Selling a Home in Rhode Island

As of the close of the first quarter of 2021, Rhode Island real estate has remained a seller’s market. In the past 12 months, home prices have risen by nearly 15 percent, while the available housing stock has dropped by more than 40 percent.

Over half of the homes sell above the listing price, making this an ideal time for homeowners to put their property on the market. Before starting the selling process, homeowners should connect with an experienced real estate professional and become familiar with their obligations under Rhode Island’s real estate transaction laws.

If homeowners do not need to sell within a certain time, putting the house on the market during the summer may achieve the best results. Houses entering the market in June and July sell faster and for higher prices than at any other time of the year.

Even with the right timing, homes must be priced competitively to sell quickly. A real estate professional can help homeowners calculate their starting price by completing a comparative market analysis (CMA). The realtor will put together a report that compiles sales data from recently sold comparable homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. Deriving a price from a CMA ensures that the property is not overpriced or underpriced.

Once the price has been set, the realtor begins marketing the property. Homeowners can make their homes more attractive by staging the property for buyer walk-throughs. Staging includes the removal of personal items, the repair of any visible damage, and interior design changes that appeal to a broad range of buyers. Additionally, all rooms should demonstrate a function. If homeowners have an all-purpose space, converting it into a small office or bedroom helps buyers imagine what they could do with the room.

Investing in professional cleaning or landscaping can also boost the home’s appeal and increase the likelihood of a fast sale. Upgrades such as painting walls and refreshing old kitchen cabinets can be worth the investment.

However, going overboard with renovations can have the opposite effect. For example, installing an ultra-high-end kitchen in a moderately-priced home will not increase the sales price since that is determined by other factors, such as the neighborhood and square footage. Likewise, high-maintenance additions such as swimming pools may reduce the number of prospective buyers.

After an open house, the homeowners may receive several offers. There are regulations regarding the negotiation process. Sellers must respond to first offers with an acceptance or a counteroffer. Counteroffers also may be accepted or rejected. Once an offer is accepted, it will trigger processes such as home inspections and closing transactions.

Under Rhode Island law, sellers are required to disclose information about their property to the buyer. Sellers must truthfully report the state of the home’s structure, heating system, plumbing system, and roof. All sections of the disclosure form must be filled out accurately or the sellers can be prosecuted for misrepresentation or fraud. Real estate closing costs on the seller’s end may be reduced through negotiation. Common closing costs include deed transfer fees, past-due taxes, commissions, and escrow fees.

Business development professional Eric Ouhrabka serves as a realtor at 36d5 Realty in Rhode Island.