Buying and Selling Real Estate
Home Buying Tips
- Define your goals and options: Reason for purchase, financial situation, property requirements, specific features, location – make a list
- Contact a Realtor® to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes
- If you decide to finance a home – Get a pre-approval for a loan from the lender
- Search and view homes (e.g. internet or ask your Real Estate Professional). Pre-view listings on the Internet and schedule showing appointments with your Realtor®. Pictures are often different from the reality in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. Decide what are MUST-HAVES and LIKE-TO-HAVES.
- If you found the ONE dream home– make an Offer. Your Realtor® will present it to the Seller or Seller’s representative. In general, the Seller can accept, reject or counter your offer. There could be a negotiation process involved. Deposit a down payment to show that you are a motivated buyer (Escrow: Funds held by a neutral third party until certain conditions of a contract are met).
- If everything is accepted, the contract is signed and the agreement is pending –, secure the financing and finalize your mortgage details with your lender. It is crucial to follow the timeline.
- You have the right to inspect the property before the closing date. Always use a professional home inspector to get a proper evaluation and to avoid costly repairs afterwards.
- Make a walk-through (with your Realtor®) before the closing date to be sure that everything is in the same condition as when the sale agreement was signed and, if repairs were negotiated with the Seller, it was taken care of.
- The Title Insurance guarantees the accuracy of the title search and protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title (cloud on title).
- The Closing date is the final procedure in which documents are signed and recorded (settlement statement, property deed, copies of all related documentations, keys), and the property is transferred to the new Owner.
Home Selling tips
- You decide to sell your home - make sure to take advantage of the knowledge, experience and professionalism of a Realtor®.
- Prepare your home to attract buyers. The first impression is crucial. Think about renovations, small touch-ups, upgrades and repairs, smart improvements, de-cluttering your house, clean it inside and outside (lawn and garden, trim hedges, clear garage if necessary etc.).
- Do not overprice your property. It could result in e. g. fewer showings and fewer serious offers, the house could sit on the market for a longer period of time.
- Your Realtor® will help you to evaluate the market value of your home (CMA-Comperative Market Analysis) and to price it strategically and fair based on datas and market knowledge.
- Keep your home available for showings
- Ask your Realtor® to go over the entire process step-by-step to be sure you are prepared and can respond quickly.
- When getting an offer from a prospective Buyer closely review the details with your Realtor® and ask questions. You can accept, counter or reject the offer.
- Understand buyers priorities and be patient
- Disclosed all known defects
Capital Gain Tax
In general, capital gains resulting from Real Estate transactions are subject to income tax in the USA.
Exceptions are: Capital gain not more than $ 250.000 for singles and $ 500.000 for married couples if they used the sold property as primary residence for at least 2 years.
Foreign customers have to be aware of certain Capital Gain Tax regulations.
Non-US-residents/citizens have to be in the United States for 730 days within the past 5 years to fulfill the exemption clause. Therefor and under the right circumstances, Sellers can achieve a considerable tax free financial gain. In general, Non-residents who sell a Real Estate property, must withhold 10% of their selling price and transfer the amount to the IRS. Is the price under $ 300.000 and the Buyer confirms that he/she will use the property as his primary residence a 10% withholding is not required.
Disclaimer: This is only a general information. Please consult a professional tax advisor to discuss this matter and receive financial advice based on your personal situation.