The reasons that people sell their home are as varied as the number of people that sell each year. According to the US Census Bureau, the average American will move every 5-7 years. Now, for those homeowners that have lived in the same house for thirty years, it might be tough to understand why the need for so frequent a move. The truth is, these same homeowners will also find that they will need to sell and move at some point, as well. Everyone's motivation is different, and determining that motivation and a homeowner's timeline are topics that a Real Estate Agent will review with a homeowner when they're getting ready to list.
Size of a current home may be a motivator for some. Many first-time homebuyers find that they outgrow their "starter home", due to increased family size and a desire for a home with more bedrooms and bathrooms. Others find that they want what they don't have, and want to upgrade to "bigger", "better", or "grander". Perhaps in the home purchase they want to "fix" the purchase that they made in their current home, meaning when they originally bought the home they thought that they would be "ok" with one less bathroom, or no garage, or a smaller backyard, for example. Living in the situation, though, they find that they would prefer to have those things.
On the other side of the coin, perhaps the kids have grown up and moved out, and homeowners find themselves with lots of space that they no longer are utilizing. The "empty nester" will often sell to something smaller and for something with less maintenance. As homeowners get to retirement age, many find the thought of a 55+ Active Adult Planned Community as something that would be a great fit for them. Many of this planned communities have amenities like golf courses, clubhouses, community rooms, and fitness areas. With an aging homeowner, sometimes health problems come into play and a different layout of home may be a better fit: with knee problems, or back problems or other physical ailments, they may swap out their 2 floor Colonial with basement (and lots of stairs) for a single-floor ranch style home, for instance.
Perhaps the big deferred maintenance projects are coming due (think roof, heating system, siding, septic, for example), and for this homeowner it's more desirable to sell and get something new then complete the projects. Then there's a segment of the population who strives for home improvement perfection. They move into a house, do all the "projects", and need another one, so they sell.
Job transfer is another biggie. If a job transfer means more than an hour commute, many homeowners would sell to something closer to work, then deal with traffic two hours a day.
Personal relationships change. A marriage, or a divorce, finds many people selling each year. When people marry they will often want to buy something that is "ours" versus "his" or "hers". In a divorce situation, sometimes one person needs to buy out the other, and they only way to do that is to sell, or perhaps the home isn't affordable on one income. Or maybe the home holds bad memories and a fresh start is desirable.
Neighborhoods change, too. Maybe a new subdivision is going in down the street which means increase traffic and noise. Or a change in the flight pattern of the airport and constant plane traffic overhead.
Being closer to family is another motivator. Parents move closer to be near the kids or grandkids. Or maybe the homeowner wants to see the family less often; and with more distance they find fractured relationships grow stronger when there is more space between them.
Some homeowners will consider the equity in their house, sitting there looking at the four walls, knowing how much their home is worth, and the cash isn't working for them. They are driven to sell to cash in the equity. Show. Me. The. Money.
And sometimes, homeowners will sell because they are tired of being a homeowner. Tired of the maintenance and responsibility. They are at a point in their life where they would prefer to travel, or pursue a hobby.
Whatever the motivation to sell, a good strategy is to clearly define those "whys" with a real estate agent. Being crystal clear on the motivation will be something to reflect on during the selling process and help during the transition to your next "new" home.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.