In a day and age where 'house flipping' and rent-vesting' have become real estate buzz words, it can be difficult to know how long you should keep a property before you consider selling it.

And while a quick Google search will reveal dozens of agents, financial advisers and other specialists all weighing in with various rules and guides to getting it right, the decision really depends on a range of factors that are specific to you, your life and your finances.

Below are some of the main factors that should influence your decision:

1. What's happening in your life?

The first and most important factor to consider is what's happening in your life -- after all, you wouldn't be considering selling if your current lifestyle didn't either support it or demand it.

If your family has outgrown your home and WWE-style SmackDowns are now the usual morning routine as your family fights for bathroom space, holding out may not be an option.

Likewise, if it's time for your child to start school and your local educational options don't meet your needs, a new suburb might be on the cards.

Perhaps your job has changed and you just don't want to outlay as much on the mortgage anymore.

Regardless of what it is, personal reasons are often a big motivator in deciding when you should sell your home. Despite all the rules and recommendations out there, if you or your family need to sell up now, then now is the time to sell.

2. Don't forget the maths

Obviously, there are a lot of financial factors that can be taken into account when making this decision if you really want to maximise your return on investment.

Start by having a look at your mortgage. A lot of people say you really don't make a dent on your mortgage for the first few years, and if you have a mortgage you will know this is fairly accurate.

At the beginning of your mortgage you are mainly paying interest, but after several years, break out the champagne, because you finally start to see your principal really decrease.

If you want to achieve a good return, you don't want to sell when you still owe more on the property than it is now worth. Factors like your mortgage position and the appreciation of the property will influence this decision.

If you think you will want to sell quite soon after buying, like in the next few years, think about outlaying more each month in repayments now, to put yourself in a better position.

Likewise, you should consider how much it will cost you to sell and the fact this is deducted from the profit you make.

Of course, agent fees, solicitor fees and other fees associated directly with the sales process come into play, but so does capital gains tax (the tax you pay when you sell an asset like a property).

Depending on how long you have owned and lived in the property, you may be eligible for a discount of up to 50% on this tax, so holding out until this applies to you might be the best option.

3. Market trends can influence return

If you have kept your eye on real estate and related media over the last few years you will have no doubts that prices and demand both fluctuate.

What that means is your property may appreciate at a faster or slower rate, in some extreme cases not appreciate at all for a while, and the speed at which you are able to sell may also vary.

Keep your eye on market trends and predictions, but remember to narrow your research down to your area. While media often like to make grand statements about entire geographic areas, like 'Sydney', conditions can differ from suburb-to-suburb.

4. Think about your options

Lastly, before you sell, ask yourself if you really need to sell.

While you might be looking to sell in order to fund your upgrade, potentially you could wait a little longer and use the equity from your current property to help with the purchase of a new property, increasing your portfolio and setting you up for the future.

Again, there are a lot of factors to consider here, including your net financial position once you take repayments and rent into account, but it's also useful to explore all of your options.

The bottom line: Knowing how long you should hold onto a property and when you should sell it is not necessarily a straightforward formulaic decision because there are so many human factors involved.

If you are in a solid financial position, and selling doesn't negatively affect that, the right time to sell is whenever it is best for you and your family.