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Orlando might be home to the “happiest place on Earth,” but its current housing market doesn’t look quite as magical as it has over the past two years. Sales have declined as higher mortgage rates scare off prospective buyers.
However, it’s not all bad news for home sellers. According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA), the median home price in February was $358,000, a small bump from January’s $350,000 median and a bigger year-over-year bump from February 2022. And while inventory has increased dramatically, there still aren’t enough homes available to meet demand — a result of the many people around the country who are looking to move to Florida. The Orlando metro area is very much in demand: In fact, nearby Kissimmee landed on Bankrate’s list of the best places to live in Florida. Read on for everything you need to know to sell your Orlando home.
How fast can you typically sell your house in Orlando?
Sellers in Orlando are looking at a much longer transaction timeline these days. In February, the typical home sat on the market for 62 days — quite an uptick from the 30-day average from just one year earlier. And once a home is in contract, the sometimes-lengthy closing process begins.
Why has the area’s days-on-market figure increased so much? There are two main reasons: higher mortgage rates and a higher number of homes available for sale. ORRA data shows that inventory in Orlando increased by 140 percent in the past year. But there are ways for sellers to speed up the process.
Need to sell faster?
If a months-long timeline puts dark clouds over your plans to sell in the Sunshine State, consider these approaches to sell your home faster. Keep in mind, though, that selling to iBuyers and homebuying companies typically will not net as much cash as a traditional sale.
- Find an iBuyer: The business of iBuying has slowed significantly in many parts of the country, but it’s still alive and well in Orlando. Offerpad and Opendoor are still snapping up properties in the area, which means you might be able to get an offer in 24 hours or less.
- Sell for cash: One of the best ways to accelerate a sale is to cut out the need to secure financing from a lender. With that in mind, you can look for buyers who don’t need to take out a mortgage. Many investors and companies buy houses for cash in Orlando, including We Buy Houses and YellowBird Home Buyers.
- Work with an agent: Hiring a real estate agent can also lead to a quick sale — just make it clear that your number-one priority is getting a deal done as fast as possible. Be sure to ask agents you interview what strategies they’d use to get immediate offers. It will likely involve setting a below-market price, but time is money: You trade the possibility of a higher price for a speedy timeline.
Selling your Orlando home
If you decide that you’re willing to wait for the right buyer, you’ll need to get your property ready to impress anyone who walks in the door. Be sure to consider these crucial questions when selling your Orlando home:
- Do you want to work with a real estate agent? There is no law that requires you to hire an agent to sell your house. Technically, you could do it on your own. However, an agent’s services are usually well worth it. A lot of work goes into a successful sale, and data from the National Association of Realtors shows that agent-assisted transactions tend to bring in $105,000 more than homes sold without agents. Plus, real estate agents are experts who can help you answer the rest of these questions on this list.
- What should you fix? If you were the buyer, would you be turned off by any issues in your home? For example, is the paint chipping in the living room, or does the shower drip constantly? Your agent can help you decide what’s worth fixing.
- What should you upgrade? The answer here is simple: probably nothing. Even the best home improvement projects tend not to recoup their cost at resale, so think twice before calling a contractor to rip up your kitchen or finish your basement.
- Should you pay to stage your home? The cost of staging your home varies depending on how much “help” it needs. If the property is cluttered and messy — or if you’ve already moved out and it’s completely empty — staging can play a critical role in increasing its appeal. Buyers need to feel like it’s somewhere they want to live, and a professional home stager can work wonders toward that goal.
- How much should you ask? This may be the most pressing question on your mind: How much is your house worth? There are easy and free online tools to help determine your property value, but those algorithms don’t know everything. Your agent will walk you through comps in the neighborhood to see how your property stacks up against similar homes. This exercise can help set a realistic price tag based on what other buyers have been willing to pay. Make sure the comps are recent, as the skyrocketing valuations of the past two years have calmed down. Orlando median prices increased by just 4.5 percent between January 2022 and January 2023, per ORRA — a significantly slower pace than the 21-percent increase from the previous year.
- What do you need to disclose to a buyer? Anyone selling a home in Florida needs to inform the buyer about any issues that could impact the property value. While you can technically do this verbally, it’s smart to ask your real estate agent for a seller’s disclosure form so you have a record of it.
How much it costs to sell a home in Orlando
If you’re dreaming of all the money that will land in your bank account on closing day, here’s a wake-up call: Selling a home isn’t cheap. Here’s a rundown of some common seller’s closing costs, based on a $350,000 sale:
- Realtor fees: As the seller, you’re responsible for paying the commission fees for both your agent and the buyer’s agent. For a standard commission of 5 to 6 percent, that comes out to somewhere between $17,500 and $21,000.
- Documentary stamp taxes: There isn’t a law that dictates which party pays Florida’s documentary stamp tax (commonly called a transfer tax in other states). However, in Orlando this fee is $0.70 for every $100 of value, which works out to $2,450.
- Title insurance: It’s common for the seller to pay for the premium on a new title insurance policy in Orange County. The cost of title insurance in Florida is a tiered system that starts at $5.75 for every $1,000 of value. On a $350,000 property, a new policy is $1,825.
- Attorney fees: While you aren’t required to hire a lawyer to sell a house in Florida, a real estate attorney is a smart investment to make sure you’re protected in the transaction. The fee here will vary based on their rate and the number of hours they spend on your contract.
- Outstanding taxes and HOA fees: Depending on when you sell, you may need to settle up your portion of any unpaid property taxes or fees on the property. And depending on how long you lived there and whether or not it was your primary residence, there may be other taxes involved as well.
There will likely be other miscellaneous fees to consider, too, so be sure to ask your agent or your attorney for a complete itemized list of your expenses. And remember, nearly everything is negotiable in real estate: It may be possible to have the buyer share some of the costs.
Should I sell my house fast?
If you have to move quickly due to a job change or other major life event, or if you simply need the cash ASAP, selling your house fast can be a smart decision. However, if time is on your side, patience can prove to be very profitable. You could work with an agent to be prepared to list your home in early summer — a timeframe that was much kinder to sellers in Orlando last year. In May, June and July of 2022, homes spent just 20 or 21 days on the market here.
The housing market in Orlando is balancing out, and buyers are getting more bargaining power. But, while your property might not spark a bidding war, it’s technically still a good time to be a seller. Orlando Regional Realtor Association data shows a 2.5-month housing supply, which is far short of the 5 or 6 months usually needed for a balanced market, so demand still outweighs supply.
Not exactly. In February, the median price for a home in Orlando was $358,000, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. That’s $8,000 more than January’s median, and $13,000 more than a year ago. However, prices have been falling in the short term. Before February, prices had dropped for three months in a row.
Homes are spending an average of 62 days on the market in Orlando right now. If you want to sell faster, though, you have options: There are many homebuying companies operating in the area that can get you to closing much faster, and the two biggest iBuyers, Opendoor and Offerpad, both buy homes in Orlando.