The Seller's Guide: Common FAQ's Answered

Think back to when you first bought your home. Do you recall all of the questions you had and the (sometimes unsolicited) advice given from family, friends, and agents? Well, now it’s time to sell and, once again, you’re looking for answers and advice on how to get maximum return from your first major investment. A real estate professional is one of the best individuals to start with, of course, but in the meantime, take a look at the below roundup of answers to a home seller's most frequently asked questions.

Q: Do I need to make upgrades before selling my home?

A: In most cases, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars to make your home more salable, according to realtor.com. Quite often, you don’t need to do as much as you might think in terms of upgrades. Try showing your home first to a Realtor for an expert opinion on what is necessary to make your home move-in ready. You might be rather surprised by your current sales prospects, especially in what is currently considered a seller’s market for many price ranges.

Also, if it is minor cosmetic upgrades, your buyer may not want to be paying the premium price for your design choices. Since everyone has different taste, it might make more sense to hold off and allow them to make their preferred upgrades after they purchase.

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Q: How do I find out how much my home is really worth?

A: The exact price of your home will depend on a lot of variables like its size, condition, neighborhood, and many other factors. As we all have emotional ties to our personal possessions, it is important to not to let your own skewed perspective get in the way of a realistic valuation. Leave that up to your agent, who has access to the most up-to-date sales prices of comparable homes nearby, and not a website that uses a robotic algorithm to determine the number. Then, decide on your home price strategically. If you price it too high, the home is likely to linger on the market. However, pricing low can have big benefits, such as multiple bids that could ultimately boost your final sale price. Checkout more on the importance of pricing your home right in my video here. 

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Q: How important is staging a home for sale?

A: On average, a staged home sells 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than one left as is. Experts call it staging because it gives buyers a “stage” onto which they can project their home-owning dreams and imagine themselves living in your home. Be sure to choose neutral paint colors and remove family photos when hosting open houses or showings. This gives potential homeowners a blank canvas they can mentally fill with their own families and memories.

 Photo by  Kari Shea  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Q: Should homeowners be home during a showing?

A: Agents are unanimous on this one: Never be present when your agent is showing your home. If you’re there, potential buyers will not only feel uncomfortable, but they also will feel like they can’t make comments or ask questions that could be interpreted as offensive. With your history and attachment to the residence, you might want to argue if a potential buyer makes a slightly negative comment. It could turn off buyers and cause you to lose offers.

 Photo by  Tom Pumford  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

Q: How do I deal with emotional attachments to my home?

A: Remember that you are selling a residence potentially full of both positive and negative memories. Make peace with that fact and know that once you begin the sales process, your home is just another property on the market. Try to be as detached as possible during the process, especially while in negotiations and know that a sale is not locked in until it is absolutely final. 

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Q: Are there tax benefits to selling my house? 

A: Yes. The capital-gains exemption is a nice bonus if you sell your principal residence after living in it two to five years. It lets you make up to $250,000 in non-taxable profit if you’re a single owner, and $500,000 if you’re married. You don’t even have to buy another new home with the proceeds. You can spend the money any way you want. Better yet, there’s no limit on the number of times you can use this exemption. In most cases, you can make tax-free profits. If you’re in doubt or have questions about what’s deductible, it’s always a good idea to consult a tax accountant or lawyer.

Source: BHHS Blog