There’s a ton of real estate intel on the interwebs. (Why, you’re looking at some of it right now!) But even if you consider yourself the most research-savvy digital consumer of all time, you may not know everything you need to make the wisest decisions when negotiating a real estate transaction.
Maybe you’re already familiar with real estate terms like “escrow” and “easement.” But we’re not just talking about a few words that test your real estate vocabulary. We’re talking about processing the bazillions of details you’ll deal with to buy or sell a home.
Here’s a quick list of things you may not already know that could put, or keep, money in your wallet while you’re in the real estate game.
1. Home Ownership is an Important Way to Build Wealth
Home ownership isn’t for everybody. But those who step onto the home ownership ladder steadily build wealth over their lifetime. A typical homeowner’s net worth was $195,400, while that of the typical renter was $5,400, according to 2013 data from the Federal Reserve, the most recent available. New data is expected in 2016, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, predicts it will show $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for homeowners and around $5,000 for renters.
2. Owning Real Estate Can Save You Hundreds in Taxes
If sending a chunk of your hard-earned money to Uncle Sam or your local government makes you nuts, real estate is for you. When you own, you may be eligible for a slew of real estate tax deductions and credits, including state and local income and property taxes, and mortgage interest and mortgage insurance payments. At the average tax rate, real estate deductions helped taxpayers save roughly $100 billion in 2015, according to NAR analysis.
3. Buyers Who Tapped Expert Real Estate Advice Were Glad They Did
When buyers who’ve recently worked with a real estate agent were asked why they teamed up with one, more than half said it was an important step in finding the right home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.” Nearly four out of five consumers, 78%, say their agent was a very useful source of information.
4. Sellers Were Just as Happy They Worked with a Real Estate Pro
Your fellow consumers wholeheartedly believe it’s important to work with an agent when selling. Nearly nine out of 10 sellers, or 89%, did just that. They also reported a median gain on the sale of their home of $40,000 more than they paid for it, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.”
5. Sellers Who Spruce Up and Declutter Their Home Draw More Interest
Staging a home makes a big difference in buyers’ ability to see its potential. Four out of five real estate agents who work exclusively with buyers say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in the staged home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Staging.” A well-staged home increases the price buyers are willing offer, say almost 75% REALTORS® who were surveyed about staging. Nearly half say staging will increase a home’s market value , and just under one-third say buyers are more willing to overlook a property’s faults when staging highlights its best features.
6. Sell-It-Yourselfers Are a Dwindling Crowd
The number of sellers who sold their home without a real estate pro has dropped to 8%, according to the buyer and seller study — the lowest share since this stat was first tracked in 1981.
7. Sellers Who Go It Alone Leave Money on the Table
The median price of homes sold without the expertise of a real estate agent was $210,000 in 2015. That’s $35,000 less than the median price of homes sold by sellers who worked with an agent, or $245,000, according to the buyer and seller study.