When you put your beloved home on the market, you expect it to sell fairly quickly – especially in this market. You view your home as special, safe, warm, and familiar. If you like it, how could someone else not fall in love with it also? Well, it doesn’t always work out that way. As thousands of sellers discover each year, certain properties are difficult to get under contract.
Home Won’t Sell?
Houses can sit stagnant on the market for weeks, months, and even years at a time. There are hundreds of reasons why properties don’t sell, but you can typically boil it down to one of three categories:
- Overpriced. The most obvious problem is that the house is overpriced. If you’re trying to sell your house for $225,000, but all of the comps come in at $200,000, you’re turning away possible buyers. Because you’re so far from a reasonable number, people won’t even make an offer.
- Undesirable. Is there something extremely undesirable about the property? This could be a problem with the property itself – like serious foundation issues. It could also be something independent of the property – such as a massive power line easement running behind the house.
- Lack of demand. In today’s current market, this isn’t likely to be a problem. However, you may find that there’s simply a lack of demand for your home. For example, it’s challenging to sell a $2 million property in a small town where the median sales price is $250,000. It doesn’t matter how nice the home is, you simply don’t have a big pool of prospective buyers.
Within each of these categories, there are dozens of possible explanations and nuances. The key is to understand which ones apply in your situation so that you can formulate a proactive plan that allows you to get the property under contract.
5 Helpful Tips for Selling a Difficult Property
The good news is that even the most difficult properties can be sold. The sales and marketing tactics you use will determine how much you ultimately get in return, but you should eventually see some offers trickle in. Here are a few helpful suggestions to get things moving:
Lower the Asking Price Below Market Value
The first and most obvious method is to lower the asking price of the property. You may even go so far as to lower it significantly below market value (if you really need to sell fast).
When lowering the price, the key is to only do it once. Avoid creeping down and down over many months – taking off $500 here or $2,000 there. Bite the bullet and make a significant enough price change to pique the interest of buyers. This might look like lowering the price from $548,000 to $529,000 (even if it’s worth at least $535,000). Significant drops like this mean your property now fits the criteria of people who previously weren’t looking at you’re listing.
Fix What You Can Control
If there’s something wrong with your property, try to fix it. Foundation issues, for example, can be remediated by hiring a professional to fix the problem and offer a transferrable warranty to the new homeowner. The same goes for issues like old appliances, poor landscaping, dated kitchen features, or a roof that needs to be replaced.
You also have to be self-aware enough to recognize that there are certain things you can’t fix. Using the example above, you can’t get rid of the power line/transformers that run adjacent to your property. You may, however, be able to plant some large evergreen trees to block the sightline.
Enhance Your Offer
How can you sweeten the deal? Are there any out-of-the-box ideas you can use to enhance the offer and make it more attractive to a larger number of prospective buyers? Examples include:
- Paying the closing costs
- Offering to leave all TVs (assuming you have nice ones)
- Pre-paying for two years of home warranty service
- Offering to cover moving costs from the current home
- A certain amount of money to go toward a renovation or repair
- Flexible closing dates
Many of these things don’t cost very much money, yet they entice a buyer to take a second look. And once enough people see the property, it’s inevitable that someone will make an offer.
Attract More Eyeballs
Have you considered that your listing might not have the exposure it needs to attract competitive offers? Gaining more eyeballs on your listing could make a significant difference. Speak with your agent about putting your home on different listing sites, advertising online, leveraging social media, etc.
Offer Seller Financing
If you own your home free and clear, you may consider offering seller financing. This is especially attractive to buyers who have trouble getting traditional financing from a bank. You act as the lender and the buyer actually pays you monthly installments over a set number of years. You typically get to charge a higher-than-average interest rate, which provides a steady stream of income over the life of the deal.
Another option is to offer lease-to-own/rent-to-own terms. Under this agreement, the prospective buyer signs a lease agreement that’s structured so that he has the option of choosing to buy the home after renting for a period of time (typically six months to two years). In addition to rent, the tenant also pays a monthly fee that’s designed to go toward the eventual down payment. If the renter decides he doesn’t want to buy, you can keep all of the money and are instantly released from any obligation to sell to the current tenant.
Let Green Residential Help
The average Houston homeowner ends up spending 6 percent of their selling price on realtor commissions – 3 percent to the selling agent and 3 percent to the buying agent. On a $400,000 home, that can be $24,000 out of your pocket! At Green Residential, we feel that’s excessive. So rather than take the standard 3 percent when one of our clients sells their home, we operate on a flat fee rate that’s fair and predictable. Contact us today to learn more!