Are you a savvy seller?

Test your skills below.

As a home seller, your goal is to get the most money possible, whether in a hot or cold market. The more you know, the bigger your profits -- and the fewer your headaches.

Here are ten questions to test your selling savvy.

Test your skills below.

Question 1 of 10.

In most states, you must disclose any known defects of the house to potential buyers.


It's the law in most places to disclose knowledge of any material defects.

You may be required to reveal known problems of your home's roof, walls, foundation, basement, plumbing, heating and electrical systems, as well as past pest problems and the presence of hazardous materials such as radon, lead paint and asbestos.

Question 2 of 10.

For single taxpayers, how much profit from a home sale is tax-free if you've lived in the home at least two years before selling?


After you own and live in a home for two of the past five years, you won't owe taxes on up to $250,000 in home-sale profits if single, or $500,000 in profits if married filing jointly. That means the vast majority of homeowners won't pay a dime to Uncle Sam on their home-sale profits.

Question 3 of 10.

Which home repairs produce the greatest return at sale?

Updated bathroom
Updated Kitchen
Clean and declutter
Paint outside

Agents surveyed by Home Gain reported that the cheapest improvement -- cleaning and decluttering a home -- produced the biggest return on investment, followed by home staging and "lightening and brightening."

Question 4 of 10.

If you sell your residence and lose money, you cannot write off those losses on your taxes.


Sorry, you won't get any help from Uncle Sam

If you lose money on the sale of your personal residence. If you lose money on an investment property, however, you may get some relief.

Question 5 of 10.

Setting a fair price and refusing to bargain is the best pricing strategy


That might be true in a seller’s market, but in a buyer’s market, buyers simply won’t come to see your house. Your agent should provide a “comparative market analysis” of recently sold homes to show you what has sold, for how much compared with the original listing price, and how fast. Use that as a guide to setting your price

Question 6 of 10.

When potential buyers and their agents come to see your house, it's best for you to:

Stick around

Get out of there.

You want the buyers to feel comfortable looking around your house. If they have any questions, their agent will call your agent. Besides, when you meet with buyers face to face, you might inadvertently reveal how motivated you are to sell and other clues that erode your negotiating power

Question 7 of 10.

Once you commit to a real estate agent, you have to keep him or her until you sell


It's a good idea to commit to the shortest possible listing period -- say, three months -- and renew it then if you like. But that does not mean you're stuck with an agent who turns out to be a nightmare. Before you sign a listing agreement, make sure it outlines the agent's duties and includes clauses that allow you to terminate or opt out of the contractual relationship with the agent because your circumstances have changed (say, a job opportunity fell through or your spouse died) or because you believe the agent has failed to perform. 

Question 8 of 10.

Your father bought his home in 1950 for $15,000. When he died, he left you the house, which is now worth $315,000. Do you have to pay taxes on the $300,000?


If you sell the house, your gain or loss will be measured from the fair market value of the home when your dad died: $315,000. If you sell for more, the difference will be taxed as a long-term gain. If you sell for less, you'll have a tax-saving long-term loss. If you move into the house and make it your home for more than two years, up to $250,000 of profit on the sale will be tax-free ($500,000 if you’re married and file a joint return). 

Question 9 of 10.

Who typically pays a real estate agent's commission?

Buyer pays both
Seller pays both
Buyer pays for buyer's agent; seller pays for seller's

Usually, the seller pays both agents' commissions

Which typically each run 2.5% to 3% of the purchase price.

Question 10 of 10.

If you already own a home and are looking to move up, where can you get the money to cover a down payment and closing costs until your previous home sells?

You can borrow it from a home-equity line of credit secured by your current home.
You can borrow it from an IRA
You can borrow it from a 401(k)
All of the above

Bridge loans, a type of home-equity loan formerly used for this purpose, have all but disappeared. For more about borrowing from your retirement accounts to buy a home, see our story Tapping an IRA for a Home Down Payment.

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