Save 6% on the sale of your home

Here’s how to save 6% on the sale

of your home

Home sales are heating up.  Not convinced it’s a good time to sell?  Consider this:

  • Sales of existing homes rose 5.1% in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.  That’s the fastest pace since November of 2009.
  • Sales are up 9.2% in the last year.
  • The median home price, $228,700, has been on the rise and now near the record monthly median home price of $230,400 reached in July of 2006.
  • Sales of new homes were also up 2.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is the strongest pace since February 2008.
  • Year-over-year prices in the metropolitan areas of Denver and San Francisco are up 10.3% and 10.0% respectively. In the same time, prices in Miami are up 8.5% and up 8.8% in Dallas. That’s according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index.

What’s more, rising rates for rentals are forcing more Americans to consider homeownership.  Zillow (Z) chief economist Stan Humphries tells Yahoo Finance that, “Housing is definitely on the road to recovery… It’s been a little bit of a see-saw this spring with some months up and some months down, but the long-term trend in both existing and new home sales [has] been positive.”

But does a hot market mean an easy sell and easy money in your pocket?  Not easy, but maybe easier.  And that’s prompting some homeowners to try to sell without a real estate agent.  It’s a move that could save a seller 5% to 6%, which is what most agents charge in commission.

“Selling by owner makes sense in any market,” says Eddie Tyner, general manager of ForSaleByOwner.com which is owned by Tribune Publishing (TPUB). “The advantages of doing so are just so significant. The savings are going to be substantial. And you’re not going to sacrifice results by doing it by owner,” he says.  ForSaleByOwner.com saw the total number of new listings on the site jump 5% in the first six months of 2015.

ForSaleByOwner.com is one of a handful of pay-to-list sites which helps sellers through the process and places properties on Zillow and Trulia as well as the Multiple Listing Service– or MLS, a collection of local databases managed by real estate professionals. Yahoo! is also one of its partners.

According to Tyner, typical “by owner” sellers sell in about the same timeframe as agent-assisted sellers do and, he says, they receive about the same percentage of their asking price as those sales that are done using an agent.

But it does take some time and effort on the part of the seller, and just 9% of home sellers sell their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ “2014 Profile on Home Buyers and Sellers.”  And of those who sold their homes without an agent, 44% knew the buyers prior to the transaction.

So where do you begin if you want to go it alone?  Pricing.  “Getting that price right in the beginning– from the start– is going to be the most important part of it,” Tyner says.  If you’re unsure how to competitively price your place, look at comparables in your neighborhood.  You also may want to hire an appraiser.

The next step is spreading the word.  Marketing is the second most important part of selling a home, Tyner says. “Marketing a home in today’s market really comes down to getting the house online,” he says. It’s something he says you can do with or without an agent.

And finally, Tyner says “finding a really great lawyer to help you navigate the…closing process” is key.  Selling a home can be complicated.  Having a trusted legal professional to help you throughout is a good move.

A few more tips:  Make sure your house is in selling condition.  If it’s not, make any necessary repairs and touch-ups before putting it on the market.  Also, you’re on the hook for screening qualified clients.  Even if a lot of people want to buy your home, some may not necessarily be able to afford it.  So seller, beware!

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