Welcome to the thriving real estate market of Iowa, where selling a house in Iowa can be an exciting and lucrative venture. In March 2023, Iowa witnessed promising growth in home prices, with a 1.4% increase compared to the previous year, reaching a median price of $216,000.
This upward trend signifies a favorable climate for homeowners looking to sell their properties and maximize their returns. Despite a slight decline in the number of homes sold, down 7.1% year over year, Iowa remains a desirable destination for prospective buyers.
Whether you’re a homeowner eager to capitalize on Iowa’s positive real estate climate or a buyer looking to invest in the heartland of America, now is an opportune time to navigate the exciting process of selling a house in Hawkeye State.
📉 Iowa Housing Market Update
- Median Home Sale Price Drop YoY: The median home sale price dropped to $364,366, down by 2.3% YoY, the biggest decline in more than a decade.
- Fewer Buyers are Applying for Mortgages: Mortgage purchase applications were down by 31% YoY. Due to expensive financing, fewer buyers are applying for mortgages.
- iBuyers are No More a Viable Option: Several iBuyers have either shut down or are suffering massive losses. As per our research, most iBuyers are not offering more than 70% of a property’s Fair Market Value.
- Bottom Line: In 2023, more sellers in the Hawkeye State are opting to sell their homes by owner. By listing on the MLS with the best FSBO sites in Iowa, your Iowa home gets maximum exposure, and you save thousands of dollars in commissions.
Step 1: Determine How You Want to Sell Your House in Iowa
How you choose to sell will determine all other aspects of selling your Iowa home. These include the cost of selling a house in Iowa, marketing strategy, the level of preparation you need, etc.
Home sellers in the Hawkeye State are no longer required to work with only 3% commission realtors to list and sell their houses. You have options now – MLS listing services, discount brokers, FSBO sites, etc. – who work at lower rates. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before you choose one.
- Sell With a Discount Broker: A discount realtor offers all the services similar to a traditional broker at discounted rates. Discount realtors in Iowa charge a 1.5%-2% commission or a $3,000-$5,000 flat rate. They will help you with everything, from listing to closing, and offer decent savings.
- Sell Your Property For Sale By Owner: You can sell your home without a Realtor, independently. You will save the entire 3% listing commission but won’t get MLS access. You can list your Iowa home on For Sale By Owner website. The best FSBO sites leverage technology to get you listed and connect you with potential buyers directly.
- Sell With a Traditional Realtor: We do not recommend working with a traditional Realtor. They charge a 5%-6% commission and control most aspects of the transaction. However, if you need guidance at every step, work with Iowa Realtors in your area who have expertise in the Iowa housing market.
- Offer Your Home to a Cash Buyer: You can sell your home “as is” in Iowa to a cash buyer. Iowa cash home buyers offer 30% to 50% of the Fair Market Value and offer flexible closing timelines.
✍️ Pro Tip: Offer your home to an iBuyer if your house is in good condition. iBuyers offer up to 70% of the Fair Market Value and make instant cash offers.
Step 2: Set a Realistic Listing Price
The listing or the asking price is the most important factor for a successful home sale. Typically, the real estate broker will run comps and help you arrive at an asking price. However, in an FSBO sale, you can use online tools like Zestimate to determine the asking price for your Iowa home.
Do not overprice your home. If you do, your home will spend more days on the market, and buyers may make negative assumptions about it.
On the other hand, underpricing can be a good strategy. Remember, the listing price is not equal to the sale price. The purpose of the listing price is to attract buyers for your home.
You can set the asking price at the lowest price acceptable to you. You might get multiple offers which may lead to a bidding war among buyers. Bidding wars can help you sell at a price higher than what you had in mind. Refer to this informative guide on how to price your home for sale for more such strategies.
Step 3: Market Your Home
A good marketing strategy will help you attract more potential buyers. You can work with a broker to market your home or do it yourself. Here are a few marketing tips that can increase your home sale value substantially:
- Stage Your Home: You can sell your home for up to $40,000 more by staging it. You can either DIY it or work with local Iowa home staging companies. They will rearrange the interiors of your house to make it look spacious and presentable.
- Hire a Real Estate Photographer: With professional real estate photography, you could sell your home in Iowa 32% faster. Professionally clicked pictures will make your property listing pop. It will also help you to market your home to 90% of buyers who search for properties online. Check out the top real estate photographers in Iowa.
- List on MLS: With an MLS listing, you can sell faster and for up to 17% more. Your property listing will also get syndicated to 100+ real estate websites. But, only licensed real estate agents in Iowa have access to the MLS. They charge a 3% commission which can burn a hole in your pocket. You can list your house on MLS in Iowa with Iowa Flat Fee MLS companies. Houzeo will get you listed for $379, and that too within 48 hours.
- List on Free FSBO Websites: Several FSBO sites allow you to list your home on their website for free. Your Iowa property can attract buyer traffic that visits a particular FSBO website. Some examples of free FSBO Iowa listing websites include Craigslist, Zillow, ForSaleByOwner.com, etc. However, you may attract unverified buyers or scammers as well.
- Post a Yard Sign: With a yard sign, you can attract unrepresented buyers and save the buyer agent commission. Ensure you get a yard sign with your phone number so that the buyers can contact you directly.
- Host Open Houses: In a hot market like Jacksonville or Miami, an open house can be a great way of showing your property to home buyers. Also, you can attract unrepresented buyers.
Step 4: Show Your Home to Potential Buyers
Showings are essential when selling a property in Iowa or anywhere. The more the number of buyers touring your home, the greater the chances of you getting an offer. But this doesn’t mean showings should be inconvenient for you. You can use an online showings management tool like Houzeo Showings.
Houzeo Showings allows you to schedule slots for buyers to tour your Iowa house. Home buyers can also request and reschedule or cancel showings.
Step 5: Negotiate Offers
Interested buyers will send written offers to your agent or directly to you, in case of an FSBO sale. In a seller’s market, buyers might make offers above the list price. But, experts predict 2023 to be a buyer’s market. So, be open to negotiations.
As a seller, you can accept, reject, or counter an offer. A counteroffer is a way of negotiating an offer for better terms or prices. It should be in written format and must have a set timeframe for the buyers to respond. In the counteroffer, you can offer seller concessions, repair credits, etc., in exchange for selling at the list price.
In case of multiple offers, weigh all of them across various merits and do not accept the highest bid right away. You may want to consider the following before accepting an offer amongst multiple offers:
- Mode of payment (cash vs financing)
- Home buyer’s mortgage approval status (pre-approval vs pre-qualified)
- Buyer’s willingness to cover the closing costs in Iowa or some part of it
- Buyer’s willingness to bypass some contingencies like a home appraisal, home inspection in Iowa, etc.
- Closing timeline
In a traditional home sale, a real estate professional will negotiate for you. However, as an FSBO seller in Iowa, you are on your own. In such a situation, you can use digital offer management tools like Houzeo Offers. With Houzeo Offers, you can counter an offer, call for the highest and the best offer, and more.
Step 6: Close the Sale
After the seller accepts an offer, the MLS listing status is changed to “house under contract“. You and the buyer have to complete a lot of tasks from contract to closing. Here are the key milestones in the closing process in Iowa:
Allow the Buyer to Complete the Due Diligence
After you accept an offer, your Iowa property goes off the market, and the buyer can perform the necessary due diligence. The buyer inspects their to-be-home to proceed with the purchase.
Post due diligence, the buyer works on securing a mortgage, known as the underwriting period. During this period, the lender verifies the buyer’s finances and inspects and appraises the property. An amount equivalent to the property’s appraised value is sanctioned to the buyer.
Pay the Closing Costs
As a seller, you will pay 5%-6% in Iowa real estate commissions, equally split between your and the buyer’s agent. Additional seller closing costs in Iowa that you may have to incur include:
- The escrow or the title fee
- Taxes on selling a house in Iowa such as the transfer tax, capital gains tax, etc.
- Outstanding HOA dues
- Real estate attorney fees
- Seller credits (if you have offered any).
» Iowa Seller Closing Costs Calculator: Estimate the exact cost to sell a house in Iowa.
Sign the Escrow and Title Documents
This is the final step in the process of selling a home in Iowa. Here, you sign the escrow and title documents needed to sell a house in Iowa. Additionally, you sign the deed and closing disclosure. Ensure you bring two valid ID proofs at the signing.
After the close of the escrow, the new homeowner’s details are registered in the public records. You receive a wire transfer or a check for the final home sale price, and the sale is complete.
In the dynamic real estate market of Iowa, selling a house presents a golden opportunity to leverage the state’s positive growth trends. With home prices experiencing a 1.4% increase in March 2023 compared to the previous year, sellers can confidently enter the market, knowing they stand to achieve a favorable return on their investment.
Despite a slight dip in the number of homes sold, Iowa’s housing market remains vibrant and enticing for sellers. This faster turnover allows sellers to expedite the selling process and move on to their next venture.
For those contemplating selling their property, timing is crucial. Taking advantage of the current market conditions and the continued demand for homes in Iowa can significantly benefit sellers, ensuring a smoother and more profitable experience.
As the real estate landscape in Iowa continues to flourish, now is the perfect time to seize the opportunity and make your mark in the ever-thriving Hawkeye State.
Get on the MLS with a Flat Fee Realtor or a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. With Houzeo, your home will be listed for $379 within 48 hours. Read Houzeo reviews to know what home sellers across Iowa say about Houzeo.
1. What are typical closing costs for a seller in Iowa?
Typically, closing costs for sellers in Iowa are around 8% to 10% of the home sale value. Iowa closing costs consist of real estate commissions, the title fee, owner's title insurance, recording fee, and other closing expenses. The real estate commission of around 6% forms the biggest chunk of the Iowa closing costs. You can save thousands of dollars in the listing agent commission by selling your house by owner in Iowa. You can work with a Iowa Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS and manage the other aspects of the home selling journey on your own.
2. What disclosures are required when selling a house in Iowa?
You need to furnish the following disclosure while selling a house in Iowa:
1. Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement
2. Lead Paint Disclosure
3. Condominium Disclosure Statement Iowa
4. Home Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement
5. Iowa Radon Gas Disclosure
6. Coastal Properties Disclosure Statement
7. Property Tax Disclosure
8. Seller Non-Occupancy Disclosure Iowa
Read this guide on Iowa real estate disclosures to know your disclosure obligations in Iowa.
3. Do you need an attorney to sell a house in Iowa?
It is not mandatory to hire a real estate attorney in Iowa. However, it is highly recommended to work with an attorney to review the drafts and contracts. This will protect you from unforeseen legal problems and the expensive penalties that come along.
4. Should I sell my house in Iowa now?
Yes, now is the perfect time to sell your house in Iowa. As of March 2023, the median sale price in Iowa has increased by 3.2% YoY. However, expensive financing and rising mortgage rates can turn the tables anytime, and you may have to settle for a lower sale price in the future. So, if you are ready, now is the best time to sell a home in Iowa.
5. Can you sell a house while in probate in Iowa?
The state laws allow home sellers to sell an inherited property in Iowa while it is in probate. The home seller needs to provide certain documents in court. These include a petition for an order authorizing the property sale, a copy of the sales contract, a broker letter, etc. The court approves the sale of the property after verifying all the submitted documents.
6. Do you have to pay taxes when you sell your house in Iowa?
Yes, you need to pay the federal capital gains tax, transfer tax, and property tax when selling a property in Iowa.
7. Can you sell your house in Iowa without a realtor?
Yes, you can sell your house without a Realtor in Iowa. List your Iowa home with a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. Flat Fee MLS companies usually get you listed within 48 hours, or in most cases, even faster. You can manage other aspects of selling real estate in Iowa using Houzeo tools like Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and more. With a Flat Fee MLS listing, you will sell fast and save thousands in real estate commissions. Check out our rankings for the top Flat Fee MLS companies in Iowa.
8. What is the commission for selling a house in Iowa?
A home seller pays 5.5% to 6% in real estate commissions when selling a house in Iowa. This 6% commission is split equally between the listing agent and the buyer agent. Check out this detailed guide on how real estate commissions work in Iowa.