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How do I prepare my home before I sell it?
When preparing to sell your home, the first thing to do is make it presentable. This means giving the entire house a thorough cleaning and making small repairs.
Mop the floors, scrub the bathrooms, and get rid of all the grime in the kitchen.
Little things like patching holes in the wall, changing burned-out lightbulbs, and repairing broken appliances can make your place stand out in a crowded market.
And don’t forget about paint — returning the walls to a neutral color can help your house sell quicker. White, creams, and grays can make rooms seem bigger and help potential buyers see themselves living there.
If you’re not moving out before listing your home, you’ll also need to depersonalize and declutter.
Put away your family photos, knick-knacks, and other personal items. You may need to rent a storage unit if you don’t have a place to put them all.
When is the best time to sell a home?
Early spring and summer, especially June, is a great time to sell a home.
Research shows that home sales in May, June, July, and August account for 40% of total annual sales volume.
Overall, home sales are still pretty good through early fall, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sell a home during this period, either.
However, home sales drop once winter hits. January is the worst time to sell a home, as market activity is much lower.
Take a look at the number of homes sold per month in 2018 to get a better idea of when to sell your home.
How long will it take to sell my home?
On average, a house takes between 55 and 70 days to sell. That includes 25 days on the market and 30 to 45 days for closing.
The exact time it takes to sell a home depends on a few things, including:
The time of year you’re listing: Homes tend to sell faster in the spring and early fall.
Conditions in your local housing market: Homes sell faster in a seller’s market, when there is low inventory and high demand.
The condition of your home: Homes in great condition may sell faster than homes that need more work.
How the buyer is financing: If a buyer needs to take out a mortgage, this may slow down the process. Financing deals usually take an average of 42 days to close, whereas cash deals take only one to two weeks.
The longer your home is on the market, the more money you lose. You’ll still have to pay your mortgage, taxes, and utilities until the buyer officially closes.
To avoid this, there are some things you can do to help your home sell faster.
You can make impactful repairs, like adding new carpet or painting the interior. However, if it’s a seller’s market and homes are selling quickly, you might not need to make these repairs.
You can also set a competitive price with the help of a top real estate agent.
What should the list price of my home be?
The first step in deciding your home’s list price is to get a comparative market analysis (CMA).
Here’s how a CMA works. Your agent will find similar homes in your neighborhood that have the same square footage, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms.
They’ll see what these homes recently sold for or are listed for, and use this as a starting point for your own list price.
Some agents are willing to perform a CMA without you committing to selling your house through them.
A great agent will be an expert with your neighborhood, so they’ll be able to price your home in the sweet spot.
This might give you a ballpark figure based on cumulative data. Keep in mind, these aren’t always 100% accurate.
An appraiser is an expert at pricing homes and can use their extensive knowledge to pinpoint an accurate list price.
On average, you’ll pay between $200 and $500 for this service.
Why is my home’s assessed value different from the market value?
Your home’s assessed value and market value are each determined by different factors.
Buyers and sellers affect the market value of a home, while professional appraisers calculate the assessed value.
In a seller’s market, your home’s market value may be higher than its assessed value.
That’s because buyers are willing to pay more than the home is technically worth because of low inventory.
In a buyer’s market, you’ll be facing a lot of competition from other sellers, so buyers may put in an offer lower than the home’s assessed value.
Do I need a home inspection?
It’s the buyer’s responsibility to get a home inspection, so as the seller, you don’t need to get one. An inspection usually ranges from $300–500, so that’s money you can keep in your pocket.
That said, a pre-listing inspection does have some benefits:
You’ll have the chance to discover and take care of major problems before listing, which could increase the value of your home.
You’ll get to choose your own inspector instead of relying on the buyer’s choice.
You may be able to set a higher list price if your home is in great shape.
You can encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency, meaning there will be fewer chances for your deal to fall through.
Are real estate commissions negotiable?
You can definitely negotiate your realtor’s fees. They’re typically 6%, with 3% of that going to the buyer’s agent and 3% going to your agent.
Some agents may be willing to work for less, especially if you use a discount broker or agent. (“However, remember if you think hiring a professional realtor is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur”)
You can also try to negotiate fees on your own, though the realtor may reduce the number of services they provide. (Not recommended, however a topic of discussion)
The same goes for using a discount broker. Some offer cheaper rates because they’re providing you with less help along the way.
They may even charge you with a fee-for-service structure.
Are real estate commissions negotiable?
How much you actually get when selling your home depends on a lot of factors, but in general, expect somewhere between 90–92% of the sale price.
That usually includes 5–6% in realtor commissions and 2–4% in taxes and fees.
If you still owe money on your old mortgage, you will get less.
You’ll also get less if you agreed to pay for any of the buyer’s closing costs.
Buyer’s closing costs can add on another 2–5% of the sale price.
On closing day, your closing agent will distribute the funds to all the necessary parties. They’ll pay out your profits via a check or wire transfer.