How to Sell My House Fast
I Need to Sell My House Now Because of…
There can be a multitude of serious reasons that you need to sell your home quickly. Job changes, death or family structure change, financial issues, and more. However, regardless of why you need to sell quickly, the common denominator is that you want to get the most value for your home in a timely fashion.
We’ve listed some of the most prevalent reasons for a sale, the differences in how to approach each circumstance, and how to reach that bottom line of finding a buyer quickly in any market.
How to know when it’s time to sell your house
There might not ever be a perfect time or a sign from the heavens that tells you to sell. However, there are usually some strong reasons that will give you a good idea. If you get a new job and have to move out of the city or to a different area that would require a long commute, you will likely need to sell.
Past the obvious location-change catalyst, there can be financial implications that can dictate a sale. In the short term, if you have drastic changes in your income one direction or the other, it might be the right time for you to change houses. For longer-term decisions, if the home market is booming and you think there is a pullback coming, you may want to get peak value for your house.
Finally, the most common set of reasons for selling a home is for change in person life situations. These include marriage, divorce, having children, children leaving for college, or a death in the family. The goal is to have a space perfect for you and your family, and a disruption can be an influence to sell.
Common reasons for a quick home sale
Positive or negative, planned or unplanned – a quick home sale will always have associated stress in the process. Our goal is to minimize that as much as possible by detailing what to do in the most frequent quick-sale situations.
Unfortunately, the most difficult situations often are accompanied by a need to dissolve an asset quickly. While you don’t always have to sell a home in a divorce, it often is the easiest way to divide equity, realign your living situations, and get through the legal process quickly.
A quick sale during a divorce is often predicated on neither spouse wants to stay in the home, or one not being able to buy the other out. However, even if you need to sell fast, there are significant benefits to consulting a professional agent and not rushing through the process. More importantly, the amount of stress involved in working your own home sale (and doing it with a partner you are separating from) will likely lead to poor decision making. Finally, there are tax implications that should be considered. For instance, when married couples sell during a divorce separation, any gain on the sale of the property in excess of $500,000, is subject to capital gains tax, unless they have occupied the property for two of the last five years. Most real estate agents will have relationships with tax professionals who can provide resources to guide you through this tough time
Death of a Relative
The death of a relative may trigger the need to quickly sell a home. If it is part of an inheritance or an estate transfer, there may be a need to liquidate the home for division of equity. In other instances, it might be that someone in your family has passed unexpectedly and now the family needs to get out of that mortgage for financial or emotional reasons.
Whatever situation of bereavement you may be dealing with, there are important steps to take. You should immediately contact a real estate agent who is an expert in the area. Even if you have a qualified agent you’ve worked with in a different area, ask them for their best referral. They can help with closing out bills, transference of title if necessary, and prepping the house for a quick sale. There will be many small tasks like changing locks, getting appraisals and inspections done, and pricing that will be difficult if you are not extremely familiar with the neighborhood. Don’t let a bad situation get worse by guessing on these tasks.
Most importantly, real estate law requires probate prior to the sale of real property. Probate is the proving in court of the deceased persons will. It also ensures the inventory and dissolution, appraisal the values, paying taxes and other bills, and finally distributing the assets to the appropriate parties.
Selling An Inherited Property? Here are the steps you must first take.
1. Hire a Realestate Agent: If you have inherited a home, we recommend contacting an agent and having them compile a list of necessary steps to take. We understand that speed is often a factor here, but you will come out significantly ahead financially if you are thorough with the process. A good agent will have resources available to help you navigate the tax and legal implications involved, which as you will see are the next most important steps. Once you’ve assembled your team, a skilled Realtor will get you a buyer quickly and do so with these other key steps in mind.
2. Consult With A Tax Professional The implications of selling an inherited property vary by state and navigating those laws can be complex. It is true that most heirs aren’t subject to real estate inheritance tax, by selling property that is inherited can have tax consequences. In this case, an asset is taxed on the gain of net present basis at the time of the loved one’s death. If a home was worth $400,000 at the time of death, but is worth $450,000 by the time it is ready to sell, the heirs would be liable for taxes on the $50,000 of increased value. It can therefore be in the heirs best interest to quickly sell an inherited asset so as to avoid increased tax liability.
Step 3. Consult With A Financial Advisor If you’ve inherited a home or other asset from a deceased relative, consider consulting with an experienced financial advisor before deciding on a course of action. These specialists can advise on how best to utilize the proceeds of the sale, if it makes more sense for you to hold the investment or sell it, and how to limit your future liability through various legal instruments.
Do sellers ever sell a house with their belongings in it?
The sale of furnishings are often negotiated during the process of selling a home. This property however, is considered personal property and not real property. Attempting to negotiate this in the sale of a property can have potentially negative impacts on lending. Lenders consider furnishings as personal property. They will only lend on real property such as the house and the land it sits on. In most cases, furnishings are simply negotiated outside of the real estate purchase contract on a separate bill of sale.
The biggest mistake homeowners make when they get behind on their bills, is putting their head in the sand and hiding from the issue. Avoiding problems like these are understandable. The situation seems hopeless and overwhelming, and you just don’t see a way out. However, the reality is this just makes the situation go from bad to worse. That’s why it’s really important to know how the process works and what the options are. Sometimes the options are far better than you could ever imagine, and typically they aren’t nearly as bad.
First, you need to understand that banks don’t want to foreclose on a home. They are in the business of lending money and making it on interest. Not in owning and selling property. As such they will typically go out of their way to work with you on options if you just reach out and speak to them. They have the ability and willingness to postpone a foreclosure to give you more time to catch up on your bills, cancel a foreclosure to give you time to sell it, or even delay it long enough to allow you to negotiate a short sale.
Ask A Pro If Your Home Has Equity
If you are running behind on your mortgage and you don’t think you’ll likely be able to catch back up, call a licensed real estate pro immediately. A trained Realtor will quickly determine the value of your home and analyze the costs involved with selling it. They can then look at your outstanding mortgage balance and determine the best course of action. If your home has positive equity, (the proceeds from sale exceed the debt and sale costs), they can usually stall the bank from foreclosing long enough to sell your home, pay off your debts, and find you a new more affordable place to live.
Is A Short Sale Your Best Choice?
If your home is in negative equity, also known as “underwater” or “upside down”, your experienced Realtor can still help. In this case the value of your home is less than the debt you owe plus the costs to sell it. Remember, as we described above, banks don’t want to foreclose on your property. As such they will work with a trained Realtor to sell it for you and them. First, your Agent will help you pull together the documents you will need to proceed. This will include, your last two years of tax records, two months of bank statements, a letter authorizing your Agent to negotiate on your behalf, and a letter from you affirming that you’ve experienced a financial difficulty that makes paying your remaining balance impossible. Next, your Agent will list your property for sale. They will need to price the property marginally below current market value in order to quickly attract a buyer who is willing to stick around long enough to get through the negotiations with the bank. Finally, your Agent will negotiate the offer with the bank and gain their approval to sell at a price below the debt owed.
When a short sale is completed, you are no longer on the hook for the debt. The sale will have a negative impact on your credit and ability to purchase a home, but the consequences will be much less severe than if you were to have allowed the bank to foreclose.
This is another tricky situation that home owners may not know can be sold out of. Creditors cannot foreclose your property while it is shielded in bankruptcy, but you also are not able to sell your house without permission from the bankruptcy court itself. However, a trustee can ask the court for permission to sell during, and we recommend using a real estate broker to represent you here.
After a bankruptcy is resolved, you can try to sell your home quickly if the mortgage is in default but don’t want it to be foreclosed on. This is where your agent will be looking at the market conditions and the willingness of the bank to negotiate a short sale, or if you can simply sell it and retain the equity.
MARKET IS AT ITS PEAK??
This can be great news! If you see a booming housing market and have decided that the value of your home is at a point in which you want to realize your equity, selling quickly can make sense. We would immediately caution to never rush through this situation and once again, always consult a professional broker. The reality is you need a plan for where you will live. The benefits of selling at the peak are negated if you also have to buy at the peak. A real estate market expert can explain the realities of the existing housing options. One strategy that can work in this situation is to simply sell your home now at the top of the market and rent a new home while you wait for the market to come down. This can be risky in markets like California where prices seem to rise, but typically don’t fall much even in an economic downturn. They will also help you understand the real cost of renting and if this option will be the best one for you.
Change in Family or Lifestyle Situation
Make a list of all the things you need in a new home – Homes are super expensive and moves are exhausting. Make sure you get the next one right. List out all of the things that you dislike about your current home. Consider the number of rooms, outlets, closet space, storage, parking, floor plan configuration, and proximity to all the things you do on a daily basis. Make sure that when you are looking for a new home your Agent is intimately aware of your needs. A good agent can advise you on things that you could change in a new home and the cost associated. You might find the perfect location, for the right price but it’s lacking some of the elements on your list. Discuss how those objections could be overcome and the costs to do so in advance of committing to the purchase.
Consult With An Expert Neighborhood Listing Agent – Get a neighborhood expert Listing Agent on your side right away. They’ll help you maximize the sale proceeds and minimize the time on market. They’ll also help you understand the timing and process for the new move. They’ll recommend staging ideas, have access to repair contractors, and make sure your home is market ready without breaking the bank.
Analyze what you will have left over for a down payment when you sell your home – Your Agent will also help you analyze the equity in your home. First they’ll perform a competitive market analysis on your home to determine its actual market value. This is far more sophisticated than any computer generated algorithm than companies like Zillow could ever produce. Next, they’ll coordinate with your lender to find out what your remaining principal balance is. Finally, they’ll prepare a net seller proceeds sheet which calculates what is left over from sale after the lender is paid off and all sales costs are covered.
INSERT (NET PROCEEDS CALCULATOR LINK)
Seek Advice From A Real Estate Agent Who Specializes In The Area You Want To Live – They’ll help you understand the realities of the market in your new area. They can develop a plan for the price range you’ll be in, how much you’ll need to put down, how quickly you’ll need to close, and how competitive you’ll have to be, or how much leverage you’ll have in the purchase negotiations.
Make the home seem like you don’t need to move – If your motivation for moving is that you feel space constrained, make sure that the prospective new buyers don’t share your concern. Declutter your home, clean out the closets, move everything extra to the garage, and get staging tips from your Agent.
This may seem like an unlikely reason to leave a home quickly, but if you’ve ever experienced unreasonable neighbors, this will resonate. For those of you haven’t dealt with a nightmare scenario like this, we hope you never do. However, this problem is not as rare as you might think.
If your neighbors are unsafe, or have pets, or even kids that you fear, you may need to leave as soon as possible. Sometimes neighborhood disagreements can become violent. If someone is threatening you, living in a manner that is not safe for you or your family, or creating neighboring conditions that are undesirable, you shouldn’t have to live in misery.
Recently, our culture has devolved into such division, that you might even be considering a move because of the political signs posted on your neighbor’s lawn. No matter the reason, whether it be nuisance, safety, or just a desire to live closer to people who share your values, be sure to consider all of the implications and get the help you need to maximize the speed of sale and the recapture of your money.
What are the top reasons, in order, for selling a house?
- Financial reasons (in success or in hardship)
- Location change for family or job.
- Change in family status (marriage, divorce, having children, children going to college)
- Death in the family
- Bad neighbors or neighborhood.
- Want to move to a new city or area
If I want to sell my house now, who can I contact?
Life has a way of throwing curveballs at you, and when it comes to your home equity, you need to knock them out of the park. If you are looking to get a home sold quickly, contact one of our licensed agents today: our mission is to help people get the most out of their home selling experience, and we’d love to work with you.