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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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