What to Do When Your House Isn’t Selling
It may be that right now isn’t the time to sell; especially if you’re in a buyers market. Perhaps you should take your home off the market and wait for inventory to drop. When there are fewer homes for a buyer. Selling specially tough because buyers expect bargains. You may lose money if you try to negotiate during holiday stresses. If you can afford it, wait until the Spring to sell.
If your need to sell is based on financial needs, it might make sense to take out a home equity loan if you can afford to pay a higher payment monthly. 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.
Consider renting. For a variety of reasons, from job promotions to family-related matters, a home seller might be forced to relocate and leave an existing home behind. Even if you can’t receive enough rent to cover your mortgage payments, paying a small amount of negative cash flow every month might be easier on the pocketbook than forking over thousands of dollars for a vacant house.
Hire a reputable real estate management company to screen tenants and hire people if repairs become necessary. Getting a call from a t
enant at 10 pm is not ideal. Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home and to notify you if they suspect problems.
If you’ve purchased your home within the past few years, it’s possible that you owe more than your home is worth. Talk to a realtor who specializes in short sales; she may be able to negotiate with your lender to accept less than your mortgage balance.
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 sign.
Lease options give a tenant the opportunity to later purchase your home at a predetermined price. For a tenant who is on the fence about buying a home, it lets them live there while deciding whether to buy. Typically, lease options payments are higher than a regular rent payment, which might eliminate negative cash flow for you.
If your employer is transferring you out of town, you might ask about a guaranteed purchase program. Many employers hire relocation companies that offer buy outs for employees. You might not even know that your employer has a relocation program if you don’t ask. Be sure to check out Zillow’s article on If Your Home Won’t Sell..Rent It!