Should I Sell My House? The Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide

Should I Sell My House? The Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide

While life circumstances and milestones can encourage you to sell your home, the decision comes down to a range of other factors. Understanding your financial position, your timeframe, and how you’ll sell can help you decide whether you’re ready to sell your home.

When making your decision, you have to ask yourself things like: How much equity do I have in my home? Can I afford a new home? Or will I be renting? And what about all of the upfront costs of selling? Am I prepared to take on those expenses?

You should also have a good grasp of the local housing market and how seasonal trends and unexpected events can impact your goals. 

So if you’re scratching your head wondering “Should I sell my home?” Here are the important questions you need to answer. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

1. How much is my home worth?

Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood or surrounding area that are similar to your home in condition, square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age, unique features, etc. This is a great way to estimate how much your home is worth. In the industry, we call these comparable homes “comps”.

When sizing up local comps, be sure to compare the sale price of a number of different properties. Why? Because no two homes are exactly the same. So comparing a number of comps will give you a sense of the price range that home buyers may pay for your home. Then adjust that price range based on each unique feature to estimate how the individual features of your home will affect the sale price.

While it’s extremely hard to do this precisely without a real estate background, there’s software that you can use. You can also get a cash offer on your home to see how much your house is worth.

Getting a cash offer from us is free and there’s no commitment or obligation to accept. We base our offers on current local market data, comparable home sales, and our local real estate pricing experts in Atlanta. Visit our FAQ guide to find out more about our home buying process and how we calculate cash offers.

2. How much equity do I have in my home?

People often ask us, how much equity should I have in my home before selling?

If you’re selling your home yourself or through an agent, you’ll usually want to have enough equity to cover the costs of selling, the costs of moving, and the down payment on your next home (unless you’re planning to rent).

Below is a simple equation to help you determine how much equity you have in your home:


Market PriceLoan BalanceEquity

Alternatively, if you want to sell your house through us at JWS ACQUISITIONS, you won’t have to worry about how much equity you have because we provide upfront cash offers, cover all selling costs, and help with moving costs.

3. How much will it cost to sell my home?

Selling costs can crush you IF you’re selling your house through a real estate agent or for sale by owner (aka by yourself).

In Atlanta, the closing costs of selling your house can range from anywhere between 5% to 10% of the sales price. These costs may include the 6% real estate commissions, the 1% title escrow notary and transfer tax, and pro-rated property taxes. You may also have to consider lawyer’s expenses, title search charges, 1% staging and prep work, 2% seller concessions, 1% home ownership and overlap costs, moving costs, and any repairs needed to sell your home.

Some of these fees are negotiable, but most are set in stone. So unless you’re selling your house to a real estate investment company like us, you’ll be on the hook for these things as the seller and these fees will make your total selling cost significantly higher.

Breakdown of common closing costs in Atlanta for sellers

  • Real estate agent commission: typically 6% of the sales price (typically 3% for both the selling agent and buying agent in Georgia).
  • Unsettled payment owed on the property:  homeowner’s association (HOA) fees, utility bills, and other prorated extraneous costs.
  • Prorated property taxes: prorated based on the number of days you owned the home that year. (Note: If your mortgage includes an estimated amount for property taxes that they put in “escrow”, then each month you should be able to get your escrow balance back after closing).
  • Settlement fee: typically $350 to $600 to the title company or escrow company for their services on closing day and possible to your attorney if you have one, though Georgia doesn’t require an attorney to be present at closing.
  • Title search: $100 to $200 (this ensures you’re the true owner and that the title doesn’t have any liens or judgments).
  • Municipal lien search: $100 to $200 (this is to look into unrecorded property issues that aren’t shown in a typical title search such as code violations, water/sewer/waste balances, open or expired permits, etc.)
  • HOA estoppel letter: typically $200 to $500 (confirms that you are in good standing with the HOA before the title company issues a clear title on your home. If you’re not current on all your dues, the letter certifies how much you owe the HOA including your monthly dues, any special assessments, past dues, fines, or other fees).
  • Documentary stamps on the deed: varies based on home price (this “transfer tax” is paid to your local county when the deed is recorded).
  • Title insurance: set by Georgia and based on the purchase price (this protects the buyer from any issues that may arise with the title).

Read more about closing costs and how to avoid them in my guide here.

How much will I actually pay in closing costs?

To figure out an estimate of the amount you’ll pay, simply multiply the price of your home by the typical closing cost percentage of 5% to 10%.

For example, the current median home value in metro Atlanta is $315,000. If you multiply this by the typical closing cost percentage (5-10%), you’ll find that your closing costs will range anywhere between $15,750 and $31,500.

You can eliminate closing costs completely if you sell your house to a cash buyer like JWS Acquisitions.

4. How long will it take to sell my home?

On average, homes in Atlanta, GA sell after 61 days on the market.

But if you sell your house for cash to ALT House Buyer, we can close on your house in 8 business days, which is the minimum time frame in GA for homes without an HOA, and in 11 business days if your home is in an HOA community.

5. How should I sell my house?

There are many ways to sell you home, each with their unique pros and cons.

But one thing is for sure, if you go the traditional route and sell your home through an agent or by yourself, the cost of selling your home will probably be more than you initially thought. You could be responsible for commission fees, potential repair costs, staging, and curb appeal expenses, transfer taxes, and more. And not going through a real estate agent adds time, stress, paperwork, and risk.

The upside of selling your home by owner is that you don’t have to pay real estate commission. But it can be tricky to navigate all the paperwork, market your home, and list it properly.

The upside of working with a real estate agent is that you get guidance throughout the process. An agent can also help market and list your home, coordinate with the buyer’s agent, and handle paperwork related to the sale. But, of course, you have to pay that hefty 6% commission.

So is there another option?

Luckily, there is another option. You can sell your home to a real estate acquisitions company like us for cash. We provide free, no-obligation cash offers so you can suss out the possibilities.

Related Article: Here’s Why You Should Not Hire A Realtor & Sell The House Yourself (By Owner)

If you like your offer, we take care of all paperwork and closing costs. We can even help with moving costs. Plus, because of our insight into the Atlanta market and our business model of buying properties to hold as long-term rentals, we can typically offer MORE than other home buyers.

6. Should I sell my house now or wait?

While Atlanta housing prices remain almost steady as compared to last year, the decline in sales reflects the impact of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home recommendation many Metro Atlanta residents followed.

But with the decline in new listings, the Atlanta real estate market is in favor of sellers. Atlanta and the entire metro area market is so hot that it’s unlikely to shift to a total buyer’s real estate market for the long term.

The Atlanta real estate market benefits from a large and robust economy so the best time to sell is now.

So…have you answered your question? Should you sell your home? Whether you’ve decided to sell your house now or wait, it doesn’t hurt to get a free cash offer. So what are you waiting for?

Get a Cash Offer on Your Home Now.