Even though the news commentators and politicians say the housing market has recovered and home sales numbers are rebounding, sellers whose homes have spent months on the market without an offer may not agree. Since many of these homes are being sold to allow the owner to move to another area for work or personal reasons, the unsold home soon begins to feel like an anchor holding them back. If you are the owner of a home that is lagging on the market with no buyer in sight, one or more of the following options may be just what you need to either reinvigorate your sales strategy or help you formulate a workable Plan B that will allow your family to move on with their lives.
Assess the Situation and Make Positive Changes
The first thing to consider when dealing with a home that has been on the market for months without selling is your current marketing strategy. Schedule a meeting with your current real estate professional and ask them to prepare data to illustrate recent sold and listing activity in your neighborhood. Focus on homes that are comparable to yours in size, age, condition and location, especially those were sold very quickly. Examine these closely and look for differences between the way that home was marketed and your current strategy. This will give you important clues that may help your home become more popular with qualified buyers.
Next, ask your real estate professional to walk with you through your home, room by room. Even though they are familiar with your home from the listing process and buyer showings, touring it with you again will help them point out little things that may be hindering the sale. Discuss the current marketing strategy being used and ask your real estate professional what more can be done to create buyer interest in your home.
Lastly, use this meeting to assess the interest and commitment level expressed by your real estate professional. If there have been communication issues in the past or their performance seems lackluster, ask politely to be released from the listing so that you can interview new agents who may offer a better chance for a successful sale.
Helpful Tip: Review the terms of your listing contract carefully before this meeting. In many cases, terminating the listing contract will require special documentation that is signed by both the seller and the listing brokerage. Also, be aware that terminating the listing in some states may leave the homeowner subject to cancellation fees, reimbursement of marketing costs and sales commissions.
Consider Using the Home as an Investment Property
The aftermath of the real estate bubble caused many homeowners to suffer foreclosure and other financial damage. Because they will have to wait several years before they can qualify for new mortgages, many of these families are actively searching for quality rental homes. If your home is located in one of the areas where the real estate bubble exploded or it is in an area that suffers from a higher than average level of unemployment, it could be easier to rent than to sell. Remember, however, that becoming a landlord, especially a long-distance one, can be both stressful and costly.
Reducing the financial risk and stress of using your home as a rental property requires ensuring that tenants are carefully screened and that only well-qualified applicants are placed in the home. In addition, it will be necessary to establish a way to collect rental monies, handle any repairs or maintenance work that needs to be done and ensure that the home remains occupied, especially in freezing weather.
Long distance landlords who need to maintain a steady flow of rental income and minimize risks can best do so if they go to websites and utilize the services of a reputable property management company in the area where the rental home is located. For a small fee, the company can screen applicants, schedule maintenance and repairs in a timely fashion and ensure your rent monies arrive promptly.
Helpful Tip: When interviewing property management companies, have them explain their procedure for screening potential tenants and what options are available if a tenant fails to abide by the terms of the lease, such as eviction.