Selling a house in Tucson
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If you’re thinking about selling your house in Tucson right now, there’s some good news and some bad news to consider. First, the good news: Home prices have soared as high as the Santa Catalina Mountains. The median price tag for a single-family home in Tucson hit $380,000 in October of 2022 — a 12.7 percent year-over-year increase.
Now, for the bad news: You’re going to have a harder time cashing in on that value. Mortgage rates have more than doubled since the beginning of 2022, and a de-accelerating real estate market is forcing more sellers to drop their prices as buyers rethink their plans.
Before you list your home, read on for everything you need to know about the current housing market in Tucson.
Things to consider when selling your house in Tucson
What kind of shape is your home in?
Before you put your property up for sale, ask yourself a question: If you were a buyer, what would you honestly think about its condition? Are there some cosmetic issues — chipping paint or cracked floorboards, for example — that make it look weathered? You’ll want to think about what’s worth fixing, and you’ll also want to be mindful of the fact that most home improvements won’t actually recoup their costs at sale. So, don’t bother finishing the basement or renovating the kitchen in the hopes of getting a buyer to spend way more. Instead, think about these cheap and easy ways to increase your property value.
How fast do you need to sell?
If you’re in a rush to sell your home, the current market isn’t looking as promising. Homes in Tucson are spending an average of 30 days on the market — a nearly two-week increase versus the same time last year. As buyers take longer to commit to an offer, you might want to investigate options for selling your home for cash, which can eliminate a lot of the waiting game to secure financing.
While iBuying activity is slowing down around the country – RedfinNow recently shuttered its operation – Opendoor and Offerpad are both still actively purchasing properties in Tucson. While you probably won’t make as much money from an iBuyer, you will be able to get a deal done on an accelerated timeline.
What’s the market like in your specific area?
Real estate is a hyper-local industry, so the overall sales activity in the entire Tucson metro area is less important than the sales activity in your neighborhood or even on your block. Sales prices for single-family properties in the Catalina Foothills are going to look much different than prices for condos in El Presidio. As you gear up to list your home, it’s important to look at comps of recently-sold homes nearby to understand what other buyers have been willing to pay in the current environment.
How much will all this cost?
Selling a home isn’t all about the profits you’ll enjoy seeing in your bank account. It takes money to make money when you’re selling a house in Tucson, so go into the listing phase with knowledge about how much it costs to sell a house.
- Realtor fees: This represents the biggest chunk of cash that eats into your profit potential. You’ll be responsible for paying your agent’s 3 percent commission fee (unless you can negotiate a lower fee) and the buyer’s agent’s 3 percent fee.
- Transfer taxes: When you’re selling a home in Arizona, there’s one piece of especially good news for your bottom line: The state doesn’t charge any real estate transfer taxes.
- Title insurance: As a seller, you’re usually responsible for covering the cost of a new title insurance policy for the buyer and the policy for the lender. On a $500,000 sale, that comes out to $1,840 for the buyer’s policy and $315 for the lender’s policy.
- Unpaid property taxes: If you have any outstanding property tax obligations, you’ll need to pay those at closing.
- Attorney fees: If you hire a real estate attorney (which you definitely should), you’ll pay his or her fees at closing. The rate varies, but it’s some of the smartest money you can spend to make sure the contract is negotiated by a professional.
- Concessions: If a buyer’s home inspection uncovers any damages that need to be repaired, you’ll likely get a request for concessions. If you agree to them, you’ll pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs.
Preparing your home for sale in Tucson
Now, it’s time to think about what will turn a buyer’s head as soon as they see your listing online or come to an open house for an in-person visit. Hiring a professional home stager might be a valuable investment. Consider it similar to hiring a personal stylist to get you ready for a red carpet event; the right approach to staging can make a house feel like a home as soon as someone sees it. The cost for home staging varies, depending on whether you need small assistance with decluttering and reorganizing or major help such as furniture rentals to fill an empty space.
You’ll also need to complete the Arizona residential seller disclosure advisory form, which includes knowledge of any defects or problems with the home. Nondisclosure can be synonymous with fraud and grounds for a civil lawsuit, so be honest about everything. Additionally, if your home is part of a homeowners association, you’ll want to request documentation about the association’s bylaws and past meeting minutes of the board proactively. Any buyer will ask to review this information before proceeding with a purchase agreement.
Selling your house with or without a Realtor
You might be debating whether it’s worth it to hire a real estate agent. You’ll need to pay a standard 3 percent commission fee to your agent, which comes out to $11,400 on a median-priced Tucson home. That might sound like a lot of cash, but here’s the thing: The right real estate agent will easily pay for that fee. The most recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows that owners who took the do-it-yourself approach to selling their homes typically received $225,000 while agent-assisted sales fetched an average of $330,000.
In addition to a potential $105,000 difference, agents are especially helpful in challenging situations. For example, if you’re trying to sell your house while buying another, a good real estate agent can help you negotiate a free rent-back period to buy some more time to find a new place and move out.
Pricing your home to sell
You can take some initial steps to estimate what your house is worth, but your real estate agent will help you find the sweet spot when it comes to setting your asking price. As the market has shifted, Redfin data shows that an increasing number of sellers in Tucson are being forced to drop their asking prices. As you approach the winter – historically a slower season for home sales in Tucson anyway – you’ll want to think about a pricing strategy that can motivate hesitant buyers to get off the sidelines and come to your open house. Price it too high, and you run the risk of letting the listing hibernate until buying activity picks up speed ahead.
Getting to closing day
Getting an offer doesn’t mean closing a deal. In fact, Redfin recently reported that nearly 18 percent of home purchase agreements fell through in October. So, once you go to contract on your house in Tucson, it’s important to be responsive to requests from the buyer’s agent and the buyer’s attorney. With buyers worried about high borrowing costs and headlines about economic uncertainty, you should be prepared to do what it takes to get the deal across the finish line. How much are you willing to agree to in terms of concessions? Will you consider dropping the price if a buyer wants to back out of the contract? Go into the process with a clear strategy that will keep the closing on track.
As your team is negotiating the final details, you should be focused on getting the place ready for the buyer. Schedule movers, and clean it up in advance of the buyer’s final walk-through to avoid any last-minute issues. Additionally, if any information that you completed in the seller’s disclosure has changed in the lead-up to closing day, you need to inform the buyer.
You won’t need to do anything at the closing if you hired a lawyer. They can attend on your behalf to make sure the funds are transferred and the purchase agreement is official. Then, the net proceeds are yours. Congrats, and enjoy your new home — whether it’s in a new neighborhood in the Old Pueblo or a new city a world away from Tucson.