How to sell your home fast…or not

By glblguy

Back in September, I wrote an article providing tips on how to sell your home fast in a buyer’s market. These tips and suggestions were not only things I had personally done to the home we’re trying to sell, but also tips and suggestions from multiple real estate agents, friends, family and a significant amount of research and reading that I did on the internet.

While I still think these are excellent tips and things that really must be done in order to sell your home in the current stale market, they weren’t enough. We listed our home in early August and haven’t received a single offer yet. Right before school started was a fairly active time. We were receiving on average 2-3 showings a week. The problem was that we listed the home before we had done any of the things I suggested in my article. Once school started, showings went down to about 1 per week and then continued to slow as we moved closer to the election and the Holiday season.

No showings in 3 weeks

As of today, we haven’t had a single showing in 3 weeks. Our home is pristine: New carpet all around, complete exterior repainting and repairs, complete interior repainting, everything works and it’s clean. Not only is it clean, it’s empty. Now granted, maybe that might hurt it a bit, but only if people were seeing it, which they aren’t.

Is my agent not doing her job?

My first though was to question my selling agents ability and experience. After all, she is new. We discussed the lack of showings and I was surprised to find out that her entire office hasn’t had a single showing in two weeks.¬† This isn’t a small little office either, it’s Remax and they have more than 10 agents. Talking to a few friends that are also trying to sell their homes, they haven’t had any showings either.

The market hasn’t slowed, the market has stopped. Granted it is close to the holiday season and real estate sales tend to slow way up anyway, even in a good market. But with our current market, it’s just not moving at all.

Alternatives to selling

Considering I am not able to sell, we’re looking now at renting. This is something I had seriously considered before, but frankly chose not to as I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle. I’m not really interested in real estate form an investment perspective, or should I say I wasn’t until recently. Now? Well, given the fact I can’t move my current home and I’m having to pay two mortgage payments, two sets of electric bills, twice the home owners insurance, and property taxes on two homes…I think it’s time to branch out my investing options.

Another option¬† would be to wait and sell later. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s not a good time to sell: Winter time is generally slower and the holiday season is slower. I could certainly financially afford to wait, but I just feel like I am literally burning money each month paying for a home I’m not using.

If you’ve been wondering about whether or not all of the nightly news features about the down housing market are true. Wonder no more, they are dead on. Houses just aren’t selling right now because there just aren’t any buyers.

I guess I’ll be calling my agent later this afternoon to discuss renting. But, let’s look on the bright side: 1) I might be able to sell in a year or two and get far more for my home and 2) I’ll have something new to write about here on Gather Little by Little!

Have any suggestions or helpful tips for me about renting? Are you trying to sell your home and feeling my pain? Add a comment!

Photo by: TheTruthAbout…


12 Responses (including trackbacks) to “How to sell your home fast…or not”

  1. No Debt Plan Says:

    If you do it right, I think being a landlord can be alright. On the other hand if you do it wrong, you will get burned and it will end up costing you money in repairs.

    Be very, very careful with your screening. The most well meaning people can be complete dolts.

  2. Christina Says:

    We’ve had our house on the market for one year and 8 months. Our biggest mistake was hiring the same realtor that sold us our house. She had set the price too high for almost the first year we had it on the market. The market was still great but she had priced us too high and we didn’t realize it. We switched to a great realtor, but with the market, nothing is selling. We had 3 offers, but financing didn’t work out for two of them, and the other time the whole thing went to the closing table and the guy decided to move out of state. So we feel the pain big time. We are renting because we don’t want to buy another house until ours sells!

  3. Kacie Says:

    I’m sorry it isn’t working the way you had hoped.

    This is purely semantics, but stop thinking of your old house as a “home.” It’s not. It’s a house. A building. And now, it’s turning into a money pit.

    Perhaps nobody is buying in your old town. But, maybe you’re right — maybe you need a new real estate agent.

    Either way, forget what you “might be able to” sell it for in a year or two. Do you really want to be carrying two mortgages for that long? If you can afford to pay those dual expenses without it seriously hurting you, then go for it. But, realize that it could take even longer for it to sell. If that’s the case, consider the possibility of you and your family losing both houses.

    Is the house priced too high? Seriously? Because if it is, you aren’t going to get any offers.

    Be sure it’s priced as low as you can possibly go. Sell that thing. Be done with it. It’s not going to make you rich, but it could really make you broke.

    If that doesn’t work and you do decide to be a landlord, it might be best to go through a company. You won’t be in the same city so you won’t be able to monitor the goings-on of the house as easily. Plus, they can help with screening the tenants.

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  4. Forest Says:

    I tried to sell my house this Summer and it didn’t happen. So I’m renting it out (haven’t written a post about that yet, though). We actually just found a renter and signed the lease, so I’m sure I’ll have lots to write about on my blog as I jump into the real estate investment business. I’m a little nervous, but hoping that everything will work out in the end! Good luck to you!

  5. Ron Says:

    Sorry to hear about the difficulties with selling your old house. I did hear some savvy real estate people say that you can sell any house at any time as long as the price is correct for the market. They suggested that if you can afford it, in todays market you need to reduce your asking price 30% below the market value. The house will sell quickly. But, If you are like many others and used your old house as an ATM or took an equity loan to help buy the new house, you are in for a rocky road.

  6. Gina Says:

    Is there a Dave Ramsey ELP real estate person in your old neighborhood? To piggy back on “Ron’s” comment about dropping the asking price … Dave would tell you to drop the price too to get rid of it.

    Good luck.

  7. Dan Says:

    If you rent, remember that it’s far better not to have a tenant than to have the wrong tenant.
    1) Don’t rent to friends or family or anyone you would feel uncomfortable kicking out if they don’t pay.
    2) Check their credit and ask for references. Also, check to see how long they’ve worked at their jobs, what their future plans are for buying, why they are renting vs. buying, etc.
    3) Don’t expect to make any money renting. You hope your cash flow will pay the mortgage, insurance, and upkeep on the house, then cash in when you eventually sell the house. This goes hand in glove with the idea of having good tenants rather than just having tenants. Good ones keep up the house. Bad ones trash it.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!

  8. keri Says:

    I found this post interesting because we’re currently in the opposite boat – we moved cross country from Raleigh to WA and we have been trying to rent our home out there for almost 3 months now with no tenants and no applications. Our home is priced to rent cheaply too, hundreds under market value with other incentives. It’s a fully loaded only 18 month old house.

    Because of this we’re actually now turning to sell. We’re hoping to price it to sell quickly, the first time and we’ll probably pay 10-20k out of pocket with commissions and comps by the time it’s done but it’s well worth it to no longer have to hassle with it.

    Good luck! =)

  9. Ron Says:

    A couple of other thoughts,

    1. If you turn the house into a rental, there may be a stigma that goes along with that when you try and sell it….

    2. If you have you house listed for a long period of time, there also may be a stigma with that for new buyers….

    3. IMHO, never a good idea to even look at a new house until you have sold you old one. But sometimes, to get the house of your dreams this rule takes a back seat to emotions.

  10. MITBeta @ Don't Feed The Alligators Says:

    My parents are going through this right now and just signed a lease with tenants last week to rent their old house.

    There’s a lot of great tax benefits to being a landlord, but be careful if you take some of Dan’s advice above. You have to “participate” in the management of the property in order for it to be considered “passive” income rather than “investment” income for tax purposes (and it makes a BIG difference). One way to accomplish this is to make the final decision on any tenants instead of just letting a management company make the decision for you.

    Good luck, you’re not in an enviable situation.

  11. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    At the moment the lettings/renting market is quite bouyant mainly because people are scared to buy for fear of going into negative equity, where the value of their mortgage is greater than the value of their actual property. I’d consider renting out for sure until the market stabalises a little more

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