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Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Oct. 21: Small Dip; Mortgage Refinancing Cooling Down

Thirty-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates notched down a bit, while 5/1 ARM loan rates rose just a hair on Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

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Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Oct. 21

(Change from 10/20)
30-year fixed: 3.67% APR (-0.03)
15-year fixed: 3.09% APR (-0.01)
5/1 ARM: 3.60% APR (+0.01)

Possibly higher rates may mean fewer mortgage refinances in 2017

In its monthly outlook report released on Thursday, Freddie Mac said that housing is still part of a slowly improving economy but that refinancing won’t pitch in as much money next year as it did this year.

“The economy and labor markets are looking better,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac. “We’re even seeing modest wage gains. And Fed watchers are increasingly predicting a December rate hike as things improve. However, worldwide economic growth is weak, and its prospects have gotten worse.”

Whether mortgage rates increase depends more on global growth and worldwide bond yields than Federal Open Market Committee policy, according to the report.

If worldwide bond yields return to pre-Brexit levels, mortgage interest rates will probably stay low for a while, the report said. A continued slow rise in rates is expected for the rest of this year and into the next, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 3.9 percent a year from now. Since refinance activity is dependent on rates, a small increase in rates naturally shrinks the number of mortgage refinances.

Mortgage application data shows that in comparison to this summer, mortgage refinance activity is indeed slowing, but compared to last year at this time, applications are up by around 30 percent.

Freddie Mac expects $1 trillion in refinance mortgage originations for this year, but 2017 volume may be under $600 billion. “Home purchase and home improvement mortgage activity will somewhat offset this, rising from $1 trillion in 2016 to $1.15 trillion in 2017,” the report said. “Total mortgage originations will fall about 18 percent from 2016 to 2017 in our forecast.”

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Michael Burge is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Oct. 21: Small Dip; Mortgage Refinancing Cooling Down originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Oct. 14: Steady to Lower

Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates were unchanged, while 15-year fixed and 5/1 ARM rates were lower Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Rates on 30-year mortgages have held firm for three days, but 15-year fixed loans took a solid turn lower today. Adjustable rate loans have also taken a break over the past couple of days from their steady climb.

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Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Oct. 14

(Change from 10/13)
30-year fixed: 3.71% APR (NC)
15-year fixed: 3.08% APR (-0.03)
5/1 ARM: 3.61% APR (-0.01)

Homeownership rates still sinking, but millennials may launch turnaround

The national homeownership rate has declined for more than a decade, but a demographic powerhouse may be the catalyst to reverse that course — Gen Y. In an analysis released this week, Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said the forecasts for homeownership rates to sink below 60% may be too pessimistic.

It’s likely that millennials will soon marry, start families and buy homes at a faster pace than previous generations, Becketti said. And as America becomes a “majority minority” country, income and education gaps may narrow or be eliminated, feeding additional housing growth, he added.

“And as these types of potential homebuyers comprise a larger and larger share of the population, it will become increasingly expensive to overlook them. Profit-oriented financial institutions will be motivated to find better ways to serve them,” Becketti concluded.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Oct. 14: Steady to Lower originally appeared on NerdWallet.

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate

Without a high credit score, you won’t qualify for the best mortgage rates available, which could mean you’ll end up paying more money over the term of your mortgage. Even with rates at historic lows right now, the difference between 3.5% and 3.75% can add up, especially if you’re applying for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Why does your credit score matter to lenders?

Along with a low debt-to-income ratio and a strong financial history, a high credit score gets you a low mortgage rate. But why?

You’d probably be hesitant to lend money to a friend who usually takes forever to pay you back — or doesn’t pay you back at all. Lenders feel the same way when it comes to mortgages. They want to lend to people who have a record of on-time payments to creditors.

“If somebody has a high credit score, what that shows us is that they’ve been good on meeting their obligations, whether it be credit cards, car loans or other home loans in the past,” says Brian Hoovler, a loan production partner with People’s Home Equity in San Francisco. “It means we’re more likely to want to give you a loan, because we know you’re going to pay us back.”

Your credit score is calculated most often with the FICO scoring model, and is derived from the information on your credit reports, which are compiled by credit reporting companies. Your reports include a history of your payment habits with borrowed money.

Your credit score is “one of the most important parts to qualify,” says Michelle Chmelar, vice president of mortgage lending with Guaranteed Rate in New York. “But it is a part. You have to have the whole package: income, sufficient assets and credit.”

Best scores for conventional loans

“Typically, when you have a score of 700-plus, you’ll get a pretty good interest rate,” says David Lin, a former director of risk management for consumer credit at Barclays and Citibank. He says that while you can still qualify for certain loans if your score is under 680, the 700s are where you want to aim in order to pay the lowest rates.

If you’re at the top of the scale, say 720 or above, you’re in the territory known as excellent. As you move down toward 700, your score is considered good. Once you get to 680, you’re heading toward average, and if you’re closer to 640, you might have trouble getting a conventional mortgage from a bank or online lender, Chmelar says.

The lending industry carves up the credit score scale into 20-point increments and adjusts the rates it offers borrowers each time a credit score moves up or down by about 20 points. For instance, if your score drops to 740 from 760, you’re likely to see a small bump up in the rate you’ll be offered. In the industry, this is called “loan-level pricing,” and every time you go down a level, there’s an increase in costs, according to Hoovler.

“If you have a score of 760 or above,” Hoovler says, “you’re pretty much golden. From there down, every 20 points you’ll start seeing small hits here and there.”

Chmelar offers up a scenario to illustrate a 100-point difference in credit scores:

A borrower with a 20% down payment is applying for a 30-year, fixed-rate, $300,000 loan to purchase a single-family home in Westchester County, New York. She has a 780 FICO credit score, which gets her a 3.5% rate. Out of pocket, that’s $1,347 a month.

If the borrower’s score dropped by 100 points to 680, her rate would bump up to 3.75%, and her monthly payments would increase to $1,389, an extra $42 a month, or $500 per year. “That’s a lot of fun at Starbucks,” Chmelar says.

The impact of the difference in the rates may not seem significant at first, but added up over years, you could end up paying a lot. For example, Chmelar’s 100-point-drop scenario has the borrower paying an additional $15,120 over a 30-year period.

If your score is already good, however, you should consider taking the rate you qualify for. “The difference between a 710 and a 750 score is not so huge that you should wait to raise it,” Hoovler says. If mortgage rates go up while you’re fine-tuning your credit score, “the increase is in all likelihood going to offset any benefit the higher credit score gives you.”

Other loan types

With conventional loans — those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — a lot of focus is put on your credit score, according to Dan Keller, a mortgage advisor at New American Funding in Seattle.

Government-insured FHA and VA mortgages, on the other hand, may accept a score as low as 580. The impact of that lower score won’t be as substantial as it would be with a conventional loan, Keller notes. He says to get the best interest rate with an FHA or VA loan, the focus isn’t on a 760 score as it is with conventional loans — it’s on 700+.

So, there’s some leniency when it comes to credit scores and underwriting guidelines with government loans. But the loan fees are more expensive: You’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, as well as an upfront and an annual mortgage insurance premium.

Jumbo loans — loans that exceed conforming limits imposed by Fannie and Freddie — have stricter credit score requirements. “Ideally you’d want to be at 760 or above for a jumbo loan,” Hoovler says.

But those credit score guidelines don’t tell the whole story. Most lenders have what are known in the industry as “overlays,” which are extra requirements or standards that allow them to require higher credit scores as a precaution, regardless of loan type.

Hoovler says these overlays vary widely from company to company, and if a borrower fails to meet overlay requirements with one lender, it doesn’t mean a mortgage is out of reach. “Just because one lender says you’re not qualified doesn’t mean you can’t get a loan,” he advises. “It just means you may have to do some more digging to find somebody who’s willing to work either with your credit situation as is, or is willing to help you find someone who can put you into a better credit situation.”

How to improve your credit score

Here are some of the best ways to improve your credit score:

  • Make payments, including rent, credit cards and car loans, on time.
  • Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
  • Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
  • Check for any errors on your credit report, and work toward fixing them.
  • Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
  • Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.

“The number one way to improve your credit score is to look at your balance-to-limit ratio,” Keller says. “For example, if you had a credit card with a $10,000 limit, and I pull your credit and you’ve got $8,000 charged on that and your credit score is a 726, if I can get you to pay down that credit card to 30% or less — down to $3,000 — your credit score would jump substantially.”

Michael Burge is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Sept. 28: Mixed Bag, Cash Sales Drop

Thirty-year mortgage rates inched up, while 15-year fixed and 5/1 ARM rates fell even lower, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders Wednesday.

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Mortgage Rates Today,
Tuesday, Sept. 28

(Change from 9/27)
30-year fixed: 3.58% APR (+0.01)
15-year fixed: 2.98% APR (-0.02)
5/1 ARM: 3.41% APR (-0.05)

Cash sales hit lowest level since housing crisis began

It looks like investor purchases are taking a back seat in the housing market. Cash sales accounted for 29.3% of total home sales in June 2016, down 2.5 percentage points year over year, according to CoreLogic.

CoreLogic reported that cash sales peaked in January 2011, when cash transactions accounted for nearly half (46.6%) of total home sales in the U.S. During that time, housing markets across the country were just starting a slow but steady recovery following several years of depressed values and a glut of distressed properties on the market.

June 2016 marks the first time that cash sales accounted for under 30% of home purchases since late 2007. Before the downturn, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25%. If this downward trend in cash sales continues at the latest rate, the share should hit 25% by mid-2018, wrote Molly Boesel, senior economist at CoreLogic, in a blog post.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Sept. 28: Mixed Bag, Cash Sales Drop originally appeared onNerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Wednesday, Sept. 21: Calm Before the Fed

Thirty-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates as well as 5/1 ARM rates were unchanged Wednesday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders.

Mortgage rates remain in calm waters as the bond market awaits the Federal Reserve’s announcement this afternoon regarding short-term interest rates.

NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates.
Hal M. Bundrick, CFP
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Mortgage Rates Today,
Wednesday, Sept. 21

(Change from 9/20)
30-year fixed: 3.67% APR (NC)
15-year fixed: 3.09% APR (NC)
5/1 ARM: 3.57% APR (NC)

Mortgage rates ‘lowest in over 40 years’

Freddie Mac’s monthly outlook paints an optimistic picture for the real estate industry through the end of the year. The mortgage giant expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to average 3.6% in 2016, “the lowest annual average in over 40 years.”

The firm also stands by its earlier prediction that 2016 will be the best year in home sales since 2006.

“In most markets, low mortgage rates have more than offset the rise in house prices, preserving homebuyer affordability for the typical household,” Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a news release. “Homeowners are also taking advantage of low rates and house price appreciation that is increasing their home equity. The share of cash-out refinances grew to 41% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 38% in the first quarter and 15 to 20% during the housing crisis.”

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Wednesday, Sept. 21: Calm Before the Fed originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Sept. 15: Highest Since June

Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates were unchanged, while 15-year fixed and 5/1 ARM rates were modestly lower Thursday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders.

Average weekly rates on 30-year fixed-rate home loans are at their highest levels since June 24, according to the NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index.

NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates.
Hal M. Bundrick, CFP
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Mortgage Rates Today, Wednesday, Sept. 15

(Change from 9/14)

  • 30-year fixed: 3.69% APR (NC)
  • 15-year fixed: 3.09% APR (-0.01)
  • 5/1 ARM: 3.54% APR (-0.02)

Mortgage rates sharply higher for the week

Reacting to overseas economic concerns and speculation of a hike in interest rates here at home, mortgage rates have seen increased volatility over the past week. The result: Rates on the most popular terms are sharply higher from one week ago.

“The 10-year Treasury yield rose 18 basis points to 1.73%, its highest level since Brexit,” Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a news release. Brexit was the British referendum that resulted in a vote to leave the European Union. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage followed suit, rising 6 basis points to 3.50% this week. This is the first week since June that mortgage rates were above 3.48%, snapping an 11-week trend.”

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets next week and announces its decision regarding short-term interest rates Wednesday. Many economists expect the FOMC to delay issuing a rate hike until later in the year, most likely to December’s meeting. Most analysts expect a quarter point (0.25%) increase in interest rates.
Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Sept. 15: Highest Since June originally appeared onNerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Sept. 8: Up From July Lows

Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates are up, 15-year home loan rates are lower and 5/1 ARM rates are unchanged Thursday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

A Federal Reserve economic analysis released Wednesday said modest growth through late August is tempering the threat for inflation. That may give the Fed enough reason to delay a hike in short-term interest rates later this month. As a result, mortgage rates may see little movement in the coming weeks.

Mortgage rates lower for the week

Mortgage rates dipped this week after an economic report sparked concerns regarding the nation’s soft service economy, which motivated investors to buy into the bond market. Generally, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are back to where they were in mid-August — but well up from their early-July lows.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 2 basis points to 3.44% this week. As mortgage rates continue to range between 3.41% and 3.48%, many are taking advantage of the historically low rates by refinancing,” Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a news release. “Since the Brexit vote, the refinance share of mortgage activity has remained above 60%.”

The NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index compiles annual percentage rates — lender interest rates plus fees, the most accurate way for consumers to compare rates. Here are today’s average rates for the most popular loan terms:

Mortgage Rates: Sept. 8, 2016

(Change from 9/7)

30-year fixed: 3.60% APR (+0.02)

15-year fixed: 3.05% APR (-0.02)

5/1 ARM: 3.50% APR (NC)

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Sept. 8: Up From July Lows originally appeared onNerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Sept. 1: Uptick, Housing Inequality Widens

Thirty-year, 15-year and 5/1 ARM mortgage rates all rose on Thursday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

The increases, though slight, might mean we’ll see rates heading north from now on. It could be that the honeymoon for rock-bottom mortgage rates is finally over.

Housing inequality gap widens even more

Inequality isn’t just a gender pay or race issue. It’s also glaringly obvious within the U.S. housing market. Over the past 30 years, prices in the 20 priciest housing markets have risen more quickly than prices in the 20 least expensive, according to new research from Trulia. Expensive markets (think San Francisco or Seattle) almost always had more significant price gains compared to less expensive markets like Dayton, Ohio, or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

And the gap has only grown. Trulia reported that the priciest metros were 144% more expensive than the least expensive metros in 1986, but that differential has grown to over 319% today.

The housing-wealth disparity becomes even more stark when looking at homeowners’ return on investment over 30 years. In Rochester, New York, and Wichita, Kansas, the returns have been 85% and 89.9%, respectively, while ROI in San Francisco and San Jose, California, has been a whopping 557.6% and 496.5%. In other words, a homeowner gets an average cash return of approximately $50,000 in Dayton, Ohio — lowest among the survey’s 100 largest metros — compared to nearly $900,000 in San Francisco.

“Both trends suggest that economic convergence — the idea that over time, less expensive markets should ‘catch up’ to more expensive ones — is not taking place,” wrote Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin in a blog post titled “Rich City, Poor City: How Housing Supply Drives Regional Inequality.”

McLaughlin said much of the contrast between rich and poor cities (in terms of homeownership) comes down to two main elements: income growth and new housing construction.

The NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index compiles annual percentage rates — lender interest rates plus fees, the most accurate way for consumers to compare rates. Here are today’s average rates for the most popular loan terms:

Mortgage Rates: Sept. 1, 2016

(Change from 8/31)

30-year fixed: 3.64% APR (+0.01)

15-year fixed: 3.07% APR (+0.01)

5/1 ARM: 3.54% APR (+0.02)

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Sept. 1: Uptick, Housing Inequality Widens originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Aug. 25: Rates Steady, Home Inventory Skinny

Thirty-year and 15-year fixed mortgages were unchanged Thursday, while 5/1 ARM home loan rates ticked up, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

The bean counters at the banks must have taken last-minute summer vacations. Rates barely budged today, with most lenders apparently satisfied to keep their pricing locked in. Turn out the lights and forward their mail; home loan rates don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Mortgage rates hanging near all-time lows

In fact, mortgage rates have seen little movement in the past week — or the past month, for that matter.

“Treasury yields were little changed from the prior week, and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 3.43% this week,” Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac, said in a news release. “This marks the ninth consecutive week that mortgage rates have been below 3.5%. Markets are erring on the side of caution ahead of the second estimate for second-quarter GDP and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday.”

However, anxious to tap such favorable rates, potential buyers are still facing a limited supply of homes to choose from. While new home sales rose 12% in July, a nine-year high, existing home sales for the same month fell 3%, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“The primary culprit behind the decline in July is the lack of homes on the market. We simply can’t see growth in sales without having enough homes to sell,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com, said in a release. “This has been the case for 47 straight months, a situation that has bolstered home prices but made it tough for people to find a home for sale that meets their needs.”

The NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index compiles annual percentage rates — lender interest rates plus fees, the most accurate way for consumers to compare rates. Here are today’s average rates for the most popular loan terms:

Mortgage Rates: Aug. 25, 2016

(Change from 8/24)

30-year fixed: 3.60% APR (NC)

15-year fixed: 3.05% APR (NC)

5/1 ARM: 3.51% APR (+0.01)
Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

The article Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Aug. 25: Rates Steady, Home Inventory Skinnyoriginally appeared on NerdWallet.

5 Must-Know Tips for Selling Your Home

By Winnie Sun

Learn more about Winnie on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor

Selling your home is a big decision that requires significant preparation, including listing your property and meeting with potential agents. Once you’ve done that, it can still take weeks or even months to find a buyer, depending on the market.

With all that in mind, it’s important to know the current best practices for selling your home. Following these five tips will lead to a better experience.

1. Spruce up your online listing

A recent National Association of Realtors study found that nearly 90% of homebuyers use the internet to house hunt. If your online listing is drab and uninviting, you’re already turning off potential buyers. Start by updating it with clear and colorful images of your property. You could even get creative and post a love letter video about your home on YouTube. If you really want to use technology to your advantage, consider renting a drone camera and filming a video that gives potential buyers a 360-degree view of your property.

Remember, you only have one chance to create a good first impression. Helping potential buyers envision themselves living in your home gets you that much closer to selling your property.

2. Shop around for a solid real estate agent

Finding a capable agent is just as important as marketing your home. Try out a few of your options by attending open houses and observing how the agents interact with guests. Do they actively engage the visitors? Are they organized, and do they have support from team members?

You can also ask successful sellers to recommend their listing agents, and let’s not forget the power of online review sites, which can be good tools for finding reputable agents.

3. Negotiate the commission

Once you’ve selected an agent, it’s important that you negotiate the commission. Most realtors charge around 6% of the sale price. But let’s say you’re trying to sell a property in Silicon Valley, where many homes are only on the market for a week or so. You could negotiate a lower commission based on the fact that houses tend to sell more easily in that area.

Research the underlying benefits of selling a property in your area and use this information to negotiate the commission. Six percent represents a big bite out of your proceeds. Don’t hesitate to try to cut a deal.

4. Keep your agent on track

From day one, it’s essential that you establish tasks and timelines for your agent, both verbally and in written agreement. Then make sure that he or she is on track at all stages of the selling process, whether that’s organizing open houses or advertising your property through social media. He or she is your employee, and the last thing that you want is miscommunication.

I have an acquaintance whose agent sneaked away on vacation without warning after setting up an open house. Prospective buyers quickly lost interest when the agent wasn’t around in the following days to answer questions, and the house took awhile to sell. Don’t let this happen to you.

5. Select your buyer wisely

As a seller, you get to choose who buys your house. Remember, this is a business decision — it’s not just a matter of liking the potential buyer personally. For that reason, it’s wise to choose buyers who are preapproved. These buyers have the backing of their lenders to complete a sale, meaning their credit reports and income tax returns have already been checked out, lessening the chance that a financial snafu will throw off the sale process. You shouldn’t dismiss an unapproved buyer immediately, but it’s best to lean toward those who are preapproved.

Selling your home is no simple feat. Always take the time to sort out your options. Happy selling!

Winnie Sun is the founding partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Irvine, Calif.

The article 5 Must-Know Tips for Selling Your Home originally appeared on NerdWallet.