House won’t sell, what should you do?


Regardless of whether the real estate market is a hot seller’s market or a slow buyer’s market, there are always some homes that just don’t sell.

When I have one of those listings that just isn’t getting showings, or is getting a lot of showings but no offers, it means that I need to have a candid conversation with my clients to discuss their options.

Most investors can probably relate to this problem on some level. If you do more than a few transactions per year, it’s only a matter of time until you get a property under contract that just won’t freaking sell.

Options for Those Who Can’t Sell Their House

1.) Sell for the Right Price

For five years, I put many thousands of dollars into home improvements,  as well as countless hours of our own labor. While we knew that home improvement is something that should be undertaken because we wanted the results (and not just the increased resale value), we still couldn’t help but get dollar signs in our eyes when we started planning our move.

2.) Create a Better Property Listing

The quality of your property listing can have a monumental impact on the “sale-ability” of your property. In many cases, you will have one shot at making a first impression people, so if you aren’t putting your best foot forward when your listing is first published – you can lose A LOT of would-be buyers. I’ve already gone into great detail about this in this post, but essentially – the components of a great real estate listing boil down to a few key things:

Use Photos That Are HIGH QUALITY

It really should go without saying, but for some reason – a lot of sellers just don’t get this.

Images are extremely important to a listing. We all know this, so why on earth don’t we all use the best possible images we can produce?? If anything is worth a little extra time and money,this is it.

Write a Powerful Property Description

Learn to tap into people’s emotions. Understand which aspects of your property are truly remarkable and hit on those features in great detail. Remember – at this stage of the game (when people are getting their first glance at your property) you’re selling a dream, so write about your property in a way that makes it sound like a dream come true.

Use a Headline That Will Get Noticed

When you’re advertising on websites like Craigslist, the importance of your headline cannot be emphasized enough. The name of the game with headlines is to catch your buyer’s attention (to the point that they will actually click on your ad). If people aren’t enticed to look at your listing in the first place, what’s the point of creating a good listing in the first place?

Create a Promotional Video

Videos are becoming a major player in real estate sales. A kind of virtual tour help you to envision yourself in a property? Does it communicate the property’ value? I’ll let you be the judge.

3.) Promote Your Listings More Frequently

When you’re dealing with websites like Craigslist, Backpage and eBay Classifieds (where ads get pushed off the front page pretty quickly), you MUST renew these ads on a regular basis in order to stay in front of people. If you don’t keep this information near the top of each list, a lot of people aren’t going to see it – this is just a fact of life. I hate to say it – but most buyers aren’t going to scroll down to page 50 just to see your listing…  if you’re not front and center, you won’t be seen by the masses – so be sure you’re staying on top of this whenever possible.

4.) Become a Landlord

In some ways, renting out your home can be a happy solution to your sales woes. However, there’s a great deal to know about being a landlord before you jump in.

5.) Offer Your Home on a Lease Option

You might talk to your real estate agent about doing a lease option purchase versus an outright sale. Lease options are appealing to borrowers who, for a variety of reasons, might not be in a position to purchase a home through conventional financing. Maybe they can’t decide whether to buy or rent. Make sure your lawyer reviews all documents before you agree to a lease option.

6.) Consider a Short Sale

If you’ve purchased your home within the past few years, it’s possible that you owe more than your home is worth. A real estate agent who specializes in short sales might be able to negotiate with your lender to accept less than your mortgage balance.

7. Go Into Foreclosure

In some cases, it may seem as though allowing the bank to foreclose on your house is your only option. Even though foreclosure gets you out of your housing mess, this is an alternative that you must work hard to avoid. Most people understand that foreclosure has major credit consequences – but not many realize that the hit to your credit might cost you your credit cards. After a foreclosure, the former homeowner may find credit cards cancelled or limits lowered. In addition, it takes years (generally three to seven) before banks are willing to take a chance on a mortgage for a homeowner who has foreclosed on a former home.

Foreclosure also does not necessarily mean that a homeowner can walk away without spending any cash. In most states, banks can legally go after homeowners for the deficiency, which is the difference between what the bank was able to get for the home and what was still owed on the mortgage. And even those homeowners who live in a state with anti-deficiency laws still must answer to the bank if they have ever taken out a second loan or refinanced their mortgage in order to cash out some equity. Anti-deficiency laws do not protect homeowners in those cases.

Anything that a homeowner can do to avoid foreclosure is ultimately the best financial decision, as foreclosure can continue to negatively affect finances for years to come.

Final Word

It may not be possible to sell your home within the desired time-frame or for the price that you would like, but accepting that fact and making your decisions accordingly can help you reach the best financial outcome for your situation. Assuming the worst about the housing market is most likely the safest course of action for your bottom line.

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