– Frequently Asked Questions –
The idea of selling your home can raise a lot of questions and cause a large amount of anxiety if you have never sold a home before. Here are some of the questions I am frequently asked and how I would answer them.
What is my home worth? Or how much money can I sell my home for?
There are a lot of web sites out there claiming to be able to give you a home value by the push of a button. However I have found that in most instances the information from sites like these is not accurate. I also hear it all the time that so and so down the street just sold their home for such and such price. Sometimes that is a good indication of what yours will sell for, but most of the time it is not. A professional realtor should be able to help you get a good sense of what your house is worth. The realtor will do this by looking at comparable houses that have sold recently (within 6 months) in your area and compare those homes to yours. By “comparable”, I mean that you must compare a ranch floor plan to a ranch floor plan, a 2 story floor plan to a 2 story floor plan, etc. and each house should have about the same square footage as yours and preferable be within a half a mile of the subject home and in the same neighborhood. We want you to get as much money as possible out of selling your home.
I have heard that there are extra fees when you are the seller rather than the buyer. What are some of the fees I should expect as a seller when selling a home? (Click for an example of a Sellers Estimates Settlement Statement)
There are some fee associated with selling a house. These are known as “seller’s fees.” The good news is that almost all seller’s fees are negotiable. Let’s take a brief look at the common seller’s fees.
◦ Real estate agent commissions:This is the commission you pay to your real estate agent’s brokerage firm. This covers marketing, listing, and other expenses associated with selling your house. At Impressions Real Estate, fees and/or commissions are all inclusive. We do not charge extra for any marketing as part of our marketing strategy.
◦ Title insurance: This insurance insures the buyer in the event an unknown lien pops up against the title. A lien can happen when a contractor has not been paid for work they completed on the home (i.e roof replacement, landscaping work, concrete work, etc…). The contractor can attach this lien even after the home has sold to a new owner. This is why the seller usually pays the title insurance and in effect, certifies that there is not any reason for anyone to attache a lien because all work done on the home has been paid for.
◦ Property taxes: The seller is responsible for the property taxes for the amount of time during the year that the seller has owned the home. The government charges you tax in the arrears. Which means that at the beginning of 2018 the new owner will pay the total tax for the 2017 year. The new owner will need to be credited for the time the seller lived in the home. In most cases the seller’s lender would have escrowed for the taxes so the seller will get those escrows back from the their mortgage company when the loan is paid off.
◦ HOA (Home Owners Association) fees: Not every home has an HOA, but if yours does, then you would need to take care of the fees when applicable and make sure that the HOA gets transferred to the new owner. Same with water and utility transfers.
◦ Closing services fee: The closing services fee is different that the buyers closing costs. Closing services fees is what the closing company charges to prepare and execute the closing paperwork. This fee is usually minimal compared to “buyer closing costs”; however can vary depending on if a real estate attorney is presenting the documents or a title company.
◦ Buyer closing costs (concessions) are negotiable and depend on whether we are in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market. If we are in a buyer’s market, it is very reasonable and expected that a buyer will ask for the seller to pay the buyer’s closing fees. In a seller’s market the seller may be able to get away without paying them.