Tips, tricks and insights when you sell your home

Sell out with me. "You used to stand for something, but you’ve sold out, man." Everyone’s heard the phrase about their favorite garage band when mainstream access yields excess levels of popularity. In classic days where tape decks came standard in every car, families bought a home for life, and had little or no plan to sell it. However, in today’s economy where iTunes and Spotify reign supreme, moving is commonplace. 

Below you will find insight on common questions and issues in the sale of real estate which will empower you to march to the beat of your own drum and sell out on your own terms.

Before any band makes it big, they retain a savvy agent who knows the business to broker the best deal possible. Likewise, choosing the right agent is the first important consideration in selling your home. They serve as your mouthpiece and primary point of contact for buyers, which is obviously ideal if you’re on tour in another city and a seasoned agent can broker a more favorable price on the home and market it to the right buyers, possibly shortening its time on the market.

If you were a one-man band at the time you bought your home and then got married, don’t be surprised to find that both you and your spouse need to sign a deed conveying the property, as North Carolina law provides a spouse with a marital interest in real property which must be released upon sale.

Every so often, a good band faces a tough crowd, and the great ones find a way to win the crowd over by the end of the show. There are concessions other than lowering the price that your agent may recommend to entice a prospective buyer.

  • Offer to pay some of the closing costs
  • Offer a selling agent bonus

Whether selling you home rises to be a taxable event relies on many variables, however two major factors are sale price and the amount of time the seller owned the home.

The power ballad the IRS croons will allow a seller a tax exclusion up to $250,000.00 from a single person’s sale from federal income, and for a married couple this number doubles to $500,000.00. However, the property must have been used as a primary residence for at least 2 years. There are laws that allow members of the Armed Forces to claim this exclusion regardless of time spent, provided their move results from a permanent change in station. If you qualify, congratulations, take a bow!

When the show’s over and it's time to move on, there’s an interlude between acts that allows the next group to set up while the other leaves. Similarly, once the home is sold the buyer becomes responsible for utilities.

Standard practice suggests waiting 48 to 72 hours to contact the power companyto allow the buyer time to make the switch.

Also, make sure to contact your homeowners’ insurance company and tell them you have sold the property because you may be entitled to a refund of the unused portion premium. Likewise, any sums remaining in the escrow account after selling you home must be returned to you.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to sell your home while maintaining your integrity, getting yourself off the highway to hell and climbing the stairway to heaven.

Published by John A. Mandulak on June 16, 2015