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The hottest ticket in Las Vegas for the past few years has been homeownership. The pandemic motivated loads of people to relocate, and plenty of them have landed in Clark County looking for low-cost living in the southwest sun. However, the market is cooling off fairly quickly, with median prices for single-family homes falling from $525,000 in May to $475,000 in October, according to numbers from Las Vegas Realtors. Before you list your property, read on for everything you need to know about how to sell a house in Las Vegas.
Sell a house fast in Las Vegas
Historically, the best time to sell a house quickly in Las Vegas has been late spring/early summer. Over the past few years, buyers were hungry to buy in March, April, May and June, and homes spent a limited number of days on the market then, per Redfin data. It’s tough to predict what spring and summer of 2023 will look like, though. The changing market has already spelled trouble for sellers on a tight timeline: The median number of days on the market was 20 in August of 2021; a year later, the figure jumped to 34. In real estate, that two week span can spell the difference between getting your asking price and needing to drop the price to catch a buyer’s attention.
If you have to sell your house tomorrow (literally), iBuying can be a good option here. Offerpad and Opendoor, the two biggest names, are both buying properties in Las Vegas right now. While iBuyers typically send you instant offers, there are plenty of other companies that buy houses for cash. Though they might take slightly longer, these real estate investment firms are very active in the Vegas area. In fact, house flippers purchased more than 3,000 homes in the area in the second quarter of 2021 alone.
Things to consider when selling your Las Vegas house
Before you list your home, be sure to think about these key questions regarding your needs and expectations from the sale.
What kind of shape is your home in?
If your home has a mile-long list of repairs, you might think about listing it as-is to inform prospective buyers that those fixes will be on their dime. However, if your property is in good condition, consider some of the cheap and easy ways to boost your home’s value.
Nevada state law also requires you to complete a property disclosure form with your full knowledge of any defects that adversely affect the value of or the ability to use the home.
How quickly do you need to sell?
If you’re trying to sell your house while buying another, it’s important to understand how the timeline to sell your Vegas house stacks up against the place where you’re moving. You could wind up finding a dream home but needing to wait to get an offer on your old one, or you might sell your home but struggle to find a new place that feels like a good fit. No matter what your plans are, it’s important to consider the full timeline of the transaction, and have a backup plan if things don’t go perfectly (which they rarely do).
What’s the market like in your specific area?
While you can study statistics from the entire Vegas metro area, real estate is a hyper-localized industry. So, rather than focusing on a big-picture view of the full market, think about what’s happening within a mile or so of your home. For example, according to Redfin data, when the median sale price was $665,000 in Summerlin in August, it was only $460,000 in Henderson.
How much will all this cost?
While the goal of selling a house is making money, you’ll also need to consider how much money it costs. From paying the real estate agents involved to potentially covering a portion of the buyer’s closing costs, there are a wide range of expenses that can cut into your bottom-line earning potential:
- Realtor fees: This represents the biggest chunk of cash that eats into your profit potential. As the seller, you are responsible for paying both your agent’s commission and the buyer’s agent’s. Commission fees typically run around 3 percent of the sale price to each (unless you can negotiate them lower).
- Transfer taxes: Clark County, where Vegas is located, charges a higher rate for transfer taxes than other places around Nevada. Here, there is a $2.55 tax for every $500 of value. So, if you sell your home for $500,000, the transfer taxes add up to $2,550. However, you can likely negotiate to split this fee with the buyer.
- Title insurance: Sellers typically pay for the owner’s title insurance policy here, although this too can be up for negotiation. For reference, title insurance on a $500,000 property would be around $1,760.
- Unpaid property taxes: If you have any outstanding property taxes, you’ll need to pay the government before you can close the transaction.
- Attorney fees: While you don’t have to hire a real estate attorney in Las Vegas, it’s a smart investment. Selling a house involves lengthy contracts, large sums of money and potential liabilities, so a lawyer can make sure you’re protected in the deal.
- Concessions: As buyers regain some bargaining power in the shifting market, don’t be surprised if you receive a request to cover a portion of their closing costs based on what they find in a home inspection. It’s up to you whether to agree, but saying yes will slice into your earnings.
Preparing your home for sale
There is one investment you might want to make before you even list your house: Hiring a professional staging company. The cost of staging a home varies based on whether it needs a little bit of help — decluttering and organizing, for example — or major help, such as renting furniture to outfit a few rooms. However, the money can pay off in a big way. Real estate is all about first impressions, and staging can do exactly what you need it to do: Make a buyer fall in love with the place as soon as they walk in.
Additionally, consider shelling out a few hundred bucks for a pre-listing inspection. This will identify any big problems with the home so that you can address them in advance. By fixing issues early, you can avoid the possibility of them derailing the deal later.
Pricing your home to sell
Now, it’s time for the most important question of the home-selling journey: How much should you charge for your place? There are plenty of ways to estimate what your house is worth, but these often don’t give you a complete picture. Instead, it’s better to review comps of similar properties in your neighborhood that have sold recently. With an understanding of how much buyers have been willing to pay in recent months, you can have a good starting point for your asking price. Just remember that the market is changing quickly. As home prices fall in Las Vegas, you may not be able to be as aggressive in your pricing.
Finding a Realtor
Can you sell your house on your own? Sure. It’s tempting to take the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) route to save on Realtor fees. But before you put a sign in your yard, be warned: Get ready for a ton of work. Selling a home isn’t easy, and the confusing market means you’ll have even more work cut out for you. You’ll need to craft a compelling listing, take top-notch photos, advertise and market the home, coordinate showings, negotiate on the price and more. Then, once you get an offer, you’ll have even more work to do as you negotiate with the buyer’s agent and prepare lengthy paperwork for the closing. Plus, you’ll still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s 3 percent commission.
Does that sound like too much? You’re better off finding a local real estate agent. Realtors do this all day, every day, and they’re in tune with the ins and outs of the local market. Set up interviews with a few different candidates, and ask them these questions to determine who will develop the best strategy for your sale.
After you accept an offer, stay focused on fast communication with your attorney and your agent. The buyer’s attorney and agent will likely be making contract revisions and requesting additional information, so you need to make sure you are answering emails and phone calls without any delay. Your disclosure requirements continue now, too. If new defects are discovered or an existing defect gets worse, you need to inform the buyer. And as the end gets closer, make sure the home is ready for your buyer’s final walk-through. When the big day finally arrives, you’ll sign a mountain of paperwork at the closing table. Then, the buyer gets the keys, you get the money, and the rest of your future lies ahead.