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
Source: Peter Vandevanter, The Washington Times