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Selling tips and information
Preparing your home for sale
When is the best time to sell a home?
Disclosures could protect you from a potential lawsuit. Sellers in most states are required to fill out a form disclosing material facts about their homes, which are details about the home’s condition or legal status and the age of various components. Details that qualify as material facts that must be revealed by sellers include:
- Damage from wood boring insects
- Mold or mildew in the home
- Leaks in the roof or foundation walls
- Amount of property taxes paid annually
- Problems with sewer or septic systems
- Age of shingles and other roof components
- A buried oil tank
- Details about any individual who claims to have an interest in the property
- Information about a structure on the property that overlaps an adjacent property
Things that are not material facts that don’t need to be disclosed include personal information about the seller and the seller’s reason for moving. Sellers may or may not also be required to state whether a death took place in the home or whether a home is considered haunted.
Selling a vacant home
How to get a quick sale in a slow market
Sell first or buy first?
The decision of whether to sell your current home first or wait to sell until you’ve purchased another home comes up often and is dependent upon your personal situation and the condition of the local housing market. Putting your home on the market first may have you scrambling to find another home before settlement, which may lead you to settle for a home that may not fully meet your requirements. It could also result in you having to move to a temporary rental property or into a relative’s home until you find your new house. However, if you make an offer to buy a home before selling, you may be tempted to get a quick sale at a lower price.
Buying a home first allows you the opportunity to shop carefully for the right home to feel truly comfortable with your decision, but selling first can maximize your negotiating position as you are under no pressure to sell quickly — and eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once. It’s important to weigh all options and discuss with your agent which may be right for you.
Associated costs with selling a home
- A real estate commission, if you use an agency to sell
- Advertising costs, marketing materials and other fees if selling the home yourself
- Attorney, closing or other professional fees
- Title insurance
- 1% transfer fee
- Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner association fees and fuel tank rentals
- Any other fees normally paid by the sellers in your area, including points, survey and appraisal fees
Other important information for sellers
Once your home is available to be shown, it’s important to do your best to keep it in tip-top shape to help buyers feel welcomed and not turned off by simple things like unmade beds, cluttered floors and grungy bathrooms. When selling a home, your life will be temporarily inconvenienced because when an agent calls wishing to bring a buyer to see the home, it’s important to respond favorably. Remember your goal is to get the home sold, and the best way for that to happen is to allow people to see it. Flexibility is key. Plan on not being around when buyers come through as it can make them feel uncomfortable. If you are unable to leave, sit in the backyard or outside and do not attempt to have conversations with the buyer. Finally, pay special attention to pets, particularly dogs. When possible, take your pets with you when leaving the home for a showing, or make sure they are properly secured in a kennel or on a leash in the backyard. Also, be keen to pet odors as they can quickly turn buyers away.