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20 Reasons why people sell their homes

Smiling beautiful couple sitting on a bench at summer park and planning their future purchases

At any given time, there are several thousand homes for sale in the Sacramento area, with deals closing and new sellers always popping up to replenish the inventory. There are so many listings to choose from, it sometimes begs the questions, “Why are there always so many homes for sale, and what makes people want to sell?”

But the fact remains that American homeowners sell and move every five to seven years on average – and even more frequently in California.

So let’s look at the top 20 reasons why people sell their homes:

They’ve outgrown their current home

Many young homebuyers begin with a “starter home” which may be small (in square footage and in price tag.) But after they become more financially stable in a few years, they may opt to sell and move into a more spacious home. 

They just want a nicer, bigger home

Sometimes there’s nothing at all wrong with their current home, but sellers just fall in love with a bigger, nicer, or different home – perhaps in a neighborhood they’ve always wanted to live in.

They “messed up” on the purchase

Maybe these sellers made a grave mistake when they originally bought their home, like purchasing the smallest home on the block, one that was the scene of a grizzly crime (no wonder why it was so cheap!) or 2/3 of the house was unpermitted editions. In any case, the only way to reconcile that mistake is to move and pass it on to the next buyer.

A job transfer

Relocation out of the area because of a job transfer is one of the most common reasons people need to sell quickly, which means they are often highly motivated.

Moving in with a partner/marriage

Ahhhh that’s so nice! When a girlfriend and boyfriend decide to finally tie the knot (or just move in together), it often calls for buying a home together – and selling their current homes.

Divorce or break up

Ewwww that’s not so nice! But you gave it your best and when relationships don’t work out, it’s often best (and necessary) to sell the house they cohabitate in and move on.

There goes the neighborhood

Crime is increasing, graffiti and vandalism are becoming more common, the local schools are declining, and you’re starting to see shopping carts abandoned on the sidewalks. Time to put up a For Sale sign and get out and move to a better neighborhood!

The Empty Nest Syndrome

Once the kids are all grown up and gone to college, couples often choose to sell their family home – which is now way too big for them and a little sentimental.

They want to be closer to family

It’s very common for tight-knit families to try to stay together, and once the kids are grown and have their own families, that usually mean the elders selling their home and moving closer to them – not the other way around.

Their current commute is too long

Some people just want to be more centrally located and not have such a long commute to work, play, or city centers.


You put in 35 years waking up early and going to work every day, so now that you’ve retired, it’s time to sell your house and move to Florida so you can finally sit by the pool and relax!

Health problems

When people have medical concerns or needs, special living arrangements sometimes offer peace of mind and a far healthier lifestyle. So instead of retrofitting their current home to accommodate their medical needs, it’s often easier just to sell and move into a dwelling that’s already equipped to accommodate them.

The loan becomes more expensive

Remember all of those loans that were adjustable, interest only in the beginning, or had balloon payments? Sometimes, the monthly payment rises higher than is feasible and that means selling is the only good solution.

The maintenance is piling up

If you were facing $25,000 in roof, foundation, heat and air, and/or necessary upgrades at your current home, would you invest the money and stay…or would you be inclined to put it up for sale and move into a home that didn’t need major repairs?

Job loss/loss of income

If you got fired on Friday and lost a major chunk of household income, the For Sale might be up on your home’s front lawn by Monday. Or, a maternity leave, career change or starting your own business, or any other financial setback could dictate putting your house on the market.

A promotion or influx of cash!

Congrats on winning millions of dollars in the lottery! Or maybe you were left a huge inheritance or were finally recognized and rewarded at your work. Either way, when people have more cash on hand they often choose to sell their home and buy one that is more befitting of their new means.

A lifestyle change

Instead of spending your whole Saturday mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and cleaning at your current home, maybe you’ve decided you want to windsurf and go wine tasting every weekend, and selling your home is the only way to achieve that dream lifestyle.

All the neighbors are selling!

First it was the Buckwalters up the street who moved across town, then the Fitzgeralds went back to Minnesota last year, and now Rose and Russ across the street are selling their house, too? It’s just not as fun anymore – so it might be time for you to list your home and move on, too.

The fixing is finished

If you’re a DIY, fix-it and flip-it enthusiast, then life becomes way too simple and boring when all of the hard work is done and the home repairs are finally finished. Time to sell and start over with the next “fixer” project!

Cash in equity

When the market appreciated so rapidly that homeowners were sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity after only a few years, it was hard NOT to sell and realize that profit (except that meant finding a new home to live in, of course.)