pandemic has also incorporated permanent shifts such as a home office, and older homes might not have the capacity to accommodate those," Sanborn continues. If you're now working from home, a dedicated workspace could be ideal for you, for example. At the same time, you could be spending additional time outdoors or exercising more now than you did prior to 2020. That could mean that an investment in an area with a fitness room could be beneficial.

You need to relocate

Sometimes it's impossible to remain in your current home regardless of market conditions. Specifically, you may need to relocate to another location for a variety of reasons. "This could be due to a new job, a new school, or a new neighborhood," Jon Sanborn explains. Or, you may need to seek out a place close to aging family or the medical facilities you need.

It's rarely easy to make these decisions when you enjoy living in your home. That's why Sanborn encourages you to prepare as best as you can. "In this situation, acclimatize yourself emotionally for the selling process," he added. "It can get quite overwhelming, especially if you are attached to the house." You'll also need to navigate the financial aspects of letting go of your property. If home prices fall, for example, that could play a role in your ability to get as much for your home as you want or need to in order to fund relocation.