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American Homeowners Association



Sell Your Home, Keep Your Money

When selling your home, it is easy to lose track of the costs as money changes hands. Hopefully, the sale will leave you with ample proceeds, but in addition to the proceeds, you can SAVE money in the course of selling your home. All it takes is some attention to detail, and some tips from people who have done this once or twice.

-Choose your Realtor based on the person, not the company they represent. Realtors are basically independent contractors who work under the name of a particular company. A good Realtor who negotiates well can save you two percent of the sale price, so be sure you respect the Realtor, and are not blinded by an impressive company name.

-Don't pay off all of your credit card debt before you go looking for a house. Debt is burdensome, but in the overall calculation of debt it traditionally is used to determine how much of a loan you qualify for; your credit card debt is calculated at its minimum monthly amount, generally $50-75. If you borrow $5,000 cash and pay off the debt, you are in worse shape financially from the point of view of lending institutions.

-In the pre-qualification interview, always answer "no" to the question about whether someone could give you a gift of money to help with the cost of the house. Once you say "yes" this generally becomes fact in the Realtor's mind. Keep that information in your back pocket and use the gift amount if you need it.

-Make sure you understand that a house's assessed value is different from its market value. The assessed value is the sum that is used to compute your taxes and is assigned by a tax officer who never set foot in your home. They can be high or low by as much as 20 percent. Take the assessed value with a grain of salt.

-Put your earnest money in an interest-bearing escrow account. By putting $2,000 in the account for 2 months at 7% interest you will gain $12 a month. Small potatoes, yes, but you're buying a house-you need every penny!

-Be sure your loan has no prepayment penalty. The average time a person lives in a home is less than seven years, which means the loan will generally be paid off early.

These tips can help you to retain an important share of the sale. Just be sure to research selling your home and ask questions of people who have gone before you. They may have some good money-saving suggestions in addition to these.

Source: Peter Vandevanter, The Washington Times

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