Your Financial Future:
Selling Your Home
There are many non-financial considerations to make when considering selling your home, including the emotional and sentimental impact, whether you will need to relocate out of your current area, and what kind of new housing is most appropriate for your needs. Here are some things to remember when starting this complex process:
The Federal Government allows significant exclusion from capital tax gains—up to $500,000—on a homeowner’s principal residence. An important bonus: you do not have to use the proceeds from the sale to buy another house in order to be eligible for the exclusion. This benefits older families who may be moving into nursing homes or other housing.
If you decide to sell your home, there are a variety of housing options to choose from with many different features. ( AARP has a listing of different housing options on their website )
Most people hire a real estate agent or broker to assist in the selling process. Be sure to select a reputable, licensed broker, and interview several until you find one who you trust. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a list of questions you should ask brokers to get started:
1. For how long have you sold houses in this area?
2. How many houses did you sell in the past year?
3. What is your commission?
4. If I were to work with you, how would you market my house?
5. Will you organize meetings with potential buyers and will you coordinate them personally?
If you choose not to work with a broker, you should consult a lawyer before beginning the selling process.
The most important document in the house-selling process is the Agreement of Sale, which outlines all the details of the terms of the sale. You may want to have your lawyer review this document, even if you are working with a broker.
“Closing” refers to the formal process wherein the seller signs over the deed of the house to the buyer and receives a check for the sale of the house. It can be a complicated process, and having a lawyer present may be advisable.
Procedures and laws change frequently and vary by location, so it is very important to seek professional guidance-- even if you have been through the home-selling process in the past.