"How much will it cost to sell my home?"
The answer to that common question generally falls into 3 major categories: fixing to sell, closing the sale, and moving.
You may have additional expenses connected with buying and settling into a new home: trips to your new area while house hunting, meals, lodging, buying furnishings, etc. Some of these expenses are tax deductible, but only if you are being transferred by an employer (who does not reimburse you) or are moving to a new job.
Here are the major expense categories:
- Fixing to sell: This is not the time to add on or remodel the kitchen or make other major improvements Ė even though many such improvements often pay, at least partially, for themselves when you sell. Now is the time to make your home fresh, clean, and neat, with an eye to getting your top price. This may call for buying paint, soap, wax, putty, tiling, carpeting or plumbing parts. It may also call for paying professional carpenters, plumbers, yard and cleaning people to do the work for you.
- Closing costs: As a seller, you can typically look forward to more income than outlay, especially if youíve built up a substantial amount for your home equity. Possible refunds may include money youíve already paid on your mortgage, insurance premiums, future property taxes, service contracts, heating fuel youíll turn over to the buyer, utility deposits and the balance of any escrow funds held by your mortgage lender.
- Moving costs. If you choose not to move yourself, or if you arenít being reimbursed by your employer, your largest moving expense is apt to be your professional mover. Moving companies provide a variety of services and a range of fees. To save as much as possible, shop for the best combination of rates, services and insurance, plus reputation for reliability. A non-binding estimate is apt to be lower than a binding one, but thereís no guarantee that your belongings wonít exceed the estimated volume or weight. The best tack is to go for a "binding-or-less" estimate, which should include not only volume or weight but, also, unforeseen expenses at your destination (extra carrying distance, bad weather, etc.)
Some other cost-saving tips: take only what youíll use at your new home; do your own packing; insure your belongings sufficiently; take your valuables with you, personally, or send them by registered or insured mail.
Although sellers need to realistically anticipate their selling expenses, the bottom line is how much cash a seller walks away with after sale.
Hereís How to Dress Your Home to Sell
Itís well known that a home sells more quickly when itís dressed up for company. The question is how
a home should dress to impress. As with clothes Ė whatever your style Ė you have to ask: what details
will add up to create an appealing impression? Put your home to the test:
- Whatís the first impression (the "curb appeal")?
The details: clean windows; fresh paint on framework, gutters, windows, and (especially) the front door; a roof that shows no signs of loose or moss-covered shingles and sagging lines; an uncluttered driveway and garage; a neat lawn and pruned shrubbery; a couple of sparkling features such as a brass doorknocker, a wrought-iron lamp post, a potted flowering plant on the front porch.
- Whatís the message to anyone stepping through the front door (which a prospective buyer will usually do only if the first impression is inviting)?
The details: Fresh atmosphere (no pet smells, no unpleasant cooking odors); well-lit passages; sparkling clean rooms, especially in the kitchen and baths; waxed or spotlessly-carpeted floor; woodwork thatís clean and perhaps freshly painted.
Itís worth considering repairs or refurbishing that may be needed to make your home sell, and remember: expenses incurred in the 90 days before your home is sold are deductible at tax-paying time.
Call or e-mail us for specific suggestions on how you can dress up your house to sell faster.
6 Ways to Maximize Small Living SpaceYou canít stretch a foot to measure more than 12 inches, but you can make it look a yard wide, with a few simple tricks:
- Lighting. Forget window draperies. Place fluorescent lights behind valances, under cabinets, over work places. Forego floor lamps and mount wall lamps instead.
- Color. Keep to one, two or (at the most) three light colors that blend and flow from one room to another.
- Carpeting. Use one carpet color throughout the house.
- Mirrors. Double the size of a room and bring the outdoor window view inside with mirror walls. Mirror the lighting under kitchen cabinets.
- Built-ins. Wherever you can tuck a cabinet, shelf, or small table, you make awkward spots usable.
- Furnishings. Choose small-scale with simple lines furniture and place it against the walls, leaving plenty of open space.
Here Are 8 Secrets To Making A Difficult Home Sale Look EasyNot all home sellers need to go the extra mile to sell at a good price. But where help is needed, there are several things we can consider together to make a tough sale happen. For example:
Not all of these suggestions may be feasible, of course, in your situation. Thatís why we suggest that you let us inspect your property and help you decide what might be most suitable for your particular needs. Your e-mail or call is always welcome.
- To obtain your best price, donít be in a hurry to sell. Allow time for the right buyer to come along.
- Decide early what your lowest price will be. On the other hand, donít hold out for the impossible.
- Think of pricing in terms of un-rounded numbers ($99,800, for example instead of $100,000).
- Always be ready to show your home at short notice.
- Be willing to redecorate if necessary, and mention that in your listing.
- Reply at once to an offer.
- Avoid asking for contingencies on an offer.
- Make immediate possession possible.
All you need to sell is one qualified buyer and a good, well written contract.If you price your home right and put it in tip-top condition, chances are you'll get a purchase offer quickly. The critical move, at this point, will be negotiating the terms of the contract so your interests are protected. The better the contract, the more likely it is your home sale will go to settlement smoothly.
When writing your sales contract, you should require enough earnest money from the buyers to discourage them from walking away should they simply change their minds. The contract should also specify what happens to the earnest money if the deal fails for any number of reasons.
How to Guard Against "H.O." (House Odor)Your best friend may not tell you, but itís just possible your house needs deodorant. It may ifÖ
Hereís what to do about it:
- You own a dog or cat.
- You cook with strong seasonings such as garlic.
- Someone in the family smokes (especially cigars).
- The house is so well insulated that it canít breathe.
- Cook spicy food only when the vent fan is running full tilt.
- Disguise unavoidable cooking smells with a commercial spray deodorizer.
- Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
- Get rid of smells impregnated in counter tops by scrubbing surfaces with lemons; leave overnight and rinse off. (Be careful, however. Lemon juice will bleach some materials.)
- Keep the catís litter box changed regularly; spray the bottom of the box with a commercial deodorizer after each cleaning.
- Shampoo smelly carpets and/or spray carpets with a carpet deodorizer.
- If you enjoy fragrances, disguise occasional odors with mildly scented candles and/or sachets. (If youíre unsure about a visitorís response to fragrances, simply air out the rooms.)
- Air out all the rooms frequently. Fresh air and cleanliness are your best guards against an odoriferous house.