Over the last couple of years, the Houston real estate market — like many others around the country — has been red hot. Homeowners have listed their property and received full price offers within hours. In some cases, bidding wars have even awarded sellers more than their asking price.
In recent months, the larger real estate market has stabilized somewhat. It remains a seller’s market, but homes in many regions are sitting a bit longer than in years past.
If your house has been sitting for weeks or even months without receiving any competitive offers, however, there’s probably a reason. Do some investigation so you can make adjustments, if possible, and smarter decisions in the future.
Here’s Why Your Home Isn’t Selling
Every situation is unique, of course, but if you’ve had trouble trying to unload your home in a seller’s market, one or more of the following issues is likely in play:
- Priced too high. Are you being too greedy about your asking price? As hot as the market has been in recent years, it’s awfully tempting to throw out a high number and see if you get any bites. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but if you leave the property above market value for too long, that could inhibit your ability to get any offers at all.
- Too many problems. You don’t absolutely have to fix problems such as a leaky shower or faulty AC unit before selling a home, but if you have too many of them, that’s going to turn prospective buyers off. Most people would rather sink their money into a home that’s move-in ready.
- Excessive clutter. Is there stuff sitting out and draped everywhere? You don’t have to move out before listing your house, but it’s smart to declutter and pack away the majority of your personal belongings. Many buyers will find it hard to see the potential of the home underneath your junk.
- No marketing strategy. Maybe your house is just fine. It might be failing to gather enough leads or corral a decent amount of foot traffic through the property. This can be attributed to a below-average marketing strategy.
- Title problems. If there are title problems with your house, you’re going to have major issues getting buyers to the closing table. The only way to remove this problem is to fix the underlying issues.
- Wrong agent. If they can pass the exams, just about anyone can become a real estate agent. There can be a big difference between a skilled agent and a part-time and inexperienced one, though. Perhaps your agent falls into the latter camp?
Exploring Your Options
If your home isn’t selling, you usually have options. Here are a few of them:
1. Fix the Underlying Problem
If there’s a specific issue that’s preventing you from selling your home, the most obvious solution is to fix it. Whether it’s a tangible concern — such as plumbing problems — or a legal issue, like irregularities with the title, tackling these factors head-on will make your listing more desirable to potential buyers.
2. Lower the Price Below Market Value
Someone will buy your home no matter what’s wrong with it. You might not like what you end up getting for it, but it can be sold.
The key may be to price it below market value and exercise some patience. At some point, a buyer will come along and make you an offer.
3. Wait for a Better Time
Perhaps you don’t have to sell your house right away. If that’s the case, it might be a smart idea to take it off the market for at least a few months and devote your time and energy to other concerns.
Then you can revisit the idea in the future. By that time, it’s possible that various external factors may have shifted. Not only could there be a new crop of buyers on the market, but the market might have improved further.
4. Take on a New Mortgage
Sometimes you need the money desperately. In these situations, the second-best option is to apply for a new mortgage.
“If your need to sell is based on financial reasons, it might make sense to take out a home equity loan, providing you can afford to pay a higher monthly payment,” real estate industry expert Elizabeth Weintraub writes
“If your existing loan is an adjustable-rate mortgage, and a higher interest rate has raised your payment to the extent that you can no longer afford to pay it, you might be able to renegotiate a loan modification plan with your lender or convert that ARM into a fixed-rate mortgage at a lower interest rate.”
5. Rent Instead of Sell
If your house just won’t sell and you don’t want to lower the price below market value, you could try to rent it out. This would allow you to cover the mortgage (and possibly make some additional cash).
Just make sure you know what you can get for the house before you go this route. “You can get a fairly accurate estimate of potential rent revenues by checking out postings in your neighborhood,” Patricia Poladian writes for Money Crashers.
“The online real estate marketplace Zillow uses MLS data and a proprietary formula to estimate rent values on specific homes. Rentometer provides a similar service. You can also talk to a local real estate agent or property management company or check Craigslist to see the going rate in your area.”
Beyond dollars and cents, you have to think about whether you’re willing to let someone else live in your house. The psychological hurdle can be tough for some, but it may not be a problem for you.
Let Green Residential Help
Whether you’re looking to sell your home, rent it out, or buy another one, our friendly and experienced team at Green Residential is here to help. In terms of selling, we operate on a flat-fee rate, which could save you thousands of dollars in commission.
As for renting, our comprehensive property management services will handle all the small details, as well as the big-picture items, so you can rest easy and make better use of your time. For additional information, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us!
We look forward to the opportunity to serve your needs.