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Sellers Frequently Asked Questions
There are a couple of different ways to price your home and several variables to consider. One way is to get a professional appraisal of your property. Another way is to have your Realtor do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you. Both methods take into account the neighborhood, the current real estate market, the condition of the house, and the most recent comparable listings and sales in your neighborhood.
The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser's opinion of what it's worth, while the market price is also defined as the price at which the home may sell within a reasonable amount of time. That might actually be higher or lower, depending on current market conditions. Appraisals are performed for lenders. The purpose is to justify the sales price so that the lender feels they are making a solid investment since the property is collateral for the loan. On appraisals, most weight is given to historical data—sales that have closed in the last three or four months. They also consider if the local market and neighborhood are appreciating or in a decline. Appraisers try to make allowances, but because they have rules and guidelines to follow, there are times when they cannot—especially in dealing with multiple bidding situations and in areas where there are fewer recent sales—both of these situations could potentially be different from what the past data indicates. However, the appraisal will be based on known data.
It's smart to be strategic about when you put your home on the market. The time of year can make a difference in speed of sale and price. In general, mid-January to mid- June is the best time to sell your home because that's when the real estate market is the most active. August is typically a slower month, with fall showing a resurgence of interest (September through early-November). The Holidays are usually a slow time of year, although the buyers who are looking then are likely to move quickly. Ultimately, the best time to sell is when your home is prepped and prepared for market.
The general rule of thumb is that selling your house will cost approximately 8.5 to 9% of the sales price. These costs include:
- Escrow fees. These fees are based on the price of the home and are generally divided between the buyer and seller.
- Title fee. As a seller, you are required to purchase title insurance to ensure that the title of your property is transferable. It is also based on the sales price.
- State excise tax. Currently 1.78% of the sale price of your home.
- Real estate fees. These fees vary, and refer to the cost of hiring a Real Estate Broker to advertise, market, and negotiate the sale of your home, and a full-service brokerage or one of the varying limited service brokerages. Customer service, market knowledge, advocacy and marketing can vary greatly with all brokerages and brokers. Statistics show that full-service Real Estate Brokers traditionally get you a higher sales price than you would on your own.
- Pro-rated property taxes. At closing, the buyer and the seller are responsible for taxes during the time of their ownership. The buyer assumes responsibility for taxes after closing.
- Wire transfer and courier fees.
- County recording fee.
- Oil tank decommissioning fees (if applicable, and only if it hasn't been done in the last twelve months).
- Septic tank pump and service fees. (Only if it hasn't been done in the last six months).
As the seller, you are obligated to disclose any information about your property that you know. You must provide the buyer with a Seller Disclosure Statement (Form 17), which outlines the existence and condition of all known physical attributes of the property.
A financing contingency makes the purchase contingent on the buyer's ability to get a loan and the banks appraisal of the home.
An inspection contingency means that the purchase is contingent upon the findings of a professional inspection. The buyers have the right to back out of a contract if they're not satisfied with the condition of the home, or the seller is not willing to make actual or financial modification.