All the benefits of selling your Wakefield, MA home with a real estate agent Posted on Jan 18th 2022
Everybody says it’s better to sell your home with a real estate agent than on your own. The reasons they list are almost always the same: you can save more in the long run, you’ll have a better understanding of the local real estate, and you can find a home that ticks all the boxes. But really, what are the benefits of hiring a real estate agent, especially if you’re selling your home in Wakefield, MA?
Continue reading to learn what you can gain when you sell your home with a real estate agent.
Table of contents
- Get firsthand and current information about the market
- The best time to sell your home
- Your obligations as a home seller
- Price your home better
- Finding and using comparable listings
- Pricing based on market conditions
- Preparing for selling costs
- Selling your Wakefield, MA home with Apex Realty Group
Get firsthand and current information about the market
It’s true. When you work with a local real estate agent, you stand a chance of learning more about the real estate market. This, in turn, will help you make the right decisions in selling your home.
It’s better to learn firsthand from a professional who regularly deals with the topic than on random articles you find online (some of which may be outdated). And with real estate trends constantly evolving, it’s best to keep your finger on the pulse of the market.
Here is some of the information you can expect to gain after hiring a real estate agent for your home sale.
The best time to sell your home
Seasons, market movements, and your own personal readiness all play a part in determining the ideal time to sell your home. Real estate agents can advise you on the first two factors.
- Real estate properties can sell well at different times. Single-family homes tend to sell better before the academic year ends. That’s because families with children prefer this kind of home and want to move in before the next school year starts. Historically, this type of homebuyer starts looking at homes early in the spring.
- Remember that winters are harsh on the East Coast. New England gets long and freezing winters. Massachusetts also gets frequently hit by n’oreasters (winter storms). Because of this, think twice before listing your home during this time of the year. While there is less competition and a good chance of attracting very enthusiastic and qualified homebuyers, natural phenomena like weather are out of your control.
- Selling in the spring and summer are ideal. Better weather and peak buyer activity make the first half of the year the best times to sell a home fast in Massachusetts. Do take note that you’ll also get the most competition during springtime.
- Weather and market conditions aside, the most important thing is you. It’s great to plan your home sale ahead based on market activity and whatnot, but experienced real estate agents know the most important factor to consider is you. It’s better to miss out on peak market conditions than on big, life-changing events.
Your obligations as a home seller as mandated by state law
Apart from providing clean papers and proper documentation to their prospective buyer, sellers also have property disclosures to make when selling their home.
Fortunately, Massachusetts doesn’t require a lot from its home sellers. Making sure your property is mostly safe and habitable is the buyer’s responsibility. This legal rule is called “caveat emptor,” a.k.a. buyer beware. You do, however, need to disclose if your home has lead paint and a septic tank. These are legally required as per the Massachusetts Lead Paint Statute and the Massachusetts Environmental Code.
- Was your home built before 1978? Your real estate agent will furnish you with a Property Transfer Notification Certification. This informs the buyer about the hazards of lead paint. It also advises them of having an independent lead paint inspection done on the home. Even if you have no knowledge about the existence of lead paint in the property, you need to make this disclosure.
If you fail to make this disclosure, you have to pay a fine of $1,000. You may also be liable to pay damages to the buyer.
- Does your property have a septic tank? If this is the case, you need to obtain a Title V Certificate. This certifies that your home’s septic tank has been inspected within two years up to the date of sale. Not everyone knows, however, that there are exceptions to this rule. Your real estate agent can tell you all about them.
For instance, you can forgo getting a Title V Certificate if your home has a new system installed and certified by the appropriate authorities. This is valid within three years of the property transfer. And if your home is part of a homeowners association (HOA), they have to finance the inspection.
Hiring a real estate agent when selling your home also lets you in on certain tricks and tips. One such example is that you can delay getting your property’s septic tank inspected for up to six months if the ground is frozen. Overshadowed technicalities like this can put a speed bump on the home sale if you don’t know what to do.
Price your home better
Determining a home’s market value and, eventually, its price for sale can always be a challenge if you don’t know what to do. Settle for a low price and you risk losing profits. Meanwhile, setting a high price tag can make you miss out on homebuyers, which means your home will likely sit on the market for some time. When that happens, you’ll be forced to make deductions to attract buyers.
In many ways, pricing a home for sale is like an art form, something that experienced real estate agents have practiced and perfected over the years. While negotiations are always part of every real estate transaction, the right price is what gets the ball rolling.
During this stage of the home selling process, there are several things your real estate agent can do for you.
Assess comparable listings in your neighborhood
To make your property competitive, you have to know what’s currently available in your area. A quick search online will pull up homes for sale in your neighborhood. Websites like Zillow and Redfin have customizable filters so you can find homes that are similar to your property.
But if you want a more in-depth analysis of the local market, get a comparative market analysis (CMA) from your real estate agent. It takes a look at three recently sold properties in your area that are most similar to your property in terms of location, lot size, square footage, age, overall condition, and special features, among other things.
A CMA not only contains general information about comparable listings but details about their sale as well. This includes the original listing price, the final sales price, the terms and conditions of the sale (like seller concessions and financing), and the date it was sold.
But what will be your main takeaways? As a home seller, a CMA helps you answer the following questions:
- What is the price range in your area?
- What are the selling points you should highlight?
- How much do homebuyers typically offer for homes in the neighborhood?
- What is the most realistic price your home will sell for?
Does the perfect comp exist?
No. There will always be certain things that set homes apart, but you will always find comparable listings that are similar to yours in terms of age, number of bedrooms, condition, and of course, location. You and your real estate agent can make adjustments when it comes to differences.
Another rule is that these properties should be recently sold, at least within the past three to six months. Choosing comps that have yet to be sold won’t give you much insight in pricing your home.
Knowing the real estate market’s temperature
Earlier, you read that real estate agents can give you up-to-date insights on the real estate market. Aside from helping you time your home sale, this knowledge will also allow you to set the best asking price. Why? There are different pricing strategies depending on the current market conditions.
Real estate markets tend to swing either one of two ways: it might favor buyers (a buyer’s market) or sellers (a seller’s market) at any given moment. Sometimes, the market is neutral, offering opportunities for both parties.
- In a buyer’s market, the inventory outnumbers the homebuyers. In other words, the supply is high but the demand is relatively low. As a result, home prices decrease due to longer days on the market. It’s not uncommon for sellers to make constant price deductions or throw in more concessions in hopes of securing a deal.
If you’re in a buyer’s market, this is the time to underprice your property. Settle for an asking price that is slightly slower than others in your area and you might attract homebuyers. In some cases, this is enough to trigger a bidding war. Underpricing also works for older properties or if you simply don’t have time or the funds to make repairs.
Another way to stand out from the competition is to make your home better than the others. That means making repairs, updates, and investing in marketing. It’s important to plan the changes you’ll make, however, to ensure returns on your investment.
- Meanwhile, a seller’s market is characterized by high demand and low supply. There are too many homebuyers and not enough homes in the inventory. This is when home prices increase.
Some sellers think this is the prime time to set a high asking price for their properties, but pricing your home right matters now more than ever. Set a fair price. If you want to take advantage of the high demand, go slightly lower to attract buyers and encourage multiple offers.
Price objectively, not subjectively
Sometimes, sellers let their emotions take the best of them. Fond memories and sentimental value can influence them to set a premium asking price for their home. And more often than not, some sellers think their homes are worth more than the assessed market value.
As already established, a high listing price can turn buyers away. Hiring a real estate agent can help you avoid making this crucial mistake. You can always trust an experienced and trusted real estate agent to give you unbiased advice on pricing your home, becoming your voice of reason.
Different sellers have different pricing strategies
As you interview prospective real estate agents that will aid you in your home sale, don’t just rely on their previous sales experience. Give them a scenario or two, throw in a couple of curveballs, and take note of how they will navigate the situation. If you prefer a more direct approach, you can always ask potential agents about their pricing strategy. Contact Apex Realty Group today to learn about theirs.
Prepare for the costs of selling a home
Most home sellers focus on the prospect of making a profit when they sell a home especially if their property has significantly appreciated over the years. In the process, it’s not uncommon for some sellers to forget about the costs they have to incur when it’s time to sell.
Spending money can become a sore and tiring topic. But in home selling, you have to prepare for the associated expenses beforehand. While your real estate agent isn’t your personal secretary, they can help you keep track of anticipated costs. Furthermore, selling costs are among the first things real estate agents will discuss with you. This will help you proceed with your home sale as smoothly as possible.
One expense that can come as a total surprise, especially for first-time home sellers in Massachusetts, is the tax stamp.
Also referred to as excise tax, conveyance tax, and transfer tax, this is how the state earns its share of revenue from your home sale. In Wakefield, MA (which is part of Middlesex County), the tax stamp rate as of December, 2021 is $2.28 per $500 or $4.56 per $1,000 of your home’s value. This is the standard rate for most of Massachusetts.
A short guide to budgeting for your home sale
Out-of-pocket expenses vary. No matter how much you prepare, there will always be unforeseen costs and hiccups. In general, however, expect to spend at least 9.2% or more of the final sale price on selling costs. This will cover the following:
- Home repairs and updates: If you want to increase your home’s market value and have it stand out among its competition, making sure your property is in great shape is a must.
Total costs, which include contractor fees and home staging, can take up 1.4% of your budget. You can lessen this by doing minimal repairs or selling your home as-is.
- Realtor fees: This will eat up about 5% of the final sales price, if you are planning to go the traditional route which includes listing fees and realtor commission. This is also the average realtor commission in Massachusetts. Half of this goes to the listing agent, while 46% goes to the buyer’s agent.
- Concessions: It might be that you want to throw in a couple of incentives to attract more homebuyers. Some sellers completely shoulder the buyers’ share of closing costs, others offer to pay for the home warranty.
There are also home sellers who go the extra mile and offer both. You may have to devote up to 2% of your budget to concessions alone. Still, it depends on the kinds of incentives you and your buyer agree on.
- Closing costs: Closing costs (realtor fees and concessions aside) for sellers include title insurance and taxes. This can amount to anywhere between 6% to 10% of the final sales price, unless you don’t have much home equity.
The average county tax rate in Middlesex County is 1.230%, higher than the national average. For a Wakefield, MA home with an assessed value of $450,000, the estimated annual property tax is $5,535. You may split this with the buyer unless otherwise agreed.
- Moving costs: Probably the most overlooked expense when selling a home, plenty of home sellers fail to make preparations for them once the property’s sold. That said, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you already have a home waiting for you.
If that isn’t the case, your moving costs depend on where you’re moving and how much needs to be moved. Expect to pay more if you’re covering longer distances or moving across the country.
Sell your Wakefield, MA home with Apex Realty Group
Apex Realty Group is a full-service real estate team that specializes in Wakefield, MA real estate.
When you sell your home with Apex Realty Group, you’ll have an entire team dedicated to see you through your home sale successfully. It’s a collaborative process where some of the best real estate professionals in Wakefield, MA help you sell your home from marketing to pricing, start to finish. Meet the team here.
Start your home selling journey by getting a comparative market analysis from Apex Realty Group today. You can also contact the team at 978.276.3333 or office(at)apexsold(dotted)com to learn more about what Apex Realty Group can do for you.
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