If you own a home in Idaho, you have likely gotten a lot richer over the past two years — on paper, at least. According to data from Windermere Real Estate, the average home price in Idaho was $459,372 in the third quarter of 2020. By 2022, that figure had climbed to $625,275. As more people arrived, chasing a low cost of living and a high quality of life, it’s been a great time to sell a house in Idaho.

It’s a big state, though, and selling a condo in Boise or a ski house in Sun Valley is going to look a lot different than selling a rustic cabin just south of the Canadian border. Read on for a complete rundown of what to do before you list your Idaho home, who to hire to help you sell it and how to develop a pricing strategy to maximize your profit potential.

Are you ready to sell?

Should you sell your house now or wait? That’s the big question that so many homeowners are trying to answer right now as high mortgage rates slow down the housing market. There are a few key considerations to help you determine whether now is your time. First, if you think you’re going to be able to sell your house for more money by holding off, think again. Average home prices actually declined between the second quarter and third quarter of 2022, according to figures from Windermere. Second, consider what’s next for your family. If you’re trying to sell your house while buying another, make sure you’re accounting for how higher borrowing costs will impact your budget. And finally, if you’re thinking about leaving Idaho in the rearview, compare the cost of living in your new potential home to see how far your dollars will go.

Preparing to sell

If it feels like the right time to put your property up for sale, here are three key questions to consider before you create your listing.

1. Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?

Major projects like remodeling your kitchen or finishing your basement take a long time, and even when the work is complete, you’re not likely to actually recoup all the costs when you sell. Instead of investing a huge chunk of cash and hiring a contractor, think about some of the cheap and easy ways to increase your property value. It’s also smart to ask a real estate agent for advice on what buyers have been looking for recently.

2. What should you repair before you sell your home?

After shelling out the cash to buy your home, a buyer probably won’t want to immediately spend more money to deal with damage or wear and tear. Obvious, visible issues like chipping paint, leaky faucets or cracked tiles are worth addressing before you begin showing your home. However, it’s equally important to have a solid understanding of what not to fix.

3. Should you stage your home?

If your home is especially cluttered with stacks of books, crowded countertops and furniture you simply can’t get rid of, it might be wise to pay for a professional home staging service. A home stager acts as an expert set of unbiased eyes, rearranging the layout to make it look more livable. Staging is also a great option if your home is on the other end of the design spectrum: If you’ve moved out and the space is empty, staging can include furniture rentals to make it feel more inviting to prospective buyers.

When is the best time to sell a house in Idaho?

Idaho is a large state, with big differences between regions, so pinpointing the perfect time to list is tough. The hot selling season in ski country might be different than in Boise or in a more agricultural area, for example.

Traditionally, the best time to sell a house is in the spring and early summer months. But realistically, the best time to sell is whenever the listing is likely to sell fastest, spending the fewest days on the market. Be sure to consult with a real estate agent who knows your local market well.

Find a local Idaho real estate agent

With such a wide difference in selling times across the state, finding the right real estate agent is a key to your success in Idaho. Realtors do this for a living, so they have a finger on the pulse of local buying activity from week to week and month to month.

You may be tempted to try to sell your house without an agent, to avoid paying their commission fee. But data from the National Association of Realtors shows that the For Sale By Owner route will cost you: In 2021, agent-assisted sales sold for around $100,000 more than the average FSBO sale.

One thing to keep in mind: Limited dual agency is permitted in Idaho, so your agent may ask for consent to let an agent from their same brokerage represent the buyer in a deal. It’s up to you whether to agree to the arrangement, and it’s important to note that there are pros to the situation — most importantly, the potential for a quicker deal. But there’s also the obvious con of a potential conflict of interest.

Price your home competitively

How much is your house worth? There are plenty of simple online tools to estimate home value, but your agent will be a much better resource than an algorithm. Agents review comps of similar homes that have recently sold to understand what the market looks like, and often prepare detailed comparative market analyses as well.

While two years of headlines about rising home values might make you assume you’ll be getting a record-setting price tag for your property, slow down. The housing market is currently cooling off. In fact, the average home price in Idaho declined by about 3 percent between the second quarter and third quarter of 2022. With that in mind, it’s important to set an asking price that feels realistic based on the fact that more buyers are sitting on the sidelines. Redfin data shows that sellers in Boise have already been dealing with this issue: The number of homes that sold for over list price has dropped by 12.6 percent year-over-year.

Documents and disclosures in Idaho

State law requires home sellers in Idaho to complete a property disclosure form, outlining your knowledge of any issues, problems or areas of concern. It’s a fairly simple form, and you should complete it with one simple rule: If you were buying the house, what would you want to know?

Additionally, if your property is part of a homeowners association, you should proactively request documents about the association’s financial health and a copy of the bylaws. Any buyer will need to review these documents, too.

Need to sell your home fast?

If you’re in a rush to sell, the current market might not work in your favor. To accelerate the path to closing, consider these ways to sell a house faster.

  • Find a cash buyer: One reason it takes so long for most real estate deals to close is waiting on loan underwriting and mortgage approval. Skip the holdups associated with financing by finding a cash buyer or exploring some of the companies that buy homes for cash.
  • List as-is: An as-is listing can help cut some of the time involved in a home sale by letting a buyer know upfront that what they see is what they get. The as-is label functions as a simple disclaimer: You’re not going to negotiate about making repairs.

The closing

As you gear up for closing day, it’s important to understand how much it costs to sell a house. One piece of good news for Idaho sellers: The state does not charge real estate transfer taxes — a unique selling point for real estate here. However, sellers do need to budget for a big line item: Realtor fees. Typical commissions add up to around 6 percent of the purchase price. So, if you sell your home for $600,000, you’ll pay $24,000: $12,000 to your agent and $12,000 to the buyer’s agent.

There are a few additional costs to consider, too:

Cost of selling a home in Idaho

  • Title insurance: There is no set standard on whether the buyer or seller pays for the new owner’s title insurance policy. Since it’s still a seller’s market in Idaho, you may be able to avoid this expense and put it on the buyer’s to-pay list.
  • Recording fees: This municipal administrative fee varies based on the number of pages in the deed.
  • Attorney fees: If you hired a real estate attorney, you’ll need to pay for his or her time. This expense varies based on their hourly rate and the time your deal requires — but it’s some of the smartest money you can spend, given the large amount of money and complex contract language involved.
  • Concessions: If the buyer identifies any problems with the property during their home inspection, you’ll likely receive a request for a concession. For example, if your furnace is on its last gasp, be prepared to offer a credit, which means you’ll pay part of their closing costs to cover the repair.

Take the first step

Ready to move forward with your plans to move on from your current home? Set up interviews with a few real estate agents who regularly work in your town, and ask them plenty of questions to get a sense of their experience, their client network and their approach to maximizing your profit. Happy hunting!