In our previous post we covered some general guidelines about selling your home soon after buying it. In this post, we’ll delve into some further details on what factors to consider when you are deciding whether or not to sell your house shortly after purchasing it.
How quickly can you sell a Home?
It’s possible to sell your home at anytime, but a good rule of thumb is to wait at least two years to sell your home after purchasing it. This way you can avoid paying taxes on up to $250,000 worth of profits from the sale of your home (or $500,000 if you’re married).
In the event that you have no choice but to sell, you can be prepared by doing a little math to figure out if you will lose money by selling early. This preparation will reduce stress and help you know what to expect.
The first step is to determine the fair market value of your home. Knowing how much your home is worth will let you know how much you could gain or lose from the sale.
An experienced real estate agent is a big help, as they will be able to look at comps of other houses in the neighborhood and do market research analysis to help determine the best price.
To get an idea of what houses are selling for around you, click here. To get full market analysis on your home contact me.
Next, be sure to subtract your estimated closing costs from the expected sale price of your home. Closing costs can take a significant chunk out of your profits, this is particularly true when you buy and then resell a home quickly. Both buyers and sellers have to pay closing costs, although it’s typically more expensive for sellers. For buyers, the closing costs are usually 2% to 5% of the price of the home. The settlement statement will tell you the total amount you paid for your home, including closing costs. For sellers, closing costs will depend on the following categories:
Then, also subtract the projected costs of preparing the house for sale and the mortgage payoff amount from the projected sale price. Even a relatively newly purchased house may need touch-ups prior to resale. Research done by Zillow suggests that most sellers spend about $6,570 on work done by professionals to prepare their homes for sale.
Cleaning, painting, staging, lawn care and moving costs are all typical expenses for sellers. In terms of mortgage payoff, for homeowners who have owned their homes for less than two years the payoff amount won’t be much different from the amount that was originally financed. Since the earliest payments on a loan go towards interest and not principal, sellers in this position will not have made much progress on paying off the loan principal. Typically, they will not break even from the sale of their homes. The only way to break even or make a profit is if the property has gone up in value since the time it was purchased.
What to expect if you sell a home early
There are several other things to be aware of when deciding to sell a home early. Here are three additional factors to selling a home early.
Capital gains taxes
Homeowners who have lived in their home for at least two years as a primary residence do not have to pay capital gains taxes on the first $250,000 worth of profits from the sale (or the first $500,000 for a married couple). However, if you are selling your home prior to having lived there for two years, you may have to pay capital gains taxes on the profits of your sale. Your income tax bracket and the amount of time you’ve owned the home will determine your capital gains tax rate. There are some cases where you would be exempt from paying capital gains taxes, even if you’ve lived in your home for less than two years, for example, if you were to move due to a natural disaster, death, or unemployment.
Mortgage prepayment penalty
If you sell your home soon after buying it, some lenders will charge a prepayment penalty so they can compensate for the loss of interest payments since you will be paying of your loan so quickly. Different loans have different terms. You may have to pay a percentage of your remaining loan balance, a percentage of the interest you owe, or a flat rate. Many loans do not include prepayment penalties, so it’s not always an issue. In the case of FHA loans, there are never prepayment penalties.
Negative buyer perception
Nowadays buyers can easily look up a home’s listings history on real estate websites. So, if you’re selling your home less than a year after you bought it, potential buyers may wonder if there’s a problem with the home. It’s necessary to make it clear why you are selling early, such as a need to relocate, to avoid lower offers on your home.