10 Things Every Home Seller Should Do

As a home seller, your goal is to sell your property quickly for the most money possible.

As a home seller, your goal is to sell your home quickly for the most money possible. However, in the wake of COVID-19, you will have to take some extra steps to adapt your selling strategy to the current market, such as incorporating social distancing procedures with in-person home tours.

#1 Clean & Declutter

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, give it a deep clean in preparation for potential buyers who may visit for an in-person tour. You should also declutter the entire space. That’s because you want potential buyers to picture  themselves and not your items in the home. Put things away in boxes as if you’re already moving. Set the boxes aside int he garage or storage. Decluttering reveals a room’s dimensions, architectural details and natural light.

#2 Find Your Real Estate Agent

Just as you would do with any work you want to get done at your home, it is smart to interview at least 3 different Agents that have some experience in your neighborhood or complex. Ask your friends and family for recommendations, if you do not have one in mind. Keep an open mind to work with someone that you can trust and comfortable with. If the Agent is a relative or a friend, be sure to have the relationship strictly business.

Have the Agent outlined the duties and ensure you have an option that allows you to cancel if anything changes during the process prior to getting into escrow.

#3 Determine how much you have to pay your Agent

Traditionally, the seller pays a commission ranging from 5% to 6% of the home’s sale price. That amount is divided equally between the selling agent and the buyer’s agent.

There are alrenative lower cost in selling your home like going with Redfin or other alternative Brokerage available in your city.

If you have an older home that you do not want to deal with the entire process of fixing anything, you may want to take the option to sell the home directly to an investor, that would pay you CASH and sell it ‘as is’ as quickly as possible.

#4 Set the Right Price

Your agent should provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA), which examines the selling prices of the homes similar to yours in size, amenities and location. You will want to use it as a guide to help set your asking price.

The list price is not the final price as this is just an invitation for buyers to see if they want to buy your home. If you list high be prepared to make price adjustments within 10 days, if there’s no offer.

Remember, whatever purchase price you agree upon, it still must pass with an appraisal of the home’s current market value, which protects the buyer and the mortgage lender. Many buyers are removing the Appraisal contingency or putting price gap that they’re willing to pay.

#5 Be Prepared to Disclose Your Home Defects

It’s the law in most places to disclose knowledge of any material defects. You may be required to reveal known problems of your home’s roof, walls, foundation, plumbing, heating and electrical systems, as well as past pest problems and the presence of hazardous materials such as mold, lead paint and asbestos.

It is best practice to provide as much known issues up front than to deal with it after the sale if anything is discovered. You may also face a lawsuit if found to not have been disclosed during the transaction. Buyers will also have a professional inspector to inspect the home and will provide a list of issues or out of code during their findings.

#6 Protect Yourself & Your Home with the COVID-19 

As a seller, you have control over how your home is shown. As the coronavirus outbreak emerged, many home sellers delayed listing their homes for sale or temporarily took them off the market.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) strongly urged members to conduct virtual showings and to limit in-person activity as much as possible. Your Agent should discuss showing procedures with you and have instructions for buyers and their Agents visiting your home.

#7 When Buyers Show Up, Leave!!!

As much as you want to share your home to the prospective buyers, leave the home and let them tour the home with their Agent privately.

If they have questions, they will let their Agent know and they will be in contact with you Agent. It is best to not have the face-to-face with the buyers especially with social distancing, you would want to be away.

#8 Be Prepare to Accept an Offer

With the limited amount of inventory out there, be prepared to accept an offer from the ones that are submitted.

Your Agent should be presenting all of the offers regardless of the price and terms. This is the time to review all of them and select one that you are comfortable with. Your Agent can assist if you are needing any help on selecting one.

It is also good to select a back-up in case anything happens to the first pick.

#9 Have a Plan If You’re Purchasing

Have your plan with your Agent, if you’re purchasing during or after the sale. Discuss to have some contingency to be in place during the transaction in escrow if needed. You don’t want to be homeless once your home sale closed. If you have a great Agent, you will be in great hands!

#10 If you Profit from the Home Sale

If you own and live in a home for a total of 24 months within the five years prior to the date of sale, you won’t owe taxes on up to $250,000 in home-sale profits if single, or $500,000 in profits if married filing jointly. The home must be your main home (for criteria, see IRS Publication 23, Selling Your Home). That means most homeowners won’t pay a dime to Uncle Sam on their home-sale profits.

If you’re married and filing jointly, only one spouse must meet the ownership test (one of you owned the home for a total of 24 months within the five years prior to the date of sale), but both of you must meet the residence test (you both lived in the home for at least 24 months).

Talk to your CPA or Tax Advisor to discuss this matter further to assist on making the right decision.

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