Is the idea of selling your home bringing on a stress headache? There’s a lot involved when you sell your home, and anyone who says it’s easy is selling something. When you’re at a loss for where to begin– never fear. Here is a list of what you need to know before selling your home.
What You Need to Know Before Selling Your Home
Many lists out there will tell you things that are nice to know before selling mixed in with a few things that are really crucial to know before selling your home. This list aims to hit the crucial really well.
Your Real Estate Agent
It may seem like a plug, but really the rest of this list can get a lot shorter just by choosing the right real estate agent.
Your real estate agent will be in charge of pricing your home, marketing it, and giving you guidance on what you need to do to sell it. The right agent will be able to advise you on market trends and the proper time to list it as well.
Need to know tax information? Your real estate agent should be able to tell you what to expect in terms of capital gains tax and other fees.
As important as this real estate agent is (they will be doing most of the hands-on work, after all) you’ll want to choose the right one. Make sure you interview a couple of real estate agents to get the right fit.
Ask them a few questions at each interview. You want to make sure they are very familiar with the area. You’ll also want to make sure they have a track record for selling homes quickly at a good price.
Real estate agents always come with a price, but the service they provide isn’t always correlational to their pay scale. If saving money is on your agenda, choose a flat fee real estate agent, like those at Clever. They’ll provide you with all the services a traditional agent will– but at a fraction of the price.
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Are you in season?
Selling your home is often easier said than done– unless you price it right in the right season.
No, it’s not a scam. Data shows that selling your house in certain months can bring in higher returns and sell faster than other times of the year.
Still not convinced? Think about it.
Do you want to look for a house to buy around the holiday season when traffic is thick and you have to plan walk-throughs around parties? Also, if you have kids: do you want to enroll them in school only to have to take them out a few months later to move? Didn’t think so.
According to Time, “The best time of the year to sell a house is the spring. Buyers come out of the woodwork during the spring, and with tax refund checks in the bank, spring buyers more often pay full price. In fact, sales peak in the spring, helping to explain why about 60% of those who move do so in the summer.”
Listing in the spring is sound advice for many markets, but it may not be the case for yours. Make sure you or your real estate agent do your due diligence to make sure the timing lines up with your goals.
Local Market (Trends, Hot or Not)
Beyond season, there are are local market trends to consider. For example, you’re usually able to sell for more in Seattle during the month of November. As the prices steadily increase, however, it’s looking like that may not be the only time to sell for a profit.
The Seattle market example is what we call a hot seller’s market. If your housing market is in one of those, it may not matter when you sell. You may decide to hold out to see if you can get an even higher price, but any good real estate agent will tell you that is a gamble.
The best way to gauge your local market is complete a competitive market analysis (CMA). You’ll want to compare the prices and times on the market of homes in the area that are similar to yours.
Normally, your real estate agent will complete this. They usually do a CMA before you decide to list, as it is a great indicator of the price you can get for your house.
Legal, Paperwork, Documentation
You want to make sure you have the needed paperwork on file. This means any warranties (ex. HVAC, roof, house, etc.), permits, and surveys. You’ll also want to have your mortgage balance and payoff amount.
Other documentation that is nice to have is instruction manuals for appliances you are leaving, the age of your water heater and roof, as well as the dates of any repairs.
Making money on your house often means the IRS makes a few bucks as well.
You’ll pay taxes on the profit you make from the sale. Those profits are known as capital gains. If you’ve owned the house for longer than five years, capital gains tax will run you as much as 20%. If you have owned your house less than five years, you will be taxed as if that profit were income.
The exception to that rule is if you lived in your house for two out of the last five years and haven’t excluded a house from taxes during that time. If that sounds like you, you will not have to pay taxes on up to $250,000 gain if you’re single, or up to a $500,000 gain if you are married, filing jointly.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need to know before selling your home. Make sure you vet out your real estate agent and check the best season for selling before you list. You’ll also want to gauge the market, have the right paperwork on hand and be prepared for taxes. This will make sure you are less stressed come selling time.
Is the thought of selling your house a bit overwhelming? Turn it over to a Clever agent. Clever real estate agents will provide you with everything from a well-researched CMA to a fantastic marketing experience– at a fraction of the price of a traditional agent.