When should I sell my house?
Too many people sell their house at the wrong time!
Basically, you want to sell when you're ready and there's the largest potential pool of buyers -- causing prices to go up. This occurs in the following situations:
Of course, if you have to move immediately -- because of financial reasons, a divorce, a job move, or an imperative health concern -- and you don't have any of the advantages listed above -- you may have to settle for a lower price, or help the buyer with financing, in order to make a quick sale.
- Mortgage interest rates are low.
- The economic climate of your region is healthy and people feel confident about the future.
- There's a jump in housebuying activity, as often occurs in the spring and fall.
- Your area is considered especially attractive -- because of the schools, low crime rate, weather - in other words - Area like Citrus County.
The key thing to setting a price is determining how much your property is actually worth on the market -- called "appraising" a house's value. Because no two houses are alike, it's impossible to predict with absolute certainty what a buyer will pay for yours. However, the best indicator is recent sales prices of similar properties in your neighborhood ("comps").
Real estate agents have access to local sales data and can give you a good estimate of what your house should sell for. Many real estate agents will offer this service free, in hopes that you will list your house with them.
Observing the asking prices of houses still on the market can provide guidance. However, you'll need to adjust these prices for local market conditions. In some areas, asking prices are typically 10% or more over the market.
How do I set the selling price for my house?
Get a CMA!
Except for a few states where you are required to hire a real estate attorney to do your closing, you do not have to hire an agent or attorney to help you. Beware, however, doing it yourself is a lot of work.
A real estate agent can help by:
Do I need a real estate agent or attorney to sell my house?
- MLS - By having an agent put your house on the MLS you now have thousands of agent potentially working to sell your home - that is why homes listed with agents sell for more money and in less time than FSBOs.
- Negotiation - Most people do not negotiate deals on a daily basis. Then why would you want to negotiate the sale of your most important asset? Doesn't it make sense to have a professional do it?
- Details - Closing a real estate transaction is complicated. Most FSBO deals that fall apart or that have costly mistakes are made because not all the details are taken care of. A professional real estate agent takes of that responsibility so that you can focus on everything else (packing, moving, etc.).
Will I owe taxes when I sell my house?
Thanks to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, many home sellers no longer owe taxes on the gain they make when they sell their house. Married taxpayers who file jointly now get to keep, tax free, up to $500,000 in profit on the sale of their home, as long as they lived in it for two of the prior five years. Single folks and married taxpayers who file separately get to keep up to $250,000.
Can I finance the sale for the buyer?
You can agree to loan part or all of the sales price to a home buyer. You may want to do this if you want to spread out your income from the sale over a number of years or if the home buyer can’t borrow enough money from a bank or commercial lender. This can be carried out in one of two ways.
The first possibility is for you to take back a mortgage on the house. The buyer signs both a promissory note (promising to repay the loan) and either a mortgage or a deed of trust (allowing you to foreclose if the buyer fails to pay). In return, you sign a deed transferring title to the buyer. The buyer holds title and can sell the house or refinance. But the buyer must keep sending you the agreed-upon payments.
The second and less popular possibility is for you to keep title to the property for as long as it takes the buyer to pay off the loan. The contract you and the buyer would sign is known by various names, including “contract for deed,” “contract of sale,” “land sale contract,” or “installment sales contract.” It works like this: The contract states that you, the seller, will keep title to the property until the buyer pays off the loan. (The buyer normally pays the loan off in a series of regular payments, similar to a standard mortgage.) After the buyer pays off the entire loan, you sign a deed transferring title to the buyer. Because you keep the title over the life of the loan, the buyer cannot sell or refinance the property until all payments are made and the title is transferred.