Here I go over listing/sales price, mortgage amount/other liens, commissions, closing costs, & repairs/updates
Prior to a real estate sale, it's critical to be financially prepared for it including expectations of the costs involved & the range a professional expects your home will sell for.
Listing price/sales price:
The number one factor to consider is the sales price. That is something that your Realtor can help you with in terms of initial list price through a comparative market analysis (CMA): https://www.adambgarrett.com/cma They will also help in helping you to determine final contract price once an offer comes in if it's not a good offer or if it's a multiple offer scenario. Your listing agent will help you to negotiate with any offers that come on the table. In rare cases, the sales price can be lowered following contract ratification in lieu of repairs, especially on as is homes with substantial repairs that weren't clearly visible without a home inspection or other inspections.
WARNING: Some dishonest agents will intentionally inflate the value of your home knowing that many sellers that interview multiple agents are biased to pick the agent that gives them the highest price, knowing that they can ask for you to make price reductions in the future. Their comparative market analysis should demonstrate to you in a way that makes sense to you that your home is worth what they say it should be listed for. If what the agent(s) you've asked to do a CMA at your home say your home is worth doesn't make sense to you, one option is to hire an appraiser (typically $350-$600 for a home <5k sq ft on <1 acre) whose job is to price out homes.
Mortgage amount & other lien amounts (if applicable):
For those with a mortgage or any other form of lien, what you owe is a critical component of knowing when to sell. For those who owe only slightly less than a home is worth, selling might involve taking a loss that sellers can't afford. Short sales, where one sells when they can't afford it and the bank agrees to sell for less sale proceeds than what is owed, has strict requirements and will hurt your credit for years. While I have experience with short sales, they are not a cake walk & can take more than a year to sell in some cases. When they can be avoided, I typically recommend against short sales on the selling side unless foreclosure is the only alternative.
Many are aware of the pitfalls involved with selling a home without an agent, such as for sale by owner homes commanding a lower price tag on average than homes sold by an agent. https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/why-fsbo-sales-fail/
Pitfalls like those are some of the reasons why most homes are sold by real estate agents.
In 2020 the median FSBO sold for $217,900 & the median agent-assisted home sold for $242,300 (11% more). See that statistic here in 2021 & updated statistic in subsequent years here: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers
The commission amount is multi-faceted. For those who don't provide any commission to listing or buying agent, their homes will generally go for the lowest amount. Obviously the marketing for a home not listed by an agent won't be as good in most cases. Many buyers who rely exclusively or primarily on the feed of homes from their Realtor will never see it. A Realtor's MLS feed can weed out many homes already under contract that isn't possible on most public websites. A Realtor's MLS feed has many superior search capabilities to public websites, even including the ability to make templates that can take dozens of hours to create. In a SE VA city that I checked, checking 7 public websites for FSBO homes provided only around 5% new homes that MLS wasn't providing, & the majority of the FSBO homes were unique to 1 website, so often those searching public websites spend a lot of time for only minimal additional properties. https://bit.ly/2UZvGvC FSBO homes that don't offer a buyer's agent commission will typically sell for less than those that offer one. As of 2020, 88% of buyers purchased through a real estate agent and among the remaining 12%, half purchased directly from a builder or builder's agent. https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers
The seller typically pays for the buyer's agent commission, and the standard buyer brokerage agreement of VA has a section for the agent adding a minimum commission requirement. Buyers that use an agent will sometimes exclude any property where they would need to pay any portion of the commission for their agent, as is the case with some of the buyers that I work with.
You'll have your own closing costs & prepaids (typically 1.5%-3% of the sales price), with higher percentages for lower price property & vice versa. Closing costs are also higher if you have a mortgage involved.
In rare cases in the 2021 market you'll have some of the buyer's closing costs to pay but if the home is priced right off the bat that's more rare. The longer the market time of your home and the slower you are to reduce the price with a long market time, the higher the likelihood of your home selling below asking price &/or you paying closing costs. If the buyer asks you to pay closing costs, it's typically between 1%-3%, although in very rare cases it can be over 5%. Most buyers use loans, and most loans restrict the amount of seller concessions, such as 3% max seller concessions for most 5% down conventional loans (though even in that cases there are some exceptions where some lenders allow 4%). In the case of a VA loan, you could even be asked to pay off some of the buyer's debts in order for them to better afford the home, though that is rare as well and still subject to max seller concessions. In rare cases, closing costs can be added on after contract ratification in lieu of repairs, especially on as is homes with substantial repairs that weren't clearly visible without a home inspection or other inspections.
It's a good idea prior to putting a home on the market to do some cost effective rehabbing if there are some repair needs. Getting the home cleaned & clutter removed is an important element of the home selling process as well. While sellers don't always take my advice, & I've sold a hoarder home before with items in it while marketed, it's ideal to have those things removed prior to any pictures or marketing efforts. One of my #1 job functions for sellers is going around advising the seller on steps to take prior to a home sale based on the condition of their home.
If something like a Formica kitchen countertop in a $750k home is in gross need of replacing due to significant wear, it's in many cases in need not just for replacement of another Formica countertop but an upgrade to quartz or granite. Many sellers in that range would upgrade even if there wasn't significant wear when selling since it could be one of buyers' primary negatives for the home.
Repairs/updates don't stop after a home is listed either. In some cases, feedback from buyers causes sellers to make repairs/improvements after listing prior to contract ratification. Sometimes, but not always, these are items that the Realtor may have mentioned but that the seller thought wasn't worth it or that they didn't have time for.
After contract ratification, sometimes repairs are requested following home inspection, termite/moisture inspection, appraisal, & other inspections like well, septic, & mold. If the contract falls through for any reason, and you put the home back on the market, if you don't want to do any of the requested repairs, you should disclose them by VA law as a material adverse fact. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-virginia-listing-agents-must-disclose-about-property.html
In some cases, whether by an arrangement with the contractor or an arrangement with a rare real estate firm like Garrett Realty Partners that offers financing options in some cases for sellers, the money needed for repairs can be paid at closing if you don't have it and you don't want to obtain traditional financing for it. https://www.adambgarrett.com/repairs-renovations-paid-at-closing
WARNING: Some listing agents won't mention anything wrong with the house in order to have a better opportunity to get the listing
Finances for the home you'll choose to be at are a critical component of the home selling process as well, & we'll dedicate another section to that. Yet another section is dedicated to your income.