What Is a Seller Assist and How Does It Work?

By: ROS Team

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If you have been looking for a new home or if you recently put your home on the market, you may have heard the phrase sellers assist.  Although you may have heard the phrase, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t fully understand how it works. We’ll shed some light on the seller’s assist in this article and address some frequently asked questions about how it works.

What is Seller Assist?

Sellers assistance is offered by a seller to the buyer as a way to help pay closing costs. With this assistance, money becomes available for other things associated with acquiring a new home. Such as paying the first mortgage payment, paying down the loan’s interest rate, or saving up to pay for the property taxes.

Buyers tend to ignore the home’s closing costs and focus on setting a budget so that there’s money for the down payment and other things. On the contrary, closing costs should be factored in as well since they make up a significant portion of expenses necessary to finalize the sale.

Buyers can ask the seller for help with covering the closing costs by way of seller assist. The seller can then step in and provide the buyer with whatever is needed. Usually, first-time buyers come up short financially at closing because they don’t know what to expect in terms of closing costs. As a result, they fail to budget enough money to cover the additional fees.

How Does A Seller’s Assist Work?

A seller’s assist is a commission paid by the seller of a property to the buyer. It is also sometimes called a selling concession or seller’s contribution. The seller’s assistance can be used to help cover a variety of costs associated with buying a home. Such as the down payment, closing costs, or even prepaid expenses.

In most cases, the seller’s assist is limited to 3% of the purchase price of the home. For example, on a $300,000 home, the seller’s assist would be capped at $9,000.

Sellers Assist Work

What Are the Pros and Cons of Seller Assist?

There are a few pros and cons to using seller assist.

On the pro side, you could pay less out of pocket for closing costs, make a higher offer while having more manageable closing costs, and require less cash at closing.

On the con side, you could end up paying more over the life of the loan with concessions than without; if you’re in a competitive market. Your offer could be declined by attaching concessions, and there is a slight relative increase in closing costs indexed to the sale price. Overall, using seller assistance can be advantageous depending on your specific situation.

Seller Concession vs. Price Reduction – What’s the Difference?

Most sellers are willing to negotiate on price, but there’s a big difference between reducing the price of your home and offering buyer concessions. So, what’s the difference?

When you reduce the price of your home, you’re simply lowering the asking price to make it more attractive to buyers.

This could be because your home has been on the market for a while and you’re getting desperate or because you’re aware of some flaws that might turn buyers off. Whatever the reason, a price reduction is just that — a reduction in the asking price.

The seller’s assistance, on the other hand, is a concession the seller offers to sweeten the deal. Common examples include paying for part of the buyer’s closing costs or providing a home warranty.

Unlike a price reduction, sellers’ assistance doesn’t lower the actual value of your home. It just makes it more affordable for buyers. In some cases, it can even help you sell your home faster.

So, when you’re negotiating with buyers, be sure to distinguish between these two things. Offering a seller’s assistance can be a great way to make your home more affordable without actually reducing the price – and that could be just what you need to seal the deal.

Can Seller Assist Funds Be Used for the Down Payment?

The seller assist funds can often be used for the down payment on a home. This is because sellers often want to help buyers with the costs associated with buying a home. In many cases, sellers will provide funds to help with the down payment, closing costs, or both.

However, it is important to remember that sellers are not required to provide assistance. Therefore, it is important to ask the seller if they are willing to provide assistance before making an offer on a home.

Additionally, it is important to check with the lender to see if seller assist funds can be used for the down payment before using them. Otherwise, the buyer may not be able to get the loan approved.

Can The Seller Assist Be More Than Closing Costs?

It’s common for sellers to offer buyers a seller’s assist to help with closing costs. But what happens if the seller’s assist exceeds the actual closing costs? Can the seller use the excess funds to pay for other expenses, such as repairs or upgrades?

Unfortunately, the answer is generally no. When a seller offers a seller’s assist, they are specifying that the funds can only be used for closing costs.

Any other expenses would have to be paid for separately. So, if the seller’s assist exceeds the closing costs, the buyer would simply receive a refund for the difference.

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. If both the buyer and seller agree that the excess seller’s assist funds can be used for another purpose, then it may be possible to make it happen. However, it’s important to get everything in writing so that there are no misunderstandings later on.

What is the Tax Implication for Seller Assist?

While a seller’s assist can be a great way to help buyers with their closing costs, there are tax implications to be aware of. The seller’s assist is considered income, and as such, it is subject to income tax. Additionally, if the seller’s assist is more than $10,000, it may be subject to the gift tax. As such, it’s important to consult with a tax advisor before offering a seller’s assist to your buyers.

Tax Implication for Seller Assist

What If The Closing Costs Are Lower Than What The Seller Agreed To Pay?

The seller is usually contractually obligated to reimburse the buyer for any closing costs that were paid by the buyer in excess of what the seller agreed to pay. For example, if the closing costs totaled $1,000 and the seller agreed to pay $500, but the buyer paid $1,100, then the seller would be responsible for reimbursing the buyer $100.

What Alternative Options are Available to Seller’s Assist?

Many sellers are familiar with the option of seller assist, in which the seller helps to pay the buyer’s closing costs. However, there are other options available that can be just as beneficial for both parties.

For example, the seller could offer a home warranty, which would cover the cost of repairs for a certain period of time after the sale. Alternatively, the seller could offer a reduced interest rate for the buyer’s mortgage.

These are just a few examples of alternative options that sellers can consider when negotiating with buyers. By being aware of all of their options, sellers can be sure to find an arrangement that works best for them and their homes.

Is Sellers Assist a Good Idea?

There’s no question that sellers’ assistance can be a great help to sellers. By connecting them with qualified buyers and providing them with the resources they need to close the deal. Seller’s assistance can make the process of selling a home much easier.

However, there are also some potential downsides to sellers’ assist that sellers should be aware of. First of all, sellers who use seller’s assist may end up paying more for their home than if they had sold it themselves.

Additionally, sellers who use seller’s assist may not have as much control over the sale of their home, and the process can often be very stressful. Ultimately, whether or not sellers assist is a good idea depends on each individual seller’s situation.