If you’re buying or selling a home this year, you’re likely saving up for a variety of expenses. For buyers, that might include things like your down payment and closing costs. And for sellers, you’re probably working on a bit of spring cleaning and maintenance to spruce up your house before you list it.
Either way, any money you get back from your taxes can help you achieve your goals. Using a tax refund is a common tactic for buyers and sellers. SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $2,897 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:
If you’re getting a refund this year, here are a few tips to help with your home purchase or sale this season.
How Buyers Can Use Their Tax Refund
According to American Financing, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. A few include:
- Growing your down payment fund – If you haven’t started saving for your down payment, let your tax refund kick off the process. And if you have a fund already, the money you get back could put you closer to your goal.
- Paying for your home inspection – Your home inspection can save you a lot of headaches down the road by helping you determine the condition of the house. As a buyer, you’ll typically be responsible for paying for your inspection, and it’s definitely worth the investment.
- Saving for closing costs – Closing costs are additional expenses you’ll need to pay once it’s time to close. They average anywhere between 2-5% of the purchase price of your home.
This list is a great start, but it isn’t exhaustive of all the costs you may encounter as you set out on your homebuying journey. The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate professional to make sure you understand what’s to come in the process.
How Sellers Can Use Their Tax Refund
If you own a home and are planning to sell this spring, your tax refund can help you make sure your home is ready to list. Here are a few ways current homeowners can put their tax refund to good use:
- Making small upgrades – NerdWallet provides a list of great ways to use your tax refund, including tackling small projects or boosting your curb appeal to help your home stand out.
- Making repairs – If there’s anything in your house that needs to be fixed, American Financing notes that completing repairs is another great use of that money.
- Buying your next home – Whether you’re selling to move up or downsize, you can use your tax refund to help pay for any costs on the purchase of your next home.
Of course, it’s important to talk with your trusted real estate advisor before taking on any projects. They’ll make sure you can focus on areas that’ll help you receive the best possible price when you sell.
Funding your home purchase or sale can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Your tax refund can help you reach your goals.
If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.
1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low
Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.
But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.
2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House
Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:
“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.”
If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.
3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You’ve Made
Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:
“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”
With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.
The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.
In a sellers’ market like today’s, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move.