Selling a Philly House For Retirement

Why Sell Your House for Retirement

As you approach retirement, thoughts about your living situation are bound to surface. Rather than considering upgrading, you might start asking yourself questions like, "Should I stay put or should I sell my house?" Selling your house for retirement can offer several advantages, from financial benefits to more flexibility in your housing choices.

Financial Benefits of Selling

One of the primary reasons you might consider selling a house for retirement is the financial benefits it can provide. Over the years, you've likely built up a significant amount of equity in your home. Selling allows you to tap into this equity, providing a financial cushion for your retirement (Investopedia).

In addition to giving you access to a large lump sum of cash that can help with retirement goals, selling your house can also reduce the maintenance and upkeep costs associated with homeownership. This means more money in your pocket to enjoy your golden years, and less time spent worrying about home repairs and yard work.

Flexibility in Housing Choices

If the financial benefits weren't enough, selling your house can also offer you greater flexibility in your housing choices during retirement. You might want to move to a different location for better weather, closer proximity to family, or access to amenities like healthcare and social opportunities.

By selling your home and choosing to rent instead, you're not tied down to a specific property or location. You can move around as you please, trying out different cities or even countries until you find the place that feels just right.

So, as you approach retirement, consider the benefits of selling your house. It might just be the key to a financially comfortable and flexible future that you've always dreamed of.

Preparing Your House for Sale

When you're thinking about selling a house for retirement, it's essential to be well-prepared. A key part of this preparation involves hiring the right real estate agent and staging your home effectively.

Hiring a Specialized Real Estate Agent

Selling your home is a significant decision, especially when it's for your retirement. Therefore, it's advisable to hire a real estate agent who specializes in selling homes for retirees. These experts possess the knowledge and skills to navigate the unique needs of this demographic.

For instance, they're familiar with how to price your home correctly, a crucial factor when selling it for retirement. Overpricing can deter potential buyers, while underpricing may result in financial losses. A specialized real estate agent can help determine the optimal listing price, ensuring you get the best possible return on your investment.

A good way to identify such an agent is to look for those who hold the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification. This certification, offered by the National Association of Realtors, signifies an agent's proficiency in marketing and selling to seniors.

Proper House Staging

Preparing your home for viewers, or 'staging' as it's commonly known, is a vital part of selling your house. Properly staging your house can significantly enhance its appeal and increase the chances of a successful sale. This process includes decluttering, depersonalizing, and making necessary repairs.

Decluttering involves removing all non-essential items from your home to make it appear larger. Depersonalizing, on the other hand, involves removing personal items and decorations to allow potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the space. Lastly, making necessary repairs ensures that all fixtures and fittings are in good working condition, enhancing the overall appeal of your home.

It's important to remember that staging your house doesn't have to be expensive. Simple actions like cleaning, rearranging furniture, and applying a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference. If you're unsure about how to stage your home effectively, consider seeking professional help. Many real estate agents offer home staging services or can recommend professional stagers in your area.

By hiring a specialized real estate agent and staging your home effectively, you increase the chances of selling your house quickly and at a good price – an essential step towards a comfortable retirement.

Downsizing for Retirement

Thinking of selling a house for retirement? Downsizing could be a smart move for you. Let's explore why.

Advantages of Smaller Living

Downsizing to a smaller home can provide a variety of benefits for retirees. First, you can tap into the equity you've built up in your home to provide a financial cushion for retirement. This can free up more money for travel, hobbies, or simply enjoying your golden years.

Living in a smaller home also means fewer rooms to clean, less yard work, and less overall maintenance. This can give you more time to focus on doing what you love. Plus, if you're like 41% of adults over the age of 50 who believe they need to downsize as they get older, moving to a smaller home can help eliminate the burden of home maintenance and repairs, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Evaluating Your Lifestyle Needs

If you're looking for the simplest way to sell and get cash for your home in Philly, then you might want to consider selling to an investment company like us!

Sell My House Philadelphia focuses on working with homeowners in the Philadelphia area and surrounding townships. We work with funding partners to help us avoid any red-tape that typically elongates timelines, and we don't work with any realtors or residential buyers. Which means: FAST.

Evaluating Your Lifestyle Needs

When selling a house for retirement, it's important to consider your lifestyle and future plans. Do you envision yourself traveling a lot? Staying with family for extended periods? Or perhaps, you're looking forward to settling down in one place?

If you plan on traveling or staying with family, selling your home and renting instead could provide more flexibility and the opportunity to move to a different location if desired.

However, remember to not rush into downsizing too soon after retirement. It's important to take the time to adjust to your new life stage and perhaps even consider renting in your proposed new location before making permanent decisions.

When choosing a new home, consider your future needs, especially in terms of mobility. You'll want a home that can accommodate your needs as you age. Will the house be wheelchair accessible if needed? Does it have stairs? Can the kitchen and bathroom be easily modified for accessibility? These are all important factors to consider.

Selling a house for retirement can be an exciting new chapter in your life. By considering your current and future lifestyle needs, you can make a decision that will give you peace of mind and the freedom to enjoy your retirement.

Financial Implications of Selling

When you're considering selling a house for retirement, it's crucial to understand the financial implications fully. This includes getting a grip on potential capital gains taxes and assessing your retirement savings.

Understanding Capital Gains Taxes

When selling your home, you might need to pay capital gains tax, which is dependent on the home's value and how long you've owned it. But don't fret, the IRS provides some relief. If you're over 55 years old, you might be eligible for a one-time exclusion of up to $250,000 or $500,000 if you're married when selling your primary residence (The Street).

To qualify for this exclusion, you should have owned and lived in the property for at least two out of the five years before selling. If you don't meet the ownership and residency requirements, you may still be eligible for a partial exclusion if you're selling due to health reasons, a change in employment, or unforeseen circumstances.

Assessing Your Retirement Savings

Selling your home can provide a significant chunk of cash that could supplement your retirement income or fund your post-retirement adventures. But before you put that 'For Sale' sign up, take a good hard look at your retirement savings.

Ask yourself: Will the proceeds from selling your home significantly boost your retirement savings? Could turning your home into a rental property provide a more consistent income stream? It's important to weigh all your options and maybe even consult with a financial advisor before making a decision.

Remember, selling your home is a big step. It means saying goodbye to a place filled with memories. But if it sets you up for a comfortable and worry-free retirement, it might just be worth it.

Alternatives to Selling

While selling a house for retirement can offer financial benefits and more housing flexibility, it's not the only option. If you're not ready to part with your home or if you're looking for other ways to tap into your home's value, consider alternatives like using a reverse mortgage or taking advantage of a 1031 exchange.

Using a Reverse Mortgage

If you're looking to supplement your retirement income without selling your home, a reverse mortgage might be an option for you. A reverse mortgage allows you to access the equity in your home without having to sell. Best part? Reverse mortgages don't require monthly mortgage payments and can provide a steady income stream during your golden years.

However, it's crucial to understand that a reverse mortgage isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It comes with its own set of terms and conditions that you'll need to fully understand before jumping in. Make sure to consult with a financial advisor to assess if a reverse mortgage is the right move for your retirement plan.

Benefits of a 1031 Exchange

If you're looking to diversify your investment portfolio or planning to move to another property, a 1031 exchange could be beneficial. There's no age limit for using a 1031 exchange, which allows you to defer capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds from the sale of your primary residence into another property.

Here's how it works: you sell your property and use the proceeds to buy another 'like-kind' property. The catch is that you must identify the replacement property within 45 days of the sale of your old property and close on the new property within 180 days.

By taking advantage of a 1031 exchange, you can defer paying capital gains taxes and potentially upgrade to a better investment property. However, it's important to note that the rules surrounding 1031 exchanges can be complex, so it's always a good idea to consult with a tax professional or a financial advisor before diving in.

Remember, while selling a house for retirement can provide a financial boost, there are other strategies you can use to tap into your home equity or save on taxes. Always consider your individual circumstances and consult with financial professionals before making any major decisions. Your retirement deserves the best planning you can give it!

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling

Selling a house for retirement can help you achieve your financial goals, but it's important to avoid some common pitfalls. Here's what you need to know.

Avoiding Premature Downsizing

When it comes to navigating retirement, patience is key. Downsizing too soon after retirement can lead to isolation from friends and family and regrets. You may be eager to start your new life in a smaller, more manageable home, but it's important to take the time to adjust to this new chapter of your life. Consider renting in the proposed new location before making permanent decisions.

Also, it's crucial to thoroughly research the area before deciding to move there permanently. Consider factors such as healthcare accessibility, grocery stores, amenities, socialization opportunities, and transportation options. A vacation destination may not necessarily meet your day-to-day needs.

Underestimating Future Homeownership Costs

When you're planning for retirement, make sure you're not underestimating the future costs associated with homeownership. Things like taxes, homeowner's dues or condo fees, and maintenance costs can add up quickly. It's important to have a plan for affording your new residence in the event of a decrease in income or the loss of a spouse

And remember, it's not just about affordability. You should consider your future needs when buying a house, particularly in terms of mobility. Factors to consider include the presence of stairs in the house, accommodation for a wheelchair if needed, and the ability to make the kitchen and bathroom accessible. It's important to anticipate changes in circumstances and plan for them.

Additionally, while it might seem like paying cash for your next residence is the best move, you should consider the expected rate of return on invested assets and compare it with the interest rate on the new mortgage. Mortgages may come with tax advantages that shouldn't be overlooked.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that selling your house for retirement provides the financial benefits and flexibility you're looking for, without the unwanted surprises. It's all about planning ahead and making informed decisions. Now, go get 'em, tiger!

Selling Your Philadelphia House to Upgrade Your Home

Understanding Home Equity

When it comes to selling a house to upgrade, one concept that you'll come across frequently is home equity. Understanding this concept is crucial as it can significantly impact your selling process and the options available to you. (Equity is especially important if you happen to be in a situation where you're going through a divorce).

Definition of Home Equity

So, what exactly is home equity? Simply put, home equity is the portion of your home that you've actually paid off (Bankrate). It's the difference between what your home is worth and what you owe on any mortgages or loans tied to the property.

Imagine you bought your home for $200,000, and you've paid down $50,000 of your mortgage. That $50,000 is your home equity. It's the part of the home that you truly own.

Home Value Amount Owing Home Equity
$200,000 $150,000 $50,000

How Home Equity Impacts Selling

You might be thinking, "Well, that's nice, but what does home equity have to do with selling my house to upgrade?"

Well, your home equity can play a massive role in your ability to upgrade to a new home. When you sell your current home, the equity you've built up becomes available to you. This money can be used towards a down payment on a new, larger, or more luxurious home, effectively helping you to upgrade your living situation.

Furthermore, if you've built up substantial equity, it could mean you're able to afford a more expensive home, or perhaps make a larger down payment reducing your mortgage payments on your new home.

Therefore, understanding your home equity is a crucial first step in the process of selling your house to upgrade. It can give you a clearer picture of what you can afford and help guide your decision-making process as you consider your next steps.

Reasons to Sell Your Home

Sometimes, a change in circumstances or aspirations might lead you to consider selling your home. Let's delve into some common motivations that might have you thinking about selling your house to upgrade.

Need for More Space

One of the most common reasons for selling a house is the need for more space. Maybe your family is growing, or perhaps you've picked up some new hobbies that require extra room. Whatever the reason, your current home might feel a little too cramped for comfort.

But here's the good news. The current housing market in Philadelphia makes it a great time to sell and upgrade to a larger property. With the low mortgage rates, you'll have a better chance of affording that extra bedroom or spacious backyard you've been dreaming about.

Lifestyle Changes

Significant lifestyle changes also prompt many homeowners to put their property on the market. Maybe you've landed a new job in a different city, or perhaps you've recently retired and want to downsize to a more manageable property. Or, maybe you're just craving a change of scenery.

The Philly housing market is currently experiencing low inventory levels, creating a favorable seller's market. This means you could potentially sell your home for a higher price than you initially expected. With strong demand and limited supply, sellers have the advantage in negotiations and often receive offers above asking price.

And if you're worried about the time it might take to sell your house, fret not. The average time it takes to sell a house in Philadelphia has decreased to just 23 days. This fast-paced market means your property could be snapped up quicker than you think, leaving you free to move on to the next exciting chapter of your life.

So whether it's for more space or due to a lifestyle change, selling your home right now could work in your favor. Just imagine what you could do with the extra cash from selling at a higher price - that's one big step closer to the upgrade you've been dreaming of!

Upgrading Your Home

If you've been feeling a little cramped lately or simply dreaming of a fresh start, selling a house to upgrade to a larger or more modern home could be a smart move. Let's dive into some strategies that can help you maximize your home's value and ease the selling process.

Renovations That Increase Home Value

Before putting your home on the market, consider making a few strategic upgrades. Not all renovations are created equal, however. Some can significantly boost your home's value, while others might not offer as much bang for your buck. Here's a look at some top-value renovations you might consider:

Renovation Return on Investment
Upgrading a kitchen 80-85%
Adding a bathroom 8-12%
Installing new windows 85-89%
Upgrading landscaping 5-20%
Finishing a basement 70-75%

Remember, fixtures and finishes matter when selling a house. Buyers often prefer tastefully renovated homes with neutral finishes over unrenovated or outdated homes. By making thoughtful upgrades before listing, you can potentially increase your home's value and make it more appealing to potential buyers.

Selling to Upgrade to a Larger Home

Maybe you've outgrown your current home, or perhaps you're just ready for a change. Whatever your reasons, selling your house to upgrade to a larger one can be an exciting prospect. Here's the good news: the equity you've built up in your current home can be used towards the purchase of your next home.

Take into account current market conditions. For instance, the low mortgage rates in Philadelphia make it an advantageous time to sell a house and upgrade to a larger property. If you're in a similar situation, it could be an ideal time to make your move.

When selling to upgrade, consider your needs and lifestyle. Do you need more bedrooms for a growing family? A larger yard for pets? Or maybe a home office has become a necessity. Keeping these factors in mind will help you find your next perfect home.

Remember, selling a house to upgrade is a major decision. Take the time to assess your needs, explore your options, and make the choice that's right for you. Happy house hunting!

Preparing for a Home Sale

Getting ready to sell your home is a big step. Before you stick that 'For Sale' sign in your yard, there are a few things you need to consider, especially when you're selling a house to upgrade. You need to ensure that you price your home correctly and choose the right time to sell.

Pricing Your Home Correctly

Pricing your home correctly is crucial for a successful sale. Setting the right price can help attract potential buyers and get your home sold quickly. When pricing your home, you should consider recent sales and active listings of similar homes in your area, as well as consult with a local real estate agent for market knowledge.

Remember, each home is unique, and small nuances in the market like floor plans and flow can affect the price. Homes with better floor plans and flow are generally considered more valuable.

Other factors like location, school district, and tax district can also impact the value of your home. It's important to research each comparable home thoroughly to determine its true value.

Choosing the Right Time to Sell

The timing of your home sale can also impact how quickly your home sells. A qualified real estate agent can advise on the best time to list your home.

The real estate market can be seasonal. The late spring/early summer period is generally the best time to sell a house because buyers are more active during the warmer months. Families often choose May and June to move due to the timing of the school year and favorable weather conditions. The fall and winter months see less real estate market activity, but persistent buyers may choose these months for better deals.

By pricing your home correctly and choosing the right time to sell, you can make the process of selling your home a bit easier. With careful planning and a bit of patience, you'll be on your way to selling your house and getting that upgrade you've been dreaming of.

Selling in a Competitive Market

When it comes to selling a house to upgrade, understanding the impact of market conditions on your sale and having the right strategies can make a world of difference. Let's dive in.

The Impact of Market Conditions

Market conditions can greatly affect how quickly your home sells and at what price. Real estate markets can broadly be divided into buyer's markets and seller's markets. In a buyer's market, where there are more homes for sale than buyers, selling a home can take longer due to competition and buyers taking their time to make decisions and negotiate.

On the other hand, in a seller's market, like the current Philly housing market, where demand is high and supply is low, homes can sell quickly and often at higher prices (which may be something to think about if you were looking to retire). In such markets, sellers often have the upper hand in negotiations and can even receive offers above the asking price.

Market Type Demand Supply Speed of Sale Sale Price
Buyer's Market Low High Slower Lower
Seller's Market High Low Faster Higher

Strategies for Selling in a Seller's Market

In a seller's market, you need to leverage the advantage you have and make your home stand out among the competition. Here are a few strategies to help you do just that.

1. Optimize Your Online Presence: With real estate sales and prices predicted to rise in the coming year, having a mobile-optimized website is essential. It serves as a platform for prospects to learn about your home and reach out when ready to engage.

2. Content Marketing: Online content creation allows you to establish yourself as knowledgeable and provide valuable information to potential buyers. This can reinforce your credibility and position your home as the right choice for their needs.

3. Price Your Home Right: Even in a seller's market, overpricing your home can scare off potential buyers. Make sure your home is priced correctly for the current market conditions to attract serious buyers.

4. Stage Your Home: A well-staged home can help buyers visualize themselves in the space, making your home more appealing. Consider hiring a professional stager to make your home look its best.

Remember, even in a competitive market, the goal is to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers. By employing the right strategies, you can attract more buyers and sell your home quickly and at a great price. So, get ready to level up your living by selling your house to upgrade.

Potential Hurdles in the Selling Process

While selling a house to upgrade can be an exciting journey, there can be some hurdles along the way. The process isn't always a straight line from listing to closing. Here are two key stages where you might encounter some challenges.

Dealing with Home Appraisals and Inspections

The home appraisal and inspection stages are often where delays occur in the selling process. The appraisal determines the fair market value of your home, while the inspection focuses on its condition. Both of these can raise issues that might prolong the process.

The appraisal might come in lower than expected, which can be a stumbling block, especially if your buyer's mortgage lender is involved. If the inspection uncovers significant issues like structural damage or outdated electrical systems, it could lead to further negotiations or even scare off the buyer.

The key to navigating these challenges is preparation. Make sure your home is well-maintained and clean. According to Quicken Loans, homes in good condition are more attractive to buyers, leading to higher sale prices and quicker sales. Properties in need of significant repairs or updates may take longer to sell, as buyers may hesitate or expect a lower price.

Negotiating and Closing the Sale

Once the appraisal and inspection stages are complete, you might think you're home free. But hold on, there's still the final negotiation and closing stage to consider. The buyer may have certain requirements or contingencies before closing on the house. For instance, they might ask for repairs to be made, or for the selling price to be adjusted based on the appraisal or inspection results.

During the closing stage, you'll need to review and sign closing documents, receive proceeds from the sale, and turn over keys and access codes to the new owners. It's a significant step, marking the official transfer of ownership from you to the buyer.

Remember, every hurdle is an opportunity to learn and grow. With the right preparation and mindset, these challenges can become stepping stones on your journey to selling your house and upgrading to a better home. And when you finally hand over those keys, you'll know that every step, every challenge, was worth it. You've successfully navigated the process of selling a house to upgrade, and now, a new chapter awaits. According to Rocket Mortgage, that's something to be proud of.

The quickest way to sell is actually with us. Sell My House Philadelphia is one of the biggest buyers in the Philly area. Since we work directly with funding partners, we can streamline and close on your home without ever having to work with agents, showings, or even making you do repairs. It's the simplest, easiest way to get cash for your home today.

10 Motivating Reasons to Sell Your House In Philadelphia

Reasons for Selling Your House

Deciding to sell your house is a significant decision, and understanding the motivations behind such a choice can be helpful. You might be considering selling for a number of reasons, financial motivations and life changes are among the most common. Let's explore these reasons further.

Financial Motivations

One of the primary reasons to sell a house revolves around financial motivations. Maybe your financial situation has changed due to career advancement, or perhaps you're finding the cost of maintenance and repairs a little too steep to handle.

In cases where the home is larger than needed, selling can help reduce expenses associated with maintaining a larger property, like excessive bills or high mortgage payments. Downsizing to a smaller, more manageable property can free up funds for other uses and significantly reduce stress (The Balance).

Moreover, selling your house can provide an opportunity to tap into your home's equity. This equity can be used to pay off debt, fund a business endeavor, or invest in another property, offering a multitude of financial opportunities (US News).

Life Changes and Relocations

Life is full of changes, and these transitions can often lead to the decision to sell a house. One such life change could be a relocation for a new job or to be closer to (or further from) family. Relocating to a new city or state can make holding on to your current property burdensome and costly.

Changes in marital status like divorce or retirement are other life changes that might necessitate a home sale. In these instances, the sale of a home can provide a fresh start or a new direction.

In conclusion, whether motivated by financial reasons or life changes, selling your house can often be the smart, beneficial move. It's important to weigh your options and make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances and needs.

Impact of Neighborhood Changes

Neighborhood changes can have a significant impact on your quality of life and your home's value. Sometimes, these changes can act as compelling reasons to sell a house.

Shifting Neighborhood Conditions

You might have initially loved your neighborhood, but with time, things can change. Maybe the economic conditions have taken a downturn, or there's been undesirable development nearby, such as a new commercial complex or a busy highway. Such shifts can affect your peace of mind and your property's value (Source).

If you find that your once-quiet neighborhood has become too noisy or crowded, or perhaps it's not as safe as it used to be, it might be time to consider selling. You deserve to live in a place where you feel comfortable and secure. If your current neighborhood no longer meets your expectations, selling your house and moving to a more suitable location could be in your best interest.

School District Considerations

If you have children, the quality of the local school district is probably a top concern for you. Over time, the performance of school districts can fluctuate. You might find that the schools in your area are no longer meeting your children's educational needs. Or maybe you're planning to start a family and the local schools aren't up to par.

On the flip side, if your kids have graduated, you might not want to continue paying high property taxes associated with a top-ranking school district. Either way, changes in your family's educational needs can be a strong motivation to sell your house.

Reasons Impact on Decision to Sell
Economic decline in the neighborhood High
Undesirable neighborhood development High
Local school district not meeting children's needs High
High property taxes in top-ranking school district post children's graduation Moderate

Remember, selling your house is a big decision. But if neighborhood changes are impacting your lifestyle or your home's value, it might be time to consider your options.

Dealing with House Maintenance

One of the common reasons to sell a house revolves around the realm of house maintenance. When the cost, time, and energy required for repairs and upgrades become overwhelming, you may find it more sensible to sell.

Repairs and Upgrades

As a homeowner, you might be well aware of the continual cycle of repairs and upgrades that a house demands. From fixing leaky faucets to replacing worn-out roofs, the maintenance list can seem never-ending. For some homeowners, the thought of tackling these repairs can be daunting. This is especially the case if the repairs are extensive or costly, like foundation or structural issues.

Furthermore, finding reliable and efficient vendors, such as electricians, plumbers, painters, or general contractors, can be a challenge when selling a house on your own. Real estate agents often have local connections and can recommend trustworthy vendors to assist with maintenance issues that may arise during the selling process.

If the thought of dealing with these repairs is overwhelming, selling your house might be a viable option.

Selling 'As Is'

For those who want to avoid the hassle and cost of home repairs altogether, selling the house 'as is' becomes an attractive option. This approach means that you, as the seller, will not be responsible for making any repairs or improvements to the property before the sale (Banks.com).

Choosing to sell 'as is' can attract investors and cash buyers who are looking for a fixer-upper or investment property. Plus, it can save you time and money by avoiding the need to make repairs or upgrades. This can be a good option if you're in a hurry to sell or unable to afford repairs.

However, keep in mind that selling 'as is' may result in a lower sale price compared to selling a fully renovated property. But, if the cost and effort of repairs seem too much, the trade-off might be worth it.

In conclusion, dealing with house maintenance is a crucial factor when deciding whether to sell your house. Whether you opt for repairs and upgrades or decide to sell 'as is', understanding your options can help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and circumstances.

The Role of Home Size

The size of your home plays a crucial role in your living experience. Whether your current space feels too big or too small, the desire for a change in home size can be a compelling reason to sell.

Downsizing Your Home

The idea of living in a smaller space may seem daunting, but downsizing can offer a host of benefits. If you find yourself dealing with rooms that are hardly used or a yard that requires more upkeep than you're willing to handle, it might be time to consider selling your house.

The financial benefits of downsizing are hard to ignore. A smaller home typically means less maintenance, lower utility bills, and potentially a lower mortgage payment. These savings can provide a financial cushion or free up funds for things you enjoy, like travel or hobbies.

In addition to the financial perks, downsizing can also align with changes in your lifestyle. If your children have moved out or you're stepping into retirement, a smaller home can reduce your responsibilities and give you more time to relax and enjoy life.

Upsizing for Growing Families

On the flip side, you might find that your family is outgrowing your current home. This is one of the most common reasons people decide to sell their houses.

As your family expands, you might start to feel the squeeze. An additional child or an aging parent moving in can quickly make a once-spacious home feel cramped. The need for more bedrooms, larger living areas, or a more spacious yard can push you towards selling your current home and finding a larger one.

Upgrading to a bigger home can also provide additional comforts or amenities that your current home lacks. This could be anything from an extra bathroom to a larger kitchen, or even a dedicated home office space.

Remember, selling your house is a big decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Whether you're looking to downsize or upgrade, it's important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks, consider your future needs, and, most importantly, do what feels right for you and your family.

When Selling is a Mistake

While there are plenty of reasons to sell a house, sometimes you might feel that selling was a mistake. This can come in two forms: buyer's remorse and unmet expectations.

Buyer's Remorse

It happens to the best of us. You buy a house, thinking it's your dream home, only to realize it’s not all it's cracked up to be. You might be kept up at night by the noise from the main street or find that maintaining the property is more work than you initially thought. Or maybe the layout of the house, which seemed perfect during the open house, now feels inconvenient or impractical in daily life.

In other cases, the problem might not be the house at all. Your circumstances may have changed, such as getting a new job that requires relocation, wanting to live closer to or further away from family, or perhaps you've just completed a remodeling project and are now looking for a new challenge. These personal reasons can make you feel like you've made a mistake in buying your current home.

Unmet Expectations

On the flip side, you might feel that selling your house was a mistake due to unmet expectations. This typically happens when you try to sell your house on your own without the help of a real estate agent.

Selling a house is a complex process, and doing it on your own could expose you to legal risks, such as failing to comply with disclosure laws or not completing the required paperwork correctly. Mistakes like these could potentially result in lawsuits.

Additionally, the time commitment required to sell your own home can be significant. You'd be responsible for everything from pricing and staging to marketing and being available for showings. This can be a major challenge if you're already juggling a full-time job and other responsibilities.

Lastly, there's the risk that your efforts to sell your house might not be successful. This could be due to factors such as improper pricing, inadequate marketing, or simply bad luck. If the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) process doesn't pan out as you'd hoped, you might end up feeling like selling was a mistake and reconsider working with a traditional agent or a flat-fee broker.

While it's natural to have some regrets or second thoughts, it's important to remember that selling a house is a big decision. It's crucial to carefully consider your motivations, expectations, and resources before making the leap to ensure you're making the right move for your circumstances.

Selling Inherited Properties

Inheriting a property can sometimes feel more like a burden than a blessing. From probate and maintenance costs to the potential of accessing immediate cash, selling an inherited home can be a viable solution for many homeowners. Here are some reasons why you might choose to sell.

Probate and Maintenance Costs

Inheriting a property doesn't always come without strings attached. Often, you'll find yourself dealing with probate proceedings and the ongoing costs of maintaining the property. These expenditures can quickly add up, making the prospect of selling an attractive one.

As the new owner, you're responsible for all the property taxes, insurance, and upkeep. If the property is older or has not been well maintained, repair expenses can become a significant financial burden. Selling the property can alleviate these costs and free up your finances for other uses.

Cash from Inherited Homes

While an inherited property can bring additional costs, it can also represent a significant financial opportunity. Selling the inherited home can provide a lump sum of cash that can be used to pay off debts, invest, or simply enhance your lifestyle.

Moreover, you have plenty of options when it comes to selling. You could work with a traditional real estate agent, use an iBuyer, team up with a wholesaler, or explore alternative solutions like Sell My House Philadelphia that allow you to sell the property as it is, without worrying about repairs or fees.

Selling Option Pros Cons
Real Estate Agent Professional guidance, access to MLS Commission fees, potentially slower sale
iBuyer Quick sale, no showings Lower offer, service fees
Wholesaler Fast, as-is sale Below market price
Sundae As-is sale, no fees or repairs -

In the end, the best option depends on your personal circumstances and needs. The key is to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each selling method and choose the one that aligns best with your goals. Selling an inherited property can be a smart move that relieves stress and opens up new financial possibilities.

Exploring Selling Options

After considering all the reasons to sell a house, it's time to explore your selling options. There are primarily two ways you could go about it: you could either work with a real estate agent or take the 'For Sale By Owner' route.

Working with Real Estate Agents

Hiring a real estate agent to sell your property can be a good option, especially if you're not familiar with the process of selling a house. Agents bring a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the table. They can help with pricing, marketing, arranging showings, and navigating the paperwork that comes with selling a house.

Real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and other marketing channels, which can significantly increase the exposure of your property to potential buyers. They also have connections with reliable vendors like electricians, plumbers, and general contractors, who can help fix any maintenance issues that arise during the selling process.

However, remember that all these services come at a cost. Real estate agents typically charge a commission for their services which is usually a percentage of the selling price of the house.

Exploring 'For Sale By Owner'

The 'For Sale By Owner' (FSBO) approach can save you from paying a hefty commission to a real estate agent. But, it requires a significant time investment on your part. You'll have to handle tasks like pricing, staging, marketing, arranging showings, and dealing with the paperwork yourself.

Determining the correct list price for your house is crucial, and without the expertise of a real estate agent, there's a risk of overpricing or undervaluing your property, leading to missed opportunities or leaving money on the table. Furthermore, selling your house on your own may limit your exposure and make it harder to find buyers as you won't have access to the MLS listing and other marketing channels that professional real estate agents can provide.

There are also legal risks involved in FSBO. There's a risk of failure to comply with disclosure laws or not completing the required paperwork correctly, which could potentially result in lawsuits.

Finally, despite all your efforts, there remains a risk that you may not be able to sell your property successfully. This could be due to improper pricing, inadequate marketing, or other unforeseen circumstances. If the FSBO process is unsuccessful, you might have to reconsider working with a traditional agent or a flat-fee broker.

The choice between working with a real estate agent and going the FSBO route depends on your comfort level with handling the tasks involved in selling a house, your knowledge of the real estate market, and the amount of time and effort you're willing to put into the process. Take time to weigh the pros and cons and choose the option that works best for you.

Selling Your House To Downsize in Philadelphia PA

Understanding Downsizing

There are many reasons why you'd be interested in selling your home. In fact, here are 10 reasons why you'd want to sell your Philly house now. Even including things like divorce, relocation, or even upsizing.

When it comes to selling your home and making a change, one option that's often overlooked is downsizing. Let's delve into what downsizing means and why it can be a smart and refreshing choice.

What is Downsizing?

Downsizing, in the context of homeownership, is the process of moving to a smaller home. This could mean transitioning from a larger house to a smaller one, or even considering options like an apartment, condo, tiny home, or RV. When you downsize, you're essentially buying a smaller home than the one you currently own Rocket Homes. It might seem like a big change, but it's one that is often embraced by those who no longer need all the space they have, or those struggling with the upkeep and related costs of a larger home.

Reasons for Downsizing

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to reasons for downsizing. Some of you might be thinking of selling a house to downsize simply because you want less space. Perhaps your kids have moved out, and you're now an 'empty nester' who no longer needs all that extra space and maintenance that comes with a larger home.

Some of you might be looking to save money. Downsizing can help reduce living costs significantly, especially when it comes to utility bills, property taxes, and maintenance costs.

Then, there are those of you who might be considering downsizing out of necessity. Maybe it's getting difficult to keep up with the maintenance of your current home. In such cases, downsizing to a smaller, more manageable property can be a great solution.

Whatever your reason may be, selling a house to downsize can be a practical, financially sound, and refreshing change. It's about finding a home that fits your current needs and lifestyle, making your life a bit easier and a whole lot more comfortable.

Financial Implications of Downsizing

The decision to downsize by selling a house isn't just about living in a smaller space, it's also a strategic financial move that can have substantial benefits. Let's explore how downsizing can impact your wallet in several ways.

Reducing Living Costs

Downsizing in retirement or even before can offer financial relief by reducing your overall living costs (Investopedia). By moving to a smaller home, you can potentially lower your mortgage payments, property taxes, and utility costs.

Below is a general comparison of costs for a larger home versus a smaller one:

Expenses Larger Home Smaller Home
Mortgage Payments High Lower
Property Taxes High Lower
Utility Bills High Lower

Remember, less space means less expense. So if you're looking to cut down your monthly expenses, selling a house to downsize could be a smart move.

Unlocking Home Equity

One of the key financial benefits of selling a larger house and downsizing to a smaller one is the potential to unlock home equity. This equity can be used for other purposes, such as bolstering your retirement savings, checking off items on your travel bucket list, or even investing in new ventures.

Think of it as a cash reserve that you've been building over the years by paying down your mortgage. Now, by selling your house, you can tap into this reserve and use it to fund your needs or desires.

Tax Considerations

Selling your house and downsizing can also help lower your property taxes as smaller homes generally have lower assessed values.

However, it's also important to consider potential tax implications. Selling a home may trigger capital gains tax if the profit from the sale exceeds $250,000 for single individuals or $500,000 for married couples.

Tax Type Single Individuals Married Couples
Capital Gains Tax Exclusion $250,000 $500,000

Moreover, income from the sale of your home could affect how government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, and Medicaid are taxed, and may affect eligibility for Medicaid long-term care benefits.

So, while downsizing has several financial benefits, it's also crucial to consider the tax implications and possibly consult with a tax professional to understand your position better.

Downsizing as a Lifestyle Change

When you're mulling over the idea of selling a house to downsize, it's worth considering that this decision can bring about much more than just financial changes. It can also significantly impact your lifestyle, often for the better.

Less Maintenance and Upkeep

Ever feel like your house is just too much work? Downsizing your home can dramatically reduce the time you spend on maintenance and cleaning, freeing up more hours in your day to do things you love. Smaller homes generally need less upkeep, which can lead to cost savings too. Just remember to consider any potential homeowners association or maintenance fees that might come with condos and townhouses.

Embracing Minimalism

Downsizing is also a chance to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle. With less space to fill, you'll need fewer possessions, which means less clutter to manage (Better Homes & Gardens). It also means you'll have the opportunity to take stock of what you own, getting rid of items that have outlived their usefulness and replacing them with newer versions if needed. Yes, you might have to make some tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go, but the reward is living a simpler, more intentional life.

Transitioning to Retirement

If you're nearing retirement, downsizing could be the refreshing change you need. A smaller home can mean lower maintenance and repair costs, allowing you to redirect your resources towards other priorities, such as travel or hobbies. Of course, it's important to weigh any emotional and sentimental attachments to your current house against the practical and financial benefits of downsizing. But if the scales tip in favor of a smaller home, you'll be well on your way to a more relaxed and manageable retirement lifestyle.

In conclusion, downsizing is much more than just selling a house to move to a smaller one. It's a lifestyle change that can offer a wealth of benefits. From less maintenance and a minimalist lifestyle to an easier transition to retirement, downsizing could be just the refreshing change you need.

Planning the Downsizing Process

In the quest to downsize, planning is your best friend. A well-thought-out plan not only helps ease the transition but also ensures that you are making the most out of selling a house to downsize.

Starting Early

Downsizing is not a one-day task. It requires time, effort, and emotional readiness. Starting early is the key to a stress-free process. This gives you ample time to sort through your belongings, make decisions, and follow through with plan. You won't feel rushed, and you'll be able to make decisions with a clear head.

Dealing with Clutter

As you start the process of selling a house to downsize, decluttering is a necessary step. You'll need to take a full inventory of your belongings. This not only helps you decide what's important but also helps you avoid keeping duplicates and determine what items to sell or donate.

Decluttering and organizing your belongings before selling a house to downsize makes the moving process and transition to a smaller space easier. This is an opportunity to take stock of essential items, get rid of items that are past their useful life, and perhaps replace them with newer versions.

Yes, downsizing to a smaller home may require making difficult decisions about what to keep and what to let go of, but it can also be an opportunity to embrace a more minimalistic and intentional lifestyle.

Choosing the Right Property

Once you've decided to downsize and decluttered your life, the next step is finding the right property. It's not just about selling your big house; it's about finding a smaller home that fits your downsized lifestyle.

When selling a house to downsize, it's crucial to consider the current housing market and work with a real estate agent who understands the unique challenges and opportunities of selling a smaller property.

Remember, your new home must cater to your needs and wants. Consider factors like location, community, accessibility, and maintenance in addition to size. Choose a home that you'll be comfortable in, and that aligns with your vision of a downsized lifestyle.

Plan, declutter, and choose wisely. These are your stepping stones to a successful downsizing process. A smaller home doesn't mean a smaller life. It's about living big in a space that suits you perfectly. Happy downsizing!

Potential Challenges in Downsizing

While the idea of selling a house to downsize can be exciting and refreshing, it's not without its challenges. These can range from emotional considerations to the practicalities of finding a suitable property and managing dual mortgages.

Emotional Considerations

Downsizing can often mean parting ways with a home you've grown emotionally attached to, which can be a tough pill to swallow. It's important to weigh these emotional and sentimental attachments against the practical and financial benefits of downsizing in retirement.

This could be a home where you raised your kids, celebrated holidays, or just enjoyed quiet evenings in. The memories tied up in your home can make the idea of selling and moving feel overwhelming. Remember, it's okay to feel this way. It's a big change, and changes usually come with a mixed bag of emotions.

Finding Suitable Property

Finding the right property to move into can be another hurdle. You're used to a certain size and space in your current home, and it can be hard to imagine fitting all your belongings into a smaller property.

Moreover, you might want to stay in the same neighborhood or be near family, and downsizing opportunities might be limited in those areas. Remember, downsizing requires careful budgeting and planning to ensure that the smaller property meets your retirement needs and lifestyle.

Managing Dual Mortgages

If you're considering buying a new home before selling your current one, you'll need a plan for potentially paying two mortgages at the same time. This could be financially challenging if selling your home takes longer than expected.

On the other hand, selling your home before buying a new one allows you to take your time and make a well-informed decision on your next home purchase, without feeling rushed or pressured.

In a nutshell, while the idea of a smaller, more manageable home may sound appealing, it's important to consider these potential challenges before you make the leap. But with a little planning and a lot of heart, you'll find that downsizing can be a journey worth taking.

Making the Decision to Downsize

Choosing to downsize is a big decision. It involves a lot of planning, organizing, and thinking about your future needs. But before you decide to put that "For Sale" sign up, let's take a closer look at a few key factors you should consider.

Assessing Your Needs

The first step in deciding whether selling a house to downsize is right for you is to assess your needs. Do you really need all that space? Are you struggling with maintenance or finding it hard to cover the costs? Downsizing often makes sense for empty nesters or those who find the upkeep of their current home challenging.

However, it's not just about the size and cost. Consider the location too. If you want to stay close to your current neighborhood or family, downsizing might be tricky if opportunities are limited in those areas.

Considering Market Conditions

The real estate market plays a crucial role when it comes to selling your home. You want to make sure you get the best possible price for your property. Timing, market conditions, and finding the right buyer are all essential elements to consider.

Selling your current home before buying a new one can help you avoid dealing with two mortgages at once, reducing the risk of financial strain. Not to mention, it also gives you the freedom to take your time and make a well-informed decision on your next home purchase.

Weighing Alternatives to Downsizing

Downsizing isn't your only option. In fact, some homeowners discover they're better off staying put and remodeling instead of buying a new property. This could be a viable alternative if you're attached to your current home or neighborhood.

On the other hand, if you do decide to buy before selling, you'll need a plan to manage potentially paying two mortgages at the same time. This could be financially challenging if selling your home takes longer than expected.

The decision to downsize is personal and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. It's about weighing the pros and cons, considering your current needs and future plans, and making the best decision for you and your family. So take your time, do your research, and make the decision that feels right for your situation.

Sell My House Philadelphia can help you get out of your current home if you're looking for a fast and easy sale. That would help streamline part of your downsizing process as you get into your smaller home.

Tips for Selling Your House In Philadelphia After a Divorce

Understanding the Process

Going through a divorce is tough, and deciding what to do with the family home can add an extra layer of complexity. This section will help you understand the basics of selling a house after a divorce and the legal aspects you should consider.

The Basics of Selling a House After Divorce

Divorce often involves splitting up assets, and your house is likely one of the biggest ones. Selling the house during a divorce is often the best option due to financial, legal, or personal reasons, and allows both parties to divide the proceeds.

There are three common ways to handle the division of the house during a divorce:

  1. Divide large assets equally
  2. Buy out the other party
  3. Co-own the home with your ex-spouse

Each option has its own set of pros and cons, and the decision ultimately depends on your unique situation. Either way, it's a way to downsize and get your finances back on track after it's settled.

Legal Aspects to Consider

When it comes to the legal aspects of selling a house after a divorce, it's important to understand the laws in your state. In community property states, the house is typically considered marital property and will be divided equally between the spouses upon divorce. However, in equitable distribution states, the court will determine a fair and equitable division of the marital property, which may not necessarily be a 50/50 split (DivorceNet).

If both spouses cannot agree on the sale of the house, the court may order the house to be sold and the proceeds divided according to the divorce settlement. The court takes several factors into consideration when determining ownership of the property, but if the couple can reach an agreement about the house, the judge will typically allow the agreement to stand.

In some cases, a judge may even order the sale of the house and divide the proceeds. However, each case is unique. For example, a judge may award one spouse primary custody of the children and also award them the home. The division of the house can be better controlled by reaching a divorce settlement instead of going to trial.

Understanding the legal aspects of selling a house after a divorce can be complex, but it's an essential part of the process. It's always a good idea to consult with a legal expert to make sure you're making the best decisions for your situation.

Evaluating Your Options

When it comes to selling a house after a divorce, you've got options. Each one has its pros and cons, so let's explore the three most common ones: Selling on the open market, buying out your spouse, and continuing co-ownership.

The Absolute Quickest & Easiest Way To Sell

The fastest way to sell your house without worrying about all of the accompanying costs and effort is to sell to an investor, like us.

Sell My House Philadelphia works with a lot of couples that are going through the divorce process and want a simple and quick sale so they can finalize their proceedings.

Because we buy houses in Philly and surrounding areas, we can streamline the process so that the divorce court and/or the two parties don't have to go back and forth about what agents to use, evaluating buyers, dealing with time delays and showings, and many other considerations.

Additionally, they don't need to worry about making repairs or coming out of pocket to get the home to sell.

It's often the fastest route to moving forward in life and putting this all behind you.

Selling on the Open Market

One of the most straightforward ways of handling the house is by selling it on the open market. This way, both of you could potentially walk away with your share of the proceeds and start fresh. You'll need to agree on a list price, prepare the house for sale, and work together until the sale is final. This process can take time and requires cooperation from both parties, but it might be your best bet if neither of you wants to stay in the house.

Buying Out Your Spouse

If one of you wants to keep the home, buying out your spouse's share might be a viable option. This involves one spouse buying the other spouse's interest in the home. You'll need to get a valuation of the property and determine a fair buyout price. This might require refinancing the mortgage or taking out a new loan to pay off your spouse's share of the equity in the house.

However, it's important to remember that taking on the full financial responsibility for the house can be a significant burden. Before you make this decision, make sure you can afford the mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs on a single income.

Continuing Co-ownership

Another option is to continue co-owning the home with your ex-spouse. This might be a good choice if you have children and don't want to disrupt their lives, or if you're waiting for the housing market to improve before selling.

This arrangement involves one spouse continuing to live in the house while the other retains ownership. The remaining spouse might need to buy out the other spouse's share of the equity, which could mean refinancing the mortgage or taking out a new loan.

Keep in mind that this option requires a high level of trust and cooperation. You'll need to agree on how to split expenses and what will happen if the living situation changes.

No matter which option you choose, it's important to consult with a lawyer or financial advisor to understand the full implications. The goal is to make a decision that puts you in the best position to move forward.

Financial Implications

Going through a divorce is tough, and when you add in the financial implications of selling a house, it can feel overwhelming. But don't worry, we're here to help you make sense of it all.

Understanding Home Equity

When you're selling a house after a divorce, you're not just selling a property, you're also dealing with your home equity. Home equity is the difference between the market value of your house and what you still owe on your mortgage. Selling the house might be the better choice if one of you can't afford the mortgage and expenses on a single income. It also allows both of you to cash in on your home equity.

Dealing with Mortgages and Debts

When you sell your house, the first financial obligation you have to meet is paying off your mortgage. After that, any remaining proceeds can be divided as agreed upon by both parties. But be careful! If you have other joint debts, they can also affect how much each person ends up with. It's important to get a clear picture of all your joint financial obligations before making decisions.

Capital Gains Tax Considerations

Now, let's talk about taxes. When selling a house after a divorce, capital gains tax may apply if the profits from the sale exceed $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a couple. The capital gains tax is paid on the difference between the selling price and the original purchase price of the house.

But here's some good news: there are specific tax rules and exemptions that can help minimize or even eliminate capital gains tax on the sale of a house after divorce. For instance, the "divorce home sale exclusion" allows you to qualify for this tax break if the house was your primary residence for at least two out of the five years leading up to the sale, and the sale must occur within two years after the end of the marriage.

There's also the "one-time exclusion" which allows you to exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains from the sale of a house, even if you don't meet the two-year ownership and use requirements. But remember, this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

Keep in mind, it's always a good idea to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific rules and requirements for minimizing capital gains tax on the sale of a house after divorce. They can also help you understand how other tax deductions related to mortgage interest and property taxes can be divided.

So yes, selling a house after a divorce can be complex. But with the right information and guidance, you can navigate the financial implications and make the best decisions for your future.

Practical Steps to Selling

After deciding to sell your house following a divorce, there are practical steps you need to follow to ensure the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. This includes determining the house value, preparing the house for sale, and choosing a real estate agent.

Determining the House Value

Determining the value of your house is the first step you need to take. This is crucial because you and your ex-spouse need to agree on the selling price. If you can't agree, you may need to hire a real estate appraiser to establish the property's value (source). The appraisal can help you determine the fair market value of your property, making it easier for you to set a realistic selling price.

Keep in mind that the proceeds from the sale of the house will likely be divided according to the terms of your divorce agreement. Therefore, it's in your best interest to get the most accurate property valuation possible.

Preparing for Sale

Next, you need to prepare the house for sale. This could involve decluttering, cleaning, staging, and possibly making minor repairs or updates to enhance the property's appeal. Remember, the goal is to make your house as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

In some cases, selling the house might be the only way to divide the property's value equitably between both parties. This requires cooperation between you and your ex-spouse to get the house ready for sale, set a competitive listing price, and negotiate offers.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

When selling a house after a divorce, it's crucial to choose a real estate agent experienced in dealing with such situations. The agent should understand the legal and financial aspects involved, and be able to navigate the potentially tricky dynamics of dealing with divorcing couples.

The right agent can provide invaluable advice and guidance, help you set a competitive selling price based on local market conditions, and negotiate effectively with potential buyers. Remember, the choice of a real estate agent can significantly influence how quickly your house sells and the final selling price.

These practical steps can help ensure that the process of selling your house after a divorce is as smooth and straightforward as possible. Despite the challenges, with the right approach and the right help, you can successfully navigate this process and start a new chapter in your life.

Overcoming Challenges

Selling a house after a divorce is often a complex process. Apart from the legal and financial aspects, you also need to deal with the emotional challenges that come with the process. Here's a guide to help you navigate through these hurdles.

Negotiating the Sale Price

One of the first challenges you'll face is agreeing on the selling price of the house. You and your ex-spouse must reach a consensus on this. If you find it difficult to agree on a price, consider hiring a real estate appraiser to determine the value of the property. An objective third-party assessment can help alleviate any potential disputes and push the sale forward.

Managing Emotional Factors

The emotional strain that comes with divorce can make selling a house even more challenging. It's easy to let emotions cloud your judgment, especially when it's a home you've built memories in. Keep in mind that selling the house is a business decision and should be approached with a clear head.

When it gets tough, consider seeking the help of professionals. A therapist or counselor can provide emotional support, while a real estate agent experienced in handling divorce situations can guide you through the financial and legal aspects of the sale.

Dealing with Unresolved Disputes

If you and your ex-spouse can't agree on the sale of the house, the court may have to step in. It might order the house to be sold and the proceeds divided according to the divorce settlement.

In some cases, a judge may award one spouse primary custody of the children and also award them the home, but this is not always the case. The division of the house can be better controlled by reaching a divorce settlement instead of going to trial (Justia).

Selling a house after a divorce can be a challenging process, but with the right support and understanding of the process, you can navigate through it successfully. Remember to take care of your emotional health during this time and seek professional advice when needed.