Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market

By the time they got the last offer, Quinn and Daryn Shapurji had received 54 bids on their four-bedroom, single-family house in Fishers, Ind., in just three days. Ms. Shapurji said they felt totally overwhelmed — and a bit melancholy.

“We felt bad that we had to say no to so many people, because we got a lot of beautiful letters from buyers saying how much they loved our house and why they wanted to live in the area,” said Ms. Shapurji, 32, a closing coordinator for a home builder. “Some buyers had already struck out on five or six homes.”

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The Real Costs of Selling a Home

We’re a mostly stay-put nation: Nearly half of American homeowners 50 and older have been in the same residence for 20-plus years. Which means that when it finally comes time to move on, you should be prepared for some sticker shock. Selling a home costs a lot of money, often as much as 10 percent of the sales price. But you can reduce that with a little negotiating, planning and do-it-yourself taskwork. Here’s the lowdown.

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Home Buyers Loving the Suburbs Again

For years, buyers have been flocking to cities and close-in suburbs, seeking a boost in quality of life by shortening their commutes and gaining easy access to restaurants and cultural events. The pandemic turned that trend on its head.

Last year, a number of city dwellers migrated to the suburbs and exurbs to get more space, both indoors and outdoors. Gaining the freedom to telecommute gave more buyers the ability to move from urban centers. A survey from the American Institute of CPAs found that 42% of employed Americans worked remotely at some point during the pandemic. Companies such as Twitter, REI and Square have announced plans to let employees work remotely indefinitely.

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You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate. It’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.

The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.

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Home Prices on the Rise

Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.

Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyper­active market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”

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Presale Renovations Take Off

A couple in Cambridge, Mass., were looking to sell a two-bedroom condo. The property had been rented out to three college students and needed work if the sellers were going to get top dollar for it, says Carol Kelly, a Compass real estate agent based in Cambridge.

“[The couple] didn’t want to reach into their own pocket to pay for the renovations,” Kelly says. “They didn’t want the stress of investing their own money into the property.”

So Kelly recommended Compass Concierge, a service the brokerage rolled out in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Sellers pay back the money using the proceeds of their sale. Compass put $17,000 worth of improvements into the Cambridge condo, installing new flooring, painting the kitchen cabinets, and power-washing the house. It paid off: The condo, which was listed at $589,000, sold for $640,000, enabling the sellers to repay Compass and eke out bigger gains from their investment.

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5 Crucial Questions to Ask Before You Flip Your First House

Thanks to the seemingly endless glut of home improvement TV shows like “Flip or Flop,” “Masters of Flip,” and “Rehab Addict,” it seems like flipping houses has become America’s favorite pastime.

But for the inexperienced, house flipping can be a dangerous and costly game. Make one wrong move, and that “great investment” can turn into a monumental mistake.

Don’t want your first flip to be a flop? Here are five questions you might never think to ask yourself, but totally should, before you begin flipping houses.

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5 Secrets to Selling Your Home During the Slow Season

Late spring is the best time to sell your home: There’s a good chance you’ll make top dollar on your place and sell it more quickly since summer is the most popular time to move, according to research from the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, prices on homes sold in spring 2018 soared to a record high of $269,000 on average, up 5.3 percent from the previous year, the National Association of Realtors reports. But if you need to put your place on the market during another time of year—say, winter, because of a job transfer—how can you still sell your house for what it’s worth (and maybe even a bit more), even when the market isn’t as hot? Keep reading for five secrets for selling your home during the slow season.

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Should You Buy a New Home Before Selling Yours?

For many, it’s an enviable situation: You own a house and have the ability to buy a new home before selling your current place.

But even if you have the cash — or can qualify for a second mortgage — you’ll want to consider a few pros and cons before making the offer. One big consideration: In a seller’s market where houses are going for (or even above) list price, making an offer that’s contingent on the sale of your current home can make it difficult to compete against first-time buyers.

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5 Things Sellers Should Never, Ever Say When Closing a Home Sale

Selling your home, as we all know, Giving house keysis a process: months of hard work alongside your listing agent to primp your place, market the property, and reel in a buyer. So by the time the big day arrives to close the deal and hand over the keys, you’re probably so ready to be done—which is all the more reason to tread carefully during this final step of the process.

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