Can You Sell Your Home For Any Price?



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Wondering at what price you might be able to sell your home? Well, if you own your home outright as its sole owner and there are no liens on it, you can choose the price to list your home. Although, that doesn't mean the house will necessarily sell at your asking price.

The price your home sells for is dependent on several different factors. Read below to learn what you need to know before selling your home and any issues which can make the selling process more complicated.

Key points from this article:

  • Homeowners can set their own listing price if they own their home outright and it has no liens, but this doesn't guarantee a sale at that price. The selling price depends on various factors, including market conditions and the home's valuation.
  • Selling a house with liens, during bankruptcy, or as part of an estate involves specific considerations. For instance, the sale price should cover any liens, and in the case of bankruptcy or an estate, legal requirements and agreements with other stakeholders must be met.
  • Selling a house for more than its market value is challenging and typically requires a cash buyer or a buyer willing to cover the difference between the appraised value and the asking price. Market value can be determined through a comparative market analysis by a realtor or a research service like AMI House Buyers.

Disclaimer – The information on this page is intended for general informational purposes only and not to provide legal advice.

What if my house has liens?

If your house has any liens attached to it, whether it's a mortgage lien, mechanic (or construction) lien, or tax lien, the goal is to list the home at a price that will settle those liens and leave money left over for yourself. If your home is not valued high enough to sell for that high of a price, then you may want to consider other options like a short sale or selling to an investor.

What if my house is part of an active bankruptcy filing?

If you wish to sell your home before filing for bankruptcy, be aware that the money you make from doing so might cause your bankruptcy case to be dismissed, and you could possibly be subject to bankruptcy fraud charges.

If you have no equity or negative equity in your home, selling it will result in a deficiency balance. Your mortgage lender may or may not forgive this debt. Note that if the lender forgives the debt, the IRS will consider the amount the lender forgave income, and will require you to pay federal income taxes on it as income.

According to Texas law, you can sell your house after filing for bankruptcy as long as certain conditions are met. In most cases, it is preferable to sell after filing for bankruptcy rather than selling before a bankruptcy filing.

If you choose to take advantage of the Texas homestead exemption, you can exempt a certain amount of equity in your home. If you still own your house on the day you file for bankruptcy and claim it as exempt, you can sell it during bankruptcy as long as there are no objections.

What if my house is part of an estate?

If you inherited your property along with one or more additional heirs, all of you must agree to sell the house together. If another heir does not want to sell, you can only sell if you get a judge to order the sale of the home, which can be a costly and challenging process. You also must sell the house for no less than market value if there are debtors or other heirs (though you can sell for under market value if there are no debtors and the heirs all agree to the sales price).

What if I want to sell my house to a family member?

If you want to give your house to a family member, you may be tempted to sell it for an extremely low price rather than simply giving it away to avoid estate taxes when you die. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

The IRS will look at the market value of the house and consider the difference between that and the amount you sell it for as a gift. This means that if you sell a home with a market value of $200,000 for $1, you will owe a gift tax for the remaining $199,999 “gift.” Unless your sale qualifies as an arm's length transaction, you should speak to an accountant about how much your gift tax would be and how to best pay it off.

What if my house is in foreclosure?

Until your home's foreclosure auction takes place, you can sell your home during foreclosure as long as the sale closes before your scheduled auction date or the lender provides you with an extension to allow the sale to close after the originally-scheduled auction date. You can choose a price that you feel is suitable, but once again, the money you make from the sale must satisfy all liens on the house. If you cannot sell the home for what you owe on it, you may want to consider a short sale if your lender allows it, as a short sale will not have as drastic of an effect on your credit score as a foreclosure.

What if I am selling my house because of a divorce?

Texas is a community property state, meaning that property a couple acquires during a marriage belongs equally to both spouses. Therefore, even if the house is only in one person's name, both spouses must sign off on the sale of the home during or after a divorce if it was purchased after you got married.

If your spouse refuses to sign off on selling the house, you will need to get a judge's permission to sell the home without their express consent. If you both agree to sell the house, the court will decide how much equity each of you receives from the sale, based on factors including each person's income, whether or not you have children, or if one person is at fault for the marriage ending.

If you bought your house before you were married or it was a gift or inheritance given to you, it's considered separate property, and you may sell it independently of your spouse. However, if the home was used as the marital residence, you'll want to check with an attorney, as your spouse may have some claim to its value in those cases, even if the property was purchased prior to the marriage.

What if my house was damaged by a disaster like a flood or fire?

Selling a flooded or fire damaged home “as is” will not appeal to a large portion of buyers, so it may be best to make some repairs first – unless only a small portion of the house is damaged. If the repairs are too expensive for you to take on, contact us. AMI House Buyers can buy your home as is with a cash offer. If your home is in the middle of an insurance claim, it is recommended that you resolve the claim before selling.

What if someone else on the deed doesn't want to sell the house?

Selling a house with multiple people on the deed usually requires all parties to sign off on the sale, but there are some cases in which you might be able to sell without a co-owner's consent. You can ask a judge to force the sale, which will usually result in a partition lawsuit. This divides the property up among the owners to decide how much each one earns from the sale. However, this will not necessarily be an even split if the owners haven't contributed equally to the property's expenses, including the mortgage and property taxes.

Can I sell for higher than market value?

If you want to sell your house for higher than market value, you will need to sell to a cash buyer or have the buyer cover the difference between the value appraised by the bank and the loan-to-value ratio. For example, say you want to sell your home for $400,000. The bank appraises it at $360,000, and the lender offers a 90% loan-to-value. Your buyer would need to bring the $40,000 difference between the appraisal value and the sale price, plus the 10% down payment on the $360,000 selling price, to buy with a mortgage.

How do I determine the market value of my house?

A realtor in the Houston area can provide you with a comparative market analysis to determine the value of your home based on its size, location, and the selling price of comparable homes which have recently sold in your area. You can also contact AMI, and we can research it for you.

If you need to sell your home fast, AMI can make you a no-obligation cash offer – regardless of what condition your home is in or what situation you're currently facing.

Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman is the owner of AMI House Buyers and a seasoned real estate investor with a heavy focus on the Houston & Katy, Texas areas. She has done numerous flips, has owned multiple rental properties, and is also a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas. She is heavily experienced in the areas of foreclosures, water damaged properties, burnouts, and inherited properties, and works with distressed homeowners in all types of situations to help them understand their options and find potential solutions.


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