Martocchia Realtors®'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.
The equity in your home plays a major role in how much profit you'll make off the sale, but it's not always simple to determine just how much of the home you own (even if you haven't refinanced). Here are a few tips to understand equity and how you can use it to your advantage.
What Is Home Equity?
The simplest definition is that home equity is the difference between the market value and your current loan amount. When calculating, you should also take into account related financing (e.g., home improvement loans, second mortgages, etc.). If you owe more on the home than you owe, you have negative home equity.
Of course, the number you generate is just an estimate. Just because your market value is listed at a certain price, doesn't mean that a buyer will offer that amount. Overall though, it's a good place to start. Once you have a baseline, it can give you a better idea of how your home sale will go and what you can afford once you move out.
The Bottom Line
Let's say you bought a home for $150,000 and you've paid off $50,000 total. If your home was recently assessed at $400,000, then your home equity is now $300,000, even though you only owe $100,000. The longer you've owned your home, the more you'll pay toward equity as opposed to interest.
But home sale profits aren't the same as home equity. You also have to deduct any expenses associated with selling the home, including staging, listing and real estate agent fees. This can take as much as 10% off the total sale price. Some lenders will charge a penalty fee for paying off the loan early, so you'll need to check your contract to understand your responsibilities.
Equity and the Home Sale
Experts recommend having at least 10% equity in a home if they're making a lateral move. So if you need to relocate for your job and you're planning to move into a similar home, then you'll need less than someone who's upgrading their lifestyle. If you want a bigger and more luxurious home, it helps to have at least 15% — and preferably more. The less equity you have, the more likely you'll end up with negative equity.
Equity can be confusing because you ultimately own the home while you're paying the mortgage payments. Your lender is simply using the value of the property as a type of collateral in case of default. You can think of equity as a form of leverage you can use to give you a little more confidence during the sale.
Many homeowners have a difficult relationship with their homeowners association. On the one hand, the HOA helps your community stay safe, clean, and makes it a desirable place to live which improves the property value of your home. But, on the other hand, homeowners associations can be a problem if you want to make a change to your property that they disagree with.
In this article, we’ll talk about some common issues that homeowners face in their dealings with homeowners associations and give you tips on how to handle them so that you’ll have the best possible outcome.
Study the rules carefully
It may seem like a nuisance, but your best defense when dealing with the homeowners association is to understand what’s expected of you. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with the HOA, but it will also make it easier to understand what your options are.
It’s a good idea to understand these rules and bylaws before you ever move into the neighborhood, but it’s never too late to learn them. It might help you later on down the road should you want to paint your house or build a new structure in your yard.
Introduce yourself to the members
It’s best to get off on the right foot with the other members of your homeowners association. You don’t want your first meeting to be a complaint against you, nor do you want to introduce yourself to someone only to make a complaint against someone else.
It will also give you a chance to ask questions about the community and to get an understanding of how easy or difficult it is to deal with the regulations of the homeowners association.
Don’t assume ill-will
If you find that a complaint has been raised against you, don’t act immediately. Take some time to compose your response and be sure to acknowledge the complaint. Odds are that the other members of the HOA aren’t there just to give you a hard time.
Choose your battles
There are some things worth fighting for when it comes to your home. However, you don’t want to be repeatedly challenging the HOA on small issues. Stick to the rules on the things that aren’t hugely important, that way other members won’t come to expect issues from you.
When you’re required to get permission from the board before making a change to your property, be sure you follow the steps laid out in your agreement. Doing so will avoid any unnecessary conflict.
Pay all dues and fines on time
Even if you are in the middle of a disagreement with the HOA, it’s better to continue paying your dues and fines that to leave them outstanding. If you don’t pay, you risk further penalty, including fees.
Plan ahead if you want to change the rules
If you’re dissatisfied with some or man of the rules of the homeowners association, odds are you’re not alone. First, start by talking with other neighborhood members. If they have similar views on the rules in question, you can bring them up collectively at the next meeting.
Your second option would be to run for the board and try to enact the changes yourself. However, you should never seek a position out of spite or anger. Only volunteer your time and effort if you want to lend a hand in your community and make life better for all of the inhabitants.
With the rapid rebound in the real estate market over the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in the financial potential of this industry. Therefore, many people are looking for ways to generate a steady income in real estate. In order to take advantage of the numerous available opportunities, there are a few important ideas to consider.
Generating Income from Rental Properties
One of the most direct ways to generate a steady income from real estate is through rental properties. Of course, the property needs to be rented consistently in order to generate reliable income. Sometimes, there might be a few gaps here and there when tenets move in or out. You could opt to compensate for these gaps using a web-based service that allows you to advertise your space as available for short term rental opportunities for a few nights or weeks at a time.
Consider Using a Property Management Company
Those who are having trouble finding the right tenets might choose to rely on a property management company for assistance. While this isn't right for everyone, it might be helpful for someone who is renting out property that isn't in their local area. That way, if something does go wrong with the property, there is someone who is immediately available to provide assistance. A property management company may also have connections in the industry that help you save money on repairs and maintenance.
Think About Becoming an Appraiser or Inspector
Those with an interest in real estate or who work in a related field already might choose to become an appraiser or inspector. A full-time real estate investor could manage their own properties while inspecting and appraise others. This path helps keep you closely in touch with the latest local transactions and trends in a particular area.
Generating a Steady Income from Real Estate
These are a few key tips that can help to generate a steady income flow from real estate. In addition to the capital gains that might come with real estate investing, there are steady income opportunities available. It is a good idea to generate multiple income streams in real estate, it will help to diversify risks while maximizing financial opportunities.
When it’s time to sell your home, it’s important to make sure it’s done right. Certain selling mistakes could lead to less money for your home than you wanted or other problems that make this process more complicated than it needs to be. Before you put your home on the market, keep these common home selling mistakes in mind, so you can avoid them.
Setting a Price That’s Too High
Although you’ll want to get as much as you can for your home, setting a listing price that is too high could keep buyers away. The price you set for your home should be based on different factors, such as how much similar homes have been selling for in your area or whether or not you’ve made any upgrades that boost the value of your house. Keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical home stayed on the market for just 3 weeks before being sold. Having a listing price that is too high could lead to a much longer time on the market for your home.
Skipping Major Repairs
If you’re eager to sell your home, you might be tempted to skip major repairs. While this saves you time and money now, it can make it much more difficult to sell your home. You might also end up having to lower your price considerably, since buyers will factor in the cost of these repairs when making their bid.
Grabbing the Highest Offer
While the highest offer might seem like the right one to take, this isn’t always the case. Buyers who are offering the highest bid might include contingencies that make their offer more costly than it seems in terms of money or time. For example, they might include a contingency that they need to sell their own home before buying yours. Rather than focusing on the highest offer, it’s better to look for the best offer, which depends on different factors, such as how soon you want to sell or how much you’re willing to include for seller credits toward repairs.
Deciding Not to Hire a Real Estate Agent
Working with a real estate agent provides you with guidance and expertise while selling your home. Your agent can help you get a better price for your home and attract potential home buyers with open houses and home staging. According to NAR, 91 percent of sellers hired real estate agents to assist them with selling their home. These sellers were able to sell their homes for 99 percent of their listing price. Choosing to sell without a real estate agent could significantly affect how long it takes to sell your home and how much you get for it.