Tips for Selling a Home Remotely
Sometimes, you have to move quickly and sell your home later, often from a distance. It’s challenging enough to sell a home. And being far away makes it even more challenging to prep the home and make sure you have the best local agent. Here are some tips for selling a home remotely.
Avoid taxes by living in the home for at least two out of five years
Have you been renting out your home because you had to move elsewhere? Then consider this: The federal government allows homeowners to sell their home without paying taxes on the first $250,000 in gains for singles or $500,000 for married couples. The catch? The home must have been your primary residence for at least two of the past five years.
Many people don’t realize this requirement, nor do they plan for it, so they end up with a taxable gain. To benefit from this tax break, the sale has to close within the appropriate window, so plan ahead. Otherwise, the home will be taxed as an investment property.
Get a good agent early
The smartest remote sellers have a solid agent with their feet on the street. A good agent is a local resource for their clients. They can field late-night calls from owners with leaky faucets, or intervene with tenant issues.
If you don’t know a good local agent, try to find one before you move away or during a visit back home. Solidify the relationship well before you plan to sell, and do it in person. When it’s time to sell, it could be as easy as picking up the phone and asking the agent to execute the listing.
When selling a home remotely, stay on top of the local market
Put together a search of your property and stay on top of what’s selling in the area. Follow comparable homes that go for sale and keep an eye on their listings.
A smart homeowner will keep a search open at all times, in addition to staying in touch with their real estate agent. Just one or two comparable sales, at the right price, could motivate you to take action.
Be good to your tenants
Moving is incredibly disrupting. If you’ve been renting your home and are likely to sell to someone who will want to live there, as opposed to inheriting your tenant, then give your tenant notice of your intention to sell.
Tell the tenant upfront of your long-term plan and write language into the rental agreement stating that the tenant needs to cooperate for showings at the end of the lease.
If you have a good relationship with your tenant, drop their rent while the home is for sale, in return for their cooperation. It will go a long way towards a solid relationship—and towards helping you make the sale.