How Long Should You Live in A House Before Selling? 5 Key Considerations

Owning a house can feel like a huge commitment. After all — depending on the terms of your mortgage — you have a signed contract that has an end date thirty years from when you first purchased the house. But there comes a moment in every home/owner relationship when it is time to part ways. This brings us to our question of the day: “How long should you live in a house before selling?


It’s a question that comes up with almost anyone involved in the real estate process:


There is a rule of thumb that we often give to people who are looking to buy a home: if you are planning to live somewhere for more than 3 years, then it’s a smart investment to purchase a home. 

How long should you own a house before selling it? Our guide tells all!

But rules were made to be broken. And as any skier will tell you, thumbs were apparently made to be broken, too. With some simple math, we can conclude that rules of thumb are doubly breakable!


The fact of the matter is that every home owner is in a different situation. Depending on your particular property and local housing market, it might be more than feasible to sell your home before you’ve lived in it for 3 years. 


The wisest thing to do when figuring out whether you should sell your house now or wait until later is to speak with a real estate agent who specializes in your housing market and ask for their advice. So if you are selling a home in Arlington VA or in Washington DC, for instance, you should contact the Keri Shull Team — the best real estate team in the DC/MD/VA area — and see how we can help you!


However, there are some general guidelines that you can keep in mind when deciding you have lived in your house long enough to think about selling it. 

Consideration #1: Why You Are Selling

Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice in your decision to sell. Maybe your job is relocating you and you need to move out of state. Maybe your family circumstances have changed. Maybe you just want to downsize to a smaller home — all of these can be beyond your control. 


In these instances, the 3-year rule of thumb goes completely out the window (as do most other timing suggestions). It often becomes more important to sell your home fast and with low stress.


If you want to get out of your current home as quickly as possible while also netting the highest amount for your house, it’s important to have the right help. A high-quality real estate agent will take care of all the stressful details so you can focus on moving on to what comes next.


Consideration #2: Your Next Home

In general, knowing where you want to move is an important step to selling your home. This doesn’t just mean a physical location or neighborhood — although that is important to consider, too! 


Depending on whether you are moving up to a more valuable home, relocating out of the DC area, or in another situation entirely, your ideal selling timeline could be quite different. When meeting with a real estate agent to decide whether it’s the right decision to sell your home, it’s smart to have already thought about what comes next for you!


Consideration #3: The Current Status of Your Local Housing Market

The overall market health in your area is crucial to helping you decide when to sell. 


Shocking, right?


The thing is, the housing market in Washington DC’s hot neighborhoods and surrounding areas can shift quite quickly. Imagine, for instance, that you bought a home in Crystal City, Virginia in the Summer of 2018.


Then, just 4 months later, Amazon announced that they were putting their HQ2 project right there in Crystal City (and that they were re-naming it National Landing).


In a case like this, the 3-year rule could go right out the window! With the influx of interest in the area, you might be able to get a bidding war on your home and sell for far more than you originally paid. Even when factoring in the costs to selling a house, that’s a great return on your initial investment!


Consideration #4: The Time of Year

Even in our local market of the DC/MD/VA area (where the market remains hot all year-’round), the season can be an important factor in your home sale. 

Determining the best time to sell your house isn’t always easy. Although Summer and Spring are the most popular times to sell, that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. Extraneous circumstances (like the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and real estate questions in 2020) play a huge role in deciding whether it’s the right time for you to sell.


Luckily, there’s no law that says you have to figure this out on your own!


Speak with a real estate agent who specializes in your market — sticking to our DC example, your best option would be the Keri Shull Team!

A high-quality agent will help you create a deliberate selling strategy that takes all factors into consideration. This will ensure that you can sell your home on your ideal timeline and for its full value!


Consideration #5: Your Agent

All of the considerations that we’ve talked about so far are important… 


But they aren’t nearly as important as making sure that you have the right real estate team on your side! 

A good real estate agent will massively change the way you sell a home — here are just a few of the things that we bring to the table for our clients:


  1. Completely customized home selling strategies: As you can probably tell from the past 1,000 words, no 2 home sales are exactly the same. You deserve an agent who will create a selling plan that is as unique as your house!
  2. World-class Marketing: the Keri Shull Team has an in-house marketing department that uses the most cutting-edge technology and techniques to put your home in front of the RIGHT buyers.
  3. Robust Off-Market Program: selling a home off-market isn’t easy — but for a lot of people, it’s the best way to sell! We have a network of over 30,000 buyers looking for homes, and we can connect you directly with them. 


All of these aspects (and MORE!) add up to a better home selling experience for you. But you don’t just have to take our word for it — the numbers back it up!


In 2020, we helped 881 families buy or sell a home. And, in many cases, we helped them navigate the thorny process of buying and selling a house at the same time! That figure places us at the top of the real estate industry in the entire Washington DC area — simply put, no other team has the experience and results that we do when it comes to selling your home. 


If you want to learn more about how the Keri Shull Team can help you make the most of your home sale, all you have to do is contact us today! Just click here to schedule a time for a free, no-pressure Home Value Consultation:

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