Cheryl Fleming, GRI, ABR's Blog
All home sellers understand that there are some costs to selling a home, but not everyone realizes what they're expected to pay for (and how much the total will be). We'll look at the most common expenses and how they might affect your budget.
Real Estate Agent Fees
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind if you're selling a home. The standard rule is anywhere between 5 to 6% of the final sale price. Not all sellers will shoulder this cost, but the majority will. So if your home sells for $300,000, you should expect to hand over at least $15,000 to be split between the buyer and seller real estate agents. Please note that commissions can be negotiable, especially if you're selling in a popular neighborhood.
While none of these costs are strictly necessary, they can help you get your home ready:
- Repairs: If you're not planning to sell the house as-is, it's a good idea to spruce up the interior and exterior of the property. Even if you're only buying a few cans of paint and a roller, the costs can add up quickly.
- Home inspection: Buyers will typically do their own home inspection, but sellers who go above and beyond can give themselves an edge in a competitive market. If you're going out of your way to buy a home inspection, it can show you have nothing to hide. These inspections cost a few hundred dollars and may reveal structural problems that you were unaware of.
- Staging: Arranging your furniture to show off the best of the home can really inspire buyers to view its potential. Whether you dress up your home with cozy touches (e.g., cashmere throws, small bouquets, etc.) or more modern decorations, it can help attract the perfect buyer.
If you're moving out before you sell the house, you'll need to continue paying the utilities. You'll also need to check with your lender as to exactly how much you owe when you pay off the loan. Some lenders will charge prepayment fees upon early termination. You may also be asked to either pay or split the closing costs, especially if you're selling in a buyer's market. This can include anything from the title inspector fees to transfer costs. Finally, you may need to pay capital gains tax if your home skyrocketed in value or any lingering property taxes.
Some sellers end up paying closer to 10% of the total sale price of their home, a figure that can be difficult to swallow for many sellers. It's worth clarifying each cost so you always know what you're paying for.
Are you in the market for your first home purchase? If so, congratulations! This is an amazingly exciting stage of life, and we know you must be excited.
Many first-time buyers run into issues that can turn their new home into a source of stress. Here are three common pitfalls you should watch out for as you purchase your first home.
Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
Far and away the most common pitfall that first-time home buyers run into is with setting realistic expectations. It’s a tough market for first-time buyers, and many are tempted to jump in deeper than they can manage. Just because you can get a mortgage without a full down payment doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, for example.
Your mortgage payment is going to be a reasonable percentage of your take-home pay, but don’t let it get too high. Many experts recommend 25 to 30%. And consider what your financial situation will look like if in a few years you add a child or two to the mix.
Everyone’s situation is different, but none of us have infinite money. Take the time to calculate what you can truly afford, and then stick to those figures. You may well tour your dream home as you look at available properties, but living there won’t be dreamy at all if it puts you in financial distress.
Not Considering Non-Mortgage Costs
If you’ve been renting all of your adult life, you need to be prepared for some non-mortgage costs that you probably haven’t had to pay yet.
First, understand that all repairs to your new home and property are your responsibility. If you have a $2,000 sewer repair crop up in the first 2 months of living there, do you have a way to pay for it? When you’re budgeting for your home purchase, make sure there’s enough left over to cover unexpected issues like these.
Second, if you’re bringing a full down payment to the table, there’s one more non-mortgage cost that could catch you by surprise: property tax. Make sure you know before you buy what property taxes are like on similar homes, and save 1/12th of that amount each month.
Making a Purchase Decision Too Quickly
A third pitfall for first-time homebuyers is rushing the purchase decision. Don’t get us wrong, we want you to buy a house! But your house is a long-lasting investment. Get to know various parts of your city, and take your time surveying what properties are available in your price tier.
Most first-time homebuyers won’t be in a position to sell and move up in house for at least five years. So don’t rush the purchase decision. Be sure before you commit.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to craft an effective property listing. Instead, a seller needs to allocate the necessary time and resources to ensure a house listing hits the mark with buyers. In fact, failure to do so may make it tough for a seller to generate interest in his or her home. Perhaps even worse, an ineffective home listing may make it virtually impossible for a seller to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.
Ultimately, there are many things a seller can do to create an effective home listing. These include:
1. Provide Accurate Information About Your Home
Include pertinent information about your home in your property listing – you'll be glad you did. If you can provide lots of relevant information about your home to prospective buyers, you may increase the likelihood that buyers will set up showings to view your residence in-person.
There is no need to stretch the truth in your home listing, either. Conversely, if you strive to include accurate information in your home listing, you can help a buyer make an informed decision to determine if your home meets his or her expectations.
2. Avoid Jargon
Although you want your home listing to capture buyers' attention, you should try to avoid jargon. Otherwise, a buyer may be turned off by your home listing shortly after he or she starts to read it.
When it comes to crafting an effective home listing, keeping things concise and precise is ideal. If you use your home listing to engage and inform buyers, you may be able to differentiate your listing from others.
3. Add High-Resolution Images
Including high-resolution images of your home's interior and exterior may make a world of difference in your listing. These images allow you to highlight the size and beauty of your residence. As a result, they may lead to many property showings in the near future.
Of course, before you take pictures of your home, you may want to clean both inside and outside. Remove clutter from inside your home and ensure each room looks pristine prior to taking photographs for a property listing. Meanwhile, you should take photographs that show off your house's dazzling front lawn, spacious driveway and other stunning exterior features too.
For those who want to craft a home listing that garners buyers' attention, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can offer tips and recommendations to help you prepare an effective property listing. Plus, he or she can help you promote your residence to dozens of prospective buyers and ensure you can streamline the property selling journey. Best of all, a real estate agent is ready to respond to your house selling concerns and questions at any time.
Ready to create an effective home listing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can craft a house listing that will help you distinguish your residence from the competition.
When you’re showing your home, you need to stage the home properly to impress buyers. Buyers need to be able to get an idea of what it would be like to live in the home. No matter what your own lifestyle is, or what problems you have had in the home, there are certain things that you probably don’t want to share with anyone who could be a potential buyer on a walk through.
Any Kind Of Taxidermy
Although you may enjoy hunting and taxidermy, there are few things that creep out potential buyers more than seeing animals that were formerly alive hanging on your wall. It’s been shown that taxidermy often gives buyers a sense of dread and can creep them out. Yes, that bear rug may be comfy and quite the accomplishment, but not everyone will share the same sentiment as you. Be sure to get all of these animal displays out of your home when you’re getting ready to sell it and show the property.
Personal Collections That May Be A Bit On The Strange Side
It’s really cool if you want to collect dolls, clowns, or have some kind of a celebrity shrine in your home. It’s cool for you, that is. Keep these items to yourself, especially when the home is going to be shown. Any room that could be considered too full of any one kind of item should be redecorated slightly before a home showing.
Weapons are on the same spectrum as taxidermy. Many people may have differing opinions with you on the subject and it could creep some buyers out. If you have any kinds of guns or knives displayed in your home, you should put them away for showings. These items can make buyers feel very uncomfortable and leave them turned off by your home.
If you like to get political, know that many people who are potentially going to buy your home probably don’t share your views or interests. Keep any politically charged signs and organizational symbols out of view for the showing of your home. Buyers may not be able to relate, and in turn, end up being turned off by your home.
Bug Traps Or Mouse Traps
We all have experienced bugs or mice in our homes at one time or another. When the house goes up for sale, you don’t want to advertise this by keeping any kinds of traps in view of buyers. People will get creeped out easily by the thought that pests have infested the home at some point. Although the home inspection will probably note that there was some type of a pest problem in the home, you don’t want to lose potential buyers because a mouse trap was in view.
An ambitious home seller may be better equipped than his or her rivals to enjoy a seamless property selling experience. In fact, this individual likely will go the extra mile to ensure buyers can learn about his or her house and make an informed purchase decision.
Believe it or not, becoming an ambitious home seller can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the home selling journey.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
The local housing market may have major ramifications on the home selling journey. If you review real estate market data, however, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. Then, you can map out your home selling journey accordingly.
Review the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. Also, check out the prices of recently sold homes in your area and find out how long these residences were available before they sold. With this housing market data in hand, you can distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market. Plus, you may be able to find innovative ways to differentiate your home from the competition.
2. Evaluate Your Home
Your home – like all other residences – has various strengths and weaknesses. If you perform a comprehensive home evaluation, you can identify your house's weaknesses and explore ways to transform them into strengths.
It may be helpful to schedule a home inspection prior to listing your residence. During an inspection, a property expert will walk through your home and identify any underlying house issues. He or she next will provide you with an inspection report that you can use to prioritize home repairs.
In addition, you may want to perform an appraisal. If you obtain an appraisal report, you can receive a property valuation that accounts for your house's condition and the current state of the housing market. You then can use this property valuation to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your home.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. He or she will help you promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and host home showings and open house events. Furthermore, a real estate agent will help you review any offers to purchase your residence and provide assorted house selling tips.
If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive lots of insights into the housing market that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, too. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.
For those who want to enjoy a successful home selling experience, it helps to prepare for the home selling journey. By using the aforementioned tips, you can become an ambitious home seller and quickly generate significant interest in your residence.