To Sell or Not to Sell

It may seem like a good idea to sell your house, but often renting is a more lucrative option. Read these tips before deciding to sell and choosing an agent.

Decide Whether to Sell at All

In a buyer's market, you may be better off renting your old place instead of selling. Weigh the cost of the mortgage and property taxes, plus the time you'll have to spend being a landlord, against the thousands of dollars you may lose by selling in a down market and the mounting equity you’ll be able to keep instead. There are capital-gains tax issues at play, however, so do your research and consult your accountant.

Decide Whether to use an Agent

If you sell your home by yourself, you can pocket the amount you would have spent on the agent's commission -- no small sum at 6 percent to 7 percent. (But keep in mind that if your buyer uses an agent, you will still have to pay that agent’s commission, which would be half that total.) It seems like an attractive bargain to go it alone, no?

Well, no. Unless you're well-connected, knowledgeable about the local real estate market, and savvy about negotiations (and you may be), an agent's fee will pay for itself.

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