It’s a seller’s market out there. Like all sellers, you’re hoping to take advantage of this and avoid losing a lot of money on your home sale.
Closing costs add up quickly, but they’re not the only thing you need to keep in mind. We spoke with Kimberly Allard-Moccia, 2013 president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and broker owner of Century 21 in Braintree, about all the costs sellers need to consider. Next
Your first step: meet with a real estate agent who is familiar with your neighborhood. This person will provide a net sheet, which will show what you expect to net from the sale of your house.
“Your contract sale price is one number, but after you’ve paid your closing costs, your net proceeds is a different number,” Allard-Moccia said. “It’s a good idea that every seller make sure their realtor present net proceeds. If you’re working with a slim margin, you don’t want any surprises at the closing table.”
The realtor will ask what you owe on your home. This will determine whether or not you have to bring funds to the closing. It will also decide whether you have any extra money to spruce up the home in order to increase its value.
“When you agree to sell, you agree to provide a clear title,” Allard-Moccia said. “A clear title means that you have the ability to pay off any outstanding liens and mortgages.” Next
There are several closing costs to take into account. If you live in Massachusetts, you may have to pay approximately:
- $100-$200 to have a deed prepared to pass ownership from you to the buyer,
- a state tax stamp of $4.56 on every $1,000 of your sales price
- $100 to track the discharge of your mortgage to show that it’s been paid off
- $125 to record at the registry of deeds that your mortgage has been discharged
- $35 to wire or overnight remaining mortgage payments
Condo owners have to pay $76 for a 6D certificate, which shows that there are no outstanding fees from you, the unit owner, to the condominium.
Other costs to look out for include your brokerage fee and taxes or municipal liens. And while it’s not mandatory to have an attorney review your documents and attend the closing, some sellers may choose to add this to their cost. Next
While it’s not required, some sellers choose to do a pre-listing home inspection. They hire a home inspector to take a look at the property and give sellers an idea of issues that may come up.
All sellers must make sure your home is properly equipped with a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. “That cost can vary depending on whether or not they’re hardwired,” Allard-Moccia said. “Then you’re going to have to pay to have your local fire department come in and inspect those smoke detectors and present you with a certificate.”
Massachusetts residents who have a septic system need to make sure it complies with Title V law. This can cost $500 or more. Next
It’s important to make your house look good. For some, this can involve hiring a landscaper to improve its curb appeal. They might also need to hire a cleaning company to give the house a thorough cleaning before you start showing.
“Hiring a maintenance person to do some painting touchups, recaulking and regrouting floors and bathrooms,” Allard-Moccia said. “Things like that to make sure it’s showing its best.” Next
“It’s your home, but nobody wants to buy your home,” Allard-Moccia said. “They want to buy something they can see themselves in. It has to go from a home to being a product that appeals to as many people as possible.”
The cost of this transformation can be as simple as a fresh coat of neutral paint. Or you might want to get the professionals involved.
“If you really want to put your best foot forward, you could hire a stager, someone who is hired to come in and use your existing items or bring in new items to make a house show the best it possibly can,” Allard-Moccia said. Next
Maybe your house is clutter or you want to get a headstart on your move. You might consider hiring a storage pod of offsite storage for three or four months while you’re marketing the home.
“Packing allows you to get rid of some items in your home so the home shows better,” Allard-Moccia said.
Finally, you may want to do a title rundown on your property. Clearing a title defect could take months and could cost thousands of dollars. “Make sure there are no clouds on your title or defects on your title that would prevent you from having a smooth closing,” Allard-Moccia said. Back to the beginning
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