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Frequently Asked Questions
When Selling Your Home

What do I need to do to get my home ready to Sell?

The goal of getting your home ready to sell is to have potential buyers visualize themselves living in the home, and to not have them making a list of things that they will need to do before moving in. You want to make your home look like of the model homes in the new construction communities.

  • De-Clutter: If it is not something you use every day put it away. Only the necessities should be out. In the Kitchen, take everything off the counters. If there is something you absolutely need on the counter, keep it in the corners. This will make every room of the house feel larger.

  • De-Personalize: We want the buyers to visualize themselves living in the home. This can be hard to do when there are photos of you and your family everywhere. I would also take down any religious, sports teams, and political things. You will be surprised how often a potential buyer refuses to make an offer because they didn’t “like” the seller.

  • Clean: Buyer’s will stay in clean homes longer than dirty homes. And the longer a buyer stays in the home, the more likely they will be to make an offer. And we like offers.

  • Curb Appeal: Walk out to the street and take a look at your house. How does your home look? Landscaping need a tune up? House need painted? Doorbell need fixing? The buyer’s first impression of the home sets the tone for the rest of the showing.

  • Make Repairs: Don’t worry you don’t need to go all out. Just move from room to room and see if anything stands out that the average person would see. Burned out light bulbs? Drywall damage? Door doesn’t latch? You don’t want the buyer to think that they need to fix a ton of things before moving in.

What are the costs associated with selling?

As a seller you probably care more about how much you are going to make from the sale than the actual sales price. So here is the breakdown of the costs associated with selling your home.

  • Realtor Fees: These fees vary from agent to agent. There are some companies that charge a small flat fee and don't offer much. There are agents that charge 7% and offer a lot of service. Find the right balance of cost and service for you.

  • Seller Closing Costs:  This depends on when you close and fee other variables. It will be between 1% and 1.5%, but in most instances, it is around 1.25%. This is a catch all for Property Taxes, Title Insurance, Escrow Fees, and HOA fees.

  • Mortgage: Assuming you have a mortgage on the home, the bank is going to want their money. The mortgage payoff amount will be slightly higher than the loan balance that you see on your statement by a few hundred dollars.

  • Repairs: This is a hard one to plan for. I’ve seen homes be sold as-is with no repairs, and I’ve seen homes that need more than $20,000 in repairs. My rule of thumb, for planning purposes, is 0.5% of the sales price, plus any roof or HVAC repairs. Roof inspections are free and HVAC inspections cost $100-$150. These may be things we want to know in advance.

  • Buyer Closing Costs: Depending on the price point of your home and what the market is currently doing, you may have buyer’s that ask the seller to pay for some or all of their closing costs. This can be anywhere from 1%-3% of the sales price.

How do I choose the right agent to sell my home?

I was just going to say hire me, but the truth is, I may not be the right Realtor for you. You want to find an agent that you get along with and trust. Selling your home can be very stressful and working with someone you don’t along with or trust, will just add to the stress. I can’t tell you what questions to ask to see if you get along with the agent. There may be specific questions important to you or it may be a gut feeling. What I can tell you are the questions to ask to cut through the fluff of a sale pitch to find the agent’s true results.

  • What is your average Sales Price to Original List Price Ratio? The oldest trick in the book used by some Listing Agents is to tell you your home is worth way more than it actually is worth. They hope you hire them because they will sell your home for the most money. But once you agree to list with them and the home doesn’t sell. They will tell you to drop the price to the actual market value. This wastes your time and will end up selling for less than if you priced it right to begin with. This question will show you if the agent plays this trick. Here is the benchmark: Market Average is 98.3%

  • What is your marketing plan to sell my home? Marketing your home is one of the most important things the listing agent does. If the agent’s plan only consists of taking professional photos, uploading it to the MLS, and holding an open house, RUN. That may have worked 20 years ago, but today that is the bare minimum. There are so many ways to reach buyers, and the listing agent needs to use them all.

  • To see our marketing strategy, click here.

  • What are your average Days on Market? This will tell you how effective the agent’s pricing and marketing are. If an agent says they do all these fancy things to sell your home, but they don’t sell homes faster than average, does it really matter? Here is the Benchmark: Average Days of Market last year was 11.3.

When is the best time to sell?

I’m not going to be that Realtor that tells you “It’s always a good time to sell”, but I’m also not going to tell you that you should try and time the market. If you are selling for a certain time sensitive reason (Like a job transfer), then that is the best time to sell. If you are flexible, the best time to sell is when there are more buyers than sellers. Traditionally in Arizona, this happens between February and May.

How long will it take to sell?

Anywhere from 30 days to 3.5 months. Here is a breakdown of the timeline.

  • Pre-Market: 2 weeks. During this time, you will get the home ready for the market. And I will get the professional photos and video done along with getting all the marketing content ready to go.

  • On-Market: 1 to 12 weeks. Most of our homes sell in the first week, 89% of them sell in the first month. But It all depends on the price, condition, and marketing of the home. Market Average is 

  • Escrow: 4 to 7 weeks. This is the period after accepting an offer and before closing the sale. This is when the buyer performs their inspections, we negotiate and make repairs, get the home appraised, and the buyer completes their loan process. Market Average is

How much is my home worth?

This is the million-dollar question. In the information age of today, there are a lot of different places you can go to find out what your home is worth. And they will all tell you different things. Here is my take on the common sources:

  • Zillow’s Zestimate: If you live in a masterplan community where there are a ton of sales of similar homes, Zillow’s Zestimate is pretty accurate and usually within a few percent's of the actual value. If you live in a custom home on acreage where every home around you is different, Zillow is likely to be way off. Overall Zillow’s accuracy in Tucson averages within 5% of the true value of a home.

  • Tax Assessor: Not even close. First don’t even look at the Limited Value, you want to look at the “Full Cash Value” or “FCV”. That number is roughly 20% less than the actual value of your home. Government officials like to keep this number low, to limit the number of people challenging the assessment, and for you to feel that you are paying less taxes.

  • I-Buyer Postcards: You are just going to want to throw these postcards away. I-Buyers want to buy your home under market value, so they have room to sell it for market value and make a profit. You will also notice that these postcards have a huge price range. This is to entice you to call them because the top numbers look pretty good. The actual amount they will buy your home for is usually 10% under value.

  • An Appraisal: If you want to spend $500+ dollars to find out what your home is worth, by all means go right ahead. But this money could be better spent somewhere else. The appraised value of a home that is not on the market usually comes in lower than the appraised value of a home that is already under contract. I would add about 3% to the appraised value.

  • Your realtor: Now I may be biased, but I believe this is your best way to figure out what your home is worth. We can give you an in-depth price analysis of your home for free. This will be based on what homes are selling for, how your home compares to those homes, how fast homes are selling, and what the market has done since comparable homes have sold. 

Do I have to pay taxes on the proceeds from the sale?

In most cases, you do not need to pay taxes on the sale of your home. To be exempt from capital gains tax, the home must have been your primary residence for 24 months of the last five years. If you lived in the home for less than 24 months in the last 5 years you would be subject to short term capital gains tax, which is taxed as ordinary income. There are limits to this exemption. For single homeowners, you are exempt on the first $250,000 in profit, and married homeowners, up to $500,000. Like every tax law, there is a ton of small print. If you are concerned about paying taxes, talk with a tax professional.

Can I buy my next home while selling my current home?

The short answer is yes. But it depends. If you are trying to sell your home and buy your next home, you will fall into 2 categories:

  • You can qualify to buy your next home even if you don’t sell your current home. This situation is much more manageable. If this describes your situation, we can proceed as normal. Once we find and close on your next home, we would start the process on selling your old home. To find out if you can qualify to buy your next home without selling your current home, speak with a lender. They can let you know. And if you are worried about potentially having two mortgage payments, understand that without mortgages are paid, you may have 30-60 days of no mortgage payments on your new home. That buys us some time to get your old home sold. If all goes well, you may not have double payments, and if you do, it may just be one.

  • You have to sell your current home in order to qualify for the home you are buying. In today’s market, this proves to be more challenging. If this situation describes you, all of the offers that we write will be contingent on you selling your home. This puts us behind the eight ball, if we are competing against other offers, because our offer has an added layer of risk to the seller. I would recommend looking at homes that have been on the market longer than a week or two, as these sellers may be more open to accepting a contingent offer. And if they are open to accepting a contingent offer, they will at least want to see that your home is on the market, and in some cases require that your home is already under contract. Having to have your home on the market prior to writing offers provides its own challenges. Your home could sell quickly, which would put you in a position to have to find a home quick. And with the low supply of homes for sale, there may not be too many options to choose from. You may want to consider finding temporary housing that can bridge the time between selling your home and finding your next home.

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