There’s a lot to know and a lot to consider.
This site is designed to help you have an exceptional selling experience.
Is now a good time to sell your home?
Many sellers don’t have the luxury of deciding when to move because those decisions are dictated by job requirements or life changes. But when the choice is yours, how do you know when it’s a good time to sell your home?
If you are planning on buying a house in the same area that you are selling in, then really any time is as good as the next. If there are a lack of houses for sale and prices are on the rise then it’s considered a “seller’s market”. That’s great for you as a seller, but in this scenario you are also a buyer. If you are downsizing, the market is in your favor because the gain on your larger home will be greater than the premium you are paying for your new, smaller home. However, if you are moving into a more expensive home you’ll be paying out more than you would if it was a “buyer’s market”.
Right now, in Brevard County, the market is turning, and while we are still in a “Sellers’ Market”, we don’t know for how long. We are transitioning out of a very strong sellers’ market where new listings were flying off the market and median home prices were increasing annually in the double digits. But according to the 2019 Florida REALTORS® annual report some cities in Brevard are seeing home prices increase, while in other areas home prices have actually declined in the last year. As an example, for the overall county, the median sales price for single-family homes in 2019 was up 4.8% from 2018. But individual cities varied widely – Melbourne was up a modest 3.9% while Palm Bay was up considerably more at 7.8%. Meanwhile the median sales prices in Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach actually decreased by over 1%. If you are thinking of selling, we recommend you get your home on the market sooner rather than later.
What should the list price be?
It’s critical that a house is priced appropriately when it’s first put on the market for sale. If you price too low, you won’t get as much money as you could have. But if you price too high, the house will languish. The longer a house sits on the market the less interest there is in it. If it takes you three months to bring your price down to the actual value then you are unlikely to get the kind of buyer excitement that could have driven the price up.
A house should be priced at its market value. By definition, the “market value” is the amount that a house will sell for in an open, competitive market. But since we’d need hindsight to know the true market value, we have to estimate it. The most common way to do this is to look at similar houses that have recently sold, and use them as a guide. Since no two houses are exactly alike, the calculation is tricky. Do NOT rely on automated online estimates such as Zillow’s Zestimate. Typically automated calculations just average the prices of similar size homes that have recently sold within a prescribed radius from your house. But what if your house is waterfront and the sold houses are not? Or what if your neighborhood is newer with more amenities than a neighborhood a half mile away? There are so many factors to consider that in order to get a realistic estimate the calculation must be done by a professional.
Licensed real estate agents estimate the fair market value of a property by doing a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA). With this method, the agent uses the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to locate the three or more homes that have sold in the last 6 months that are the most comparable to your home. In this calculation the REALTOR® makes price adjustments to reflect the ways in which your home is different from each of the comparable homes they have chosen, and then they use those adjusted values to recommend a listing price. The CMA adjustments are very subjective. There is great variation between REALTORS® as to how much detail they include and the number and amount of the adjustments they make, so be sure to ask any prospective REALTOR® to explain their CMA in detail.
Click here to request a no cost, no obligation CMA from Florida Coast Realty Partners, LLC.
How do I choose a REALTOR®?
Should I try to sell my home without a REALTOR®?
We’ll try to give you an unbiased answer here, but we are REALTORS®, so we can’t make any promises! If you are computer savvy, detail oriented, able to be objective about the value of your house, willing to spend time researching everything you need to know, and willing to deal directly with potential buyers, then attempting to sell your home “by owner” may be an option for you. (Click here for a comprehensive list of what a real estate agent does when selling a home.) If you go this route, be sure to get a real estate attorney to review the contract and inform you of any potential concerns or pitfalls.
If you decide to try to sell your home on your own, We recommend that you still reach out to a REALTOR® to ask them to do a market analysis for you. Just be honest and tell them that you want to try to sell it on your own first – many REALTORS® will still be happy to assist you, not only because they know you will come to them if you don’t succeed, but also because you may refer them to a friend. Also, some of us (REALTORS®) will do it just because we are nice people!
What do I need to do to get the house ready?
Have you ever moved into a new home with the intent of making a bunch of changes right away, and then find yourself years later debating whether you should actually make those changes before you sell your home? If so, you’re not alone.
The key is to determine what can make the biggest impact with buyers for the least amount of money. Generally buyers either want a move-in ready home or a bargain. So assuming your home isn’t a “fixer-upper,” you probably should put some effort and money into making it appealing. At Florida Coast Realty Partners, we provide home staging tips at the time of your free, no-obligation sales consultation. We also offer a blog post describing some inexpensive home improvements that can make a big difference.
Can I buy and sell at the same time?
The answer to this question is “yes, but it’s tricky!” The reason that many home owners sell is because they want to upgrade or downsize into a different home. Most often in these cases the owner needs cash from the sale of their current house to finance the new one. This creates a logistical problem. Do you load everything into a big truck, clean the house, go to closing to get your money, and then drive you and your “stuff” to close on the purchase of the new home, all in the same day? Doable, but what if one of the closings is held up for some reason? Then you’re either homeless or you can’t meet your commitment of purchasing the new home on the day you committed to. There are several different ways to deal with this issue – check out this article to learn more.
How much will it cost to sell my home?
The contract determines whether the buyer or seller pays each of the closing costs. The standard contract does come with a customary allocation of the costs, but those can be amended during contract negotiations. In Brevard County it is customary for the seller to pay for the following:
- Doc stamps on the deed (which is a type of tax) will be .007 x the purchase price or $700 for every $100,000.
- Home Owners Association estoppel fee which varies by HOA. It is usually at least $100 but can go up to $300 or more. The estoppel fee pays for your HOA to disclose any balances in your account to the closing agent.
- Title Search/Exam is typically around $200. This involves the title company researching any claims against the property.
- Owner’s title insurance policy – this is an insurance policy provided to the buyer protecting them in case someone comes after closing and makes claims to the property. The fee for this insurance is calculated $575 for the first $100,000 of the purchase price and then .005 X the remaining purchase price. (Example: If the purchase price is $230,000 the title insurance cost would be as follows: $575 + (.05 X $130,000) = $1,225.
- Closing/Settlement Fee is paid to the closing agent for their services of coordinating all requirements and documentation involved in closing the sale. The closing agent is typically a real estate attorney or a title company. The amount charged for this can vary, so check rates before determining who you want to use as the closing agent. Typically fees run between $200 and $400.
- Brokerage Commission is broken into two parts – the amount going to the listing broker (your agent’s Broker) and the other part going to the the broker whose agent finds the buyer. The total commission is typically around 6% but that can vary.
- Broker Only Fee is an additional flat fee that your listing broker can assess. Most agencies these days charge this fee but many do not – ask your prospective REALTOR® if they do. If charged it is typically around $300.
- Other miscellaneous fees may add up to another $100-$200.
- Also, if your buyer uses FHA or VA financing, there will be other costs you will be required to pay. This will add another few hundred dollars to the total.
Your best bet is to ask a REALTOR®, title company or attorney to estimate the charges for you. A REALTOR® will typically give you this estimate whenever they give you a proposal to sell your home. Click here to order an estimate of closing costs for your home.