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If you’re thinking about selling your house in Connecticut, the current market puts you in a good position. There are not enough homes available for sale in the state to keep up with the buying demand — a recipe for selling success. Berkshire Hathaway New England data from the second quarter of 2022 shows that properties are typically selling for more than 3 percent above their list price, and it’s not taking long, either. In Hartford, for example, the median days on market during that time frame was just five.
However, selling isn’t all smiles. In Connecticut, there are plenty of seller costs to consider, and you’ll want to make sure your property is in pristine shape to immediately impress buyers. Read on for everything you need to know about when to list, who to hire and how to price a home for sale in Connecticut.
Are you ready to sell?
Over-asking-price offers in Connecticut might make you wonder whether you should wait a bit longer to sell your house. What if the value goes up even higher and you can score a bigger payday? That may be tempting, but it’s important to recognize that broader economic conditions aren’t going to do sellers many favors. Mortgage rates are rising, and housing inventory is slowly increasing — two factors that make it feel less like a seller’s market.
However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to sell before conditions worsen. First, you need to have a solid plan in place for your next move. If you’re trying to sell your house while buying another, what will you do if your sale takes longer than expected? Are you willing to temporarily put your belongings in storage? And if you’re planning to relocate to a new state, make sure you use Bankrate’s cost of living calculator to estimate what your expenses will look like in a different part of the country.
Preparing to sell
If you’re ready to move on, it’s time to get your house in love-at-first-sight mode for prospective buyers. Here are three questions to consider:
1. Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?
Probably not. Major upgrades require two key ingredients: time and money. You could easily wind up waiting months for a big project, like a kitchen or bathroom renovation, to be finished, and by the time it’s done, the market might not be as friendly to sellers. Plus, most home improvements don’t actually recoup all their costs at resale. Instead of pondering a big, expensive upgrade, think about cheap and easy ways to boost your property value.
2. What should you repair before you sell?
While buyers might not be willing to hand over a load of extra money for a brand new kitchen, they also don’t want to inherit that broken garbage disposal. Look around your house for the issues that might turn you off if you were thinking about buying it. You don’t have to go crazy with repairs, though; many smaller problems are not worth fixing before listing.
3. Should you stage your home?
If your house is filled with the clutter of calling it home for the past decade — or if it’s completely empty because you already moved out — staging can help bring the property to life for prospective buyers. How much it costs to stage your home will vary based on the level of attention it needs, but the investment can pay off in a big way. Staged homes sold for an average of $40,000 above listing price in 2021, according to research from the Real Estate Staging Association.
When is the best time to sell a house in Connecticut?
Historically, the best time to sell a house here has been sometime between May and July. That’s when more buyers are active on the market, meaning that competition heats up and the number of days on market shrinks. In Connecticut, Redfin data supports the late spring/early summer timeline as the optimal listing time: That’s when the highest number of properties have sold for more than their initial asking price in the past two years.
Find a local Connecticut real estate agent
Having the right real estate agent on your side can mean the difference between selling quickly, for top dollar, and wondering why you aren’t getting any offers. Realtors have the knowledge to help you determine when to list (down to the specific day of the week), how to draw a big crowd to your open house and what motivates buyers to submit big offers. While you’ll have to pay for their expertise — typically 3 percent to your agent and 3 percent to the buyer’s — it’s a smart expense to include in your budget. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listings typically sell for much less than agent-assisted sales.
If you’re really concerned about paying the full 3 percent, consider trying to negotiate for a lower commission rate. Particularly with a high-end home that will likely sell for a lot of cash, plenty of agents will be willing to forfeit a small amount — 0.5 percent, for example — for the chance to work with you.
Price your home competitively
As you think about the right asking price to attract buyers, there are plenty of online tools to help you figure out what your house is worth. However, algorithms aren’t perfect — they don’t know about the new patio you built last year, for example — and tax assessment valuations tend to be woefully lower than fair market value. With that in mind, it’s important to look at comps of similar properties that have recently closed to know what buyers have been willing to pay. Your agent will walk you through a comparative market analysis, and it’s important to pay close attention to the sales from the past 30 days. The market is changing quickly these days, so you want to base your pricing strategy on the very recent past whenever possible.
Documents and disclosures in Connecticut
In Connecticut, home sellers are required to complete the state’s property disclosure form to share their knowledge of any problems and defects with the buyer. If you don’t complete the form, you’ll need to pay $500 to the buyer at closing. (There could be liability issues here, so if you don’t intend to complete it, it’s smart to consult a lawyer.) If your property is part of a homeowners association, be prepared to hand over documents about the health of the association’s reserves, bylaws and any upcoming special assessments.
Need to sell your home fast?
While homes have already been going into contract very quickly in Connecticut, you do have options to speed things along even more.
- Sell it for cash: There are quite a few companies that buy houses for cash, eyeing them as real estate investment opportunities for long-term rentals or fix-and-flip projects. So, rather than dealing with the hassle of repairs, staging and showings, you might be able to simply sell directly to one of these businesses. However, it’s important to note that the price you get will likely be less than you’d find from an individual buyer.
- List it as-is: When you list your home as-is, you’re letting buyers know that you aren’t going to honor any requests for repairs or concessions. By declaring “what you see is what you get,” you can eliminate the back-and-forth negotiations that can slow down a sale.
Finally, you’re almost ready to hand the keys over to the buyer. There are just two things left to do: Move out, keeping the place in great shape for the buyer’s final walk-through, and budget for all the costs of selling a house.
Cost of selling a home in Connecticut
The biggest line item in your budget will likely be covering the real estate agents’ commissions, both for your agent and the buyer’s. Unless you’ve negotiated a lower rate, you’ll pay around 3 percent of the sale price to each. So, if you sell your home for $500,000, you can wipe $30,000 of profit off the top. Then, it’s time to add up the other costs of selling a home in Connecticut.
- Conveyance taxes: Sellers are responsible for covering conveyance taxes — commonly referred to as transfer taxes in many other states — in Connecticut. These range from 1 to 2.75 percent of the purchase price here, which includes both a state tax and a local municipality tax. Properties that go for less than $800,000 are subject to the lowest state tax.
- Unpaid property taxes: Depending on the time of year, you may need to cover a portion of your unpaid property taxes.
- Title insurance: While sellers often pay for the title insurance policy in other states, that tends not to be the case in Connecticut. If the buyer does request for you to cover this cost, try negotiating — you already have to carry a large financial burden with the conveyance taxes.
- Attorney fees: If you’ve hired a real estate attorney, which you should when there’s this much money on the line, you’ll need to pay your attorney’s fees. These will vary based on their rate and the number of hours they spend on your deal. It’s safe to budget for at least $1,000 for this cost.
- Concessions: If the buyer’s home inspection uncovers any problems with the home, be prepared for a request for some concessions to help cover a portion of the repair costs. You don’t have to agree, but this is a normal part of the process.
- Miscellaneous fees: Be prepared to deal with some additional expenses when you sell, such as recording fees and administration fees. These are typically small costs for dealing with printing and sending documents and settling the transaction.
Take the first step
Ready to move forward with moving out of your house in Connecticut? It’s time to find a great real estate agent to steer you through the selling process. Set up interviews with at least three different agents, and ask them plenty of questions about their experience and their approach to navigating the current market. With the right agent at your side, you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale.
Yes. Sellers in Connecticut are subject to conveyance taxes (often referred to as transfer taxes) that can add up quickly, depending on the sale price and the location of your home. The rate ranges from 1 to 2.75 percent of the purchase price. For example, if you sell a home in Torrington for less than $800,000, you’ll pay a 0.75 percent tax to the state and a 0.25 percent tax to the municipality. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you sell a luxury property in Bridgeport for more than $2.5 million, you’ll pay a state tax of 2.25 percent, plus a 0.5 percent tax to the local government.
Yes, home sellers incur at least some closing costs in every state. In Connecticut, sellers are typically responsible for paying real estate commissions (usually around 6 percent of the purchase price in total) and a conveyance tax that ranges between 1 and 2.75 percent of the purchase price. There may be other expenses that fall on the seller’s shoulders too, such as recording or administration fees and settling any unpaid property taxes.
Connecticut law requires that a licensed attorney must conduct all real estate closings. Often, the closing attorney is there on behalf of the lender. However, it’s wise to hire your own representation as soon as you decide to sell your home. Professional legal advice can be crucial when complicated contract language and high dollar amounts are in play.