How to Decide How to Sell or Keep Your Home This Spring

TheStreet.com

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's coming on the spring home selling season, the most active period of the year for single home titles changing hands, and this year the outlook for home sales growth is up across the board. Single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums are all expected to see stronger sales in 2014.

Many homeowners now have to ask themselves: sell or keep their homes?

The answer involves everything from downsizing -- a huge issue since the recession -- to job stability, divorce, age of children and retirement.

Norfolk, Va.-based Homes.com offers a few key issues to mull over before you make such a decision.

Sell:

Size matters. The size of the home may be an owner's biggest and most urgent reason to sell. "If the main concern about a home is size, a more affordable, less stressful option may be to sell and find a home with enough space to accommodate the family," Homes.com says.

Overwhelming maintenance. For older homes (15 years or more), big maintenance projects may be necessary. A new roof, for example, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, Homes.com estimates. If you don't have the money for big repairs, your home will suffer in terms of financial value, making it much more difficult to sell.

Stay ahead of other sellers. Homes.com says the real estate market is set to take off, and the earlier you sell the less competition you'll face. "If anxious to sell a home, some homeowners, depending on location, may be able to take advantage of what is considered a seller's market," the firm says.

Stay:

Equity rising. If you expect the equity in your home to rise substantially, that's a good reason to keep your home, Homes.com advises. "Year-over-year growth reached 8% at the end of 2013," the firm says. "Homeowners already in love with their place should continue to enjoy the comforts of home and reap the benefits of increased equity when the time does come to sell."

If you can afford repairs. Home projects, maintenance and repairs can add good value to a home -- and make it much more livable. So if you can afford to make those repairs, make them -- and make your home "new" again.

You like your location. If you like where you live, including the schools, your neighbors, your community and your commute to work, that's another excellent reason to keep your home. "Many factors play into the decision of selling or staying in a home, oftentimes going beyond money and the economy," advises Homes.com.

Homes.com also says patience is a key if you are looking for a better home.

"If the perfect home is not on the market, don't settle for a home that isn't just right, especially if the current home is not unbearable," the firm says. "When the time is right to buy, the perfect home will be waiting, and with the potential for increased equity in the current home, it may be even easier to afford."

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