Selling a home in New Hampshire
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It’s a great time to sell a house in New Hampshire. In September 2022, the median sale price in the state hit $440,000 — a 10 percent increase in just one year, according to data from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors. Homes don’t sit on the market for too long, either. The typical home went to contract in just 23 days.
While those numbers are promising, selling a home isn’t necessarily easy. You’ll need to consider a lot of factors, including when to list it, who to hire to help with the process and how much you’ll need to spend to get the deal done. Read on for a complete rundown of how to sell a house in New Hampshire.
Are you ready to sell?
Before you start checking off items on your to-do list, think about an important question: Are you actually ready to move? If you’re trying to figure out whether to sell your house now or wait, you’ll want to have a solid plan in place in case everything doesn’t go perfectly. Are you trying to sell your house while buying another? Know what you’ll do if your house gets an offer before you find a new place to call home. Are you thinking about relocating from New Hampshire altogether? Use Bankrate’s cost of living calculator to make sure you’ll be able to live comfortably in the new area you’re considering.
It’s important to recognize that recent shifts in the economy, like efforts to fight inflation and rising mortgage rates, are having a cooling effect on the housing market. In New Hampshire, September homebuying data shows a year-over-year uptick in the number of days that homes are sitting on the market and a decline in pending sales. It’s still a good time to sell, but it’s not quite the raging seller’s market we’ve seen over the last two years.
Preparing to sell
As soon as you feel confident about what’s next for you after you move out, it’s time to get your home ready to impress prospective buyers.
Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?
If you’re contemplating whether you should invest more money in your home before listing it, bear in mind that the return on renovations is rather limited. Expensive projects like remodeling your kitchen or finishing your basement will not recoup their costs in the sale. So, rather than spending a chunk of cash as tall as Mount Washington to get your place ready to sell, you’re better off exploring quick home improvements that won’t cost a fortune.
What should you repair before you sell?
Figuring out what to repair requires looking through the eyes of a would-be buyer. Would the cracked paint in the kitchen make you think less of the property? Probably. Will old windows be a make-or-break factor? Probably not. As you think about what to fix and what not to fix, ask your real estate agent for advice. Agents can offer an expert perspective on what problems will turn buyers off versus which issues won’t disrupt a deal.
Should you pay to stage your home?
You might want to make your home look like it’s ready for prime time by having it professionally staged. How much you’ll pay for home staging depends on whether your home needs just a little bit of attention — decluttering and repositioning the living room, for example — or a lot of love, like outfitting the home with rental furniture. Staging isn’t necessary for everyone, though. If your home is tidy and feels modern, you can probably skip it. Ask your agent whether they think staging will translate to what ultimately matters: your sale price.
When is the best time to sell a house in New Hampshire?
Unlike in many states, where spring and early summer are the best times to sell, recent figures from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors show that the third quarter of the year has been the best time to sell a house in the state. In 2021 and 2022, homes spent an average of 19 days on the market between July and September — the fewest number of days compared with other quarterly reports from the past two years. Limiting the amount of time your listing will sit on the market gets the deal done quicker and reduces the likelihood of having to drop the price to attract buyers.
Find a local New Hampshire real estate agent
While statewide numbers can be helpful, real estate is a hyper-local business. Even in a small state like New Hampshire, average time on market and typical sale prices can look very different from town to town. That’s why you should hire a knowledgeable local real estate agent who understands the trends that are shaping buying and selling activity. You’ll have to pay commissions (typically 3 percent to your agent and 3 percent to the buyer’s) but that cash will likely pay off in a big way. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that agent-assisted sales have historically commanded around $58,000 more than FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listings.
One important consideration: Dual agency is legal in New Hampshire, which means your agent may also represent the buyer. If that’s the case, you’ll need to provide written consent, since it can cause a potential conflict of interest.
Price your home competitively
While New Hampshire is a small state geographically, there is a big difference between price tags in certain parts of the state. For example, the median sale price in Rockingham was just under $550,000 in September, while homes in Coos County were going for $203,750.
Of course, your home is unique. You can use online tools to get a very basic idea of what your house is worth, but the best way to create an informed pricing strategy is looking at comps with your real estate agent — these will show you what nearby houses similar to yours have sold for recently. The good news about pricing in New Hampshire: The typical home sold for slightly above its initial asking price in September.
Documents and disclosures in New Hampshire
Disclosure laws here are fairly limited compared to other states. By law, you are only required to share information about the water supply system, sewage system, insulation and the presence of hazardous materials like radon, arsenic and lead. However, it has become common practice to share more information on the New Hampshire Association of Realtors property disclosure form, which includes additional details about the roof, HVAC system and other areas of the home.
Need to sell your home fast?
Selling a home can take a long time. It might take a month or two after going to contract to actually finish the deal. If you can’t wait, consider these options to sell your house fast.
- Sell it for cash: Compare options from companies that buy houses for cash. These tend to be appropriately named: We Buy Houses, We Buy Ugly Houses and NH Home Buyers, for example. Keep in mind that these are real estate investment companies, so don’t expect to get as much money as you would on the open market. The benefit here is time: They can close quickly without any need to secure financing.
- List it as-is: You could also list your place as-is, which is a way to tell anyone on the buying side that you aren’t going to offer any concessions or spend time with the typical back-and-forth negotiation. If you know the home needs a lot of costly repairs that you can’t afford, this can be a good route.
While you might be dreaming of how much you can make when you sell, don’t forget to ask yourself this question: How much does it cost to sell my house in New Hampshire? Selling a house isn’t free, after all. The biggest chunk of your costs will be for the agent commission fees. On a $450,000 sale, that typically comes out to $27,000 ($13,500 for your agent and $13,500 to the buyer’s agent). Here are some other costs to keep in mind.
Cost of selling a home in New Hampshire
In 2021, the average closing costs in New Hampshire added up to $8,183. While the buyer will cover a lot of those expenses, sellers still have costs to consider.
- Transfer taxes: New Hampshire imposes some hefty transfer taxes to move ownership to the buyer. The state charges $0.75 per every $100 of value to both the buyer and the seller, which can add up quickly. If you sell your property for $450,000, you would owe $3,375 in transfer taxes.
- Title insurance: While sellers in many states cover the cost of a title insurance policy for the new owner, that’s not the case in New Hampshire. Buyers typically shoulder this responsibility, so you’re off the hook with this expense.
- Attorney fees: You may not be legally required to hire an attorney, but with a complicated contract and a large amount of money at stake, you should. Their fee will depend on their rate and the number of hours it takes to complete your transaction.
- Concessions: If the buyer’s home inspection uncovers any issues that will cost them money to fix, they will likely request that you cover a portion of their closing costs. This is a standard part of negotiations. If you agree, the costs will be taken out of your proceeds from the sale.
Take the first step
If you’re ready to sell your home, it’s time to find the right agent to lead you through a successful sale. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, and pay attention to the agents’ names you see on signs around town. If you recognize their name, it’s a sign they’re taking marketing seriously. Arrange interviews with a few different agents, and ask lots of questions to get an idea of how they would approach your listing.
You aren’t required to hire a real estate attorney in New Hampshire, but regardless, it is wise to enlist legal help when you’re dealing with a lot of money and a lot of complex contract language. And even if you don’t hire your own attorney, there will be a real estate attorney involved in the closing. It is typical to close with a title company in New Hampshire, which will have its own attorney to oversee the final step in the sale.
Yes — there is some amount of closing costs for sellers in every state. In addition to paying the real estate agents involved in the transaction (typically around 6 percent of the sale price), sellers in New Hampshire must pay a real estate transfer tax of $0.75 per $100 of value. (The buyer also pays the same amount.) On a $450,000 sale, that would add up to $3,375 in transfer taxes for the seller. Keep in mind there may be other miscellaneous fees you’ll need to pay, and you’ll need to cover any portion of unpaid property taxes as well.
Yes, it’s a great time to sell a house in New Hampshire. While rising mortgage rates are likely to impact buying activity, the state simply does not have enough homes available to meet demand. There were only 2,154 single-family homes for sale at the end of August 2022, which is 10 percent fewer than one year earlier. Plus, median sales prices rose by 10 percent over the past year.