7 Options If Your House Won't Sell
Sometimes, try as you might, your house just won’t sell when you put it on the market. You’ve tried everything you can to move your home quickly—staged it to look great, took amazing photos, and priced it accordingly, all to no avail. For some reason, the listing’s gone stagnant.
"Now what?" you wonder. "What are my options?"
First of all, don’t panic. You do have options if your house isn’t selling. Read on, and we’ll take you through a few of them. Some of them are common sense, but some you may never have heard of before.
Options If Your House Won’t Sell
There are more routes available to you when your house won’t sell than you might believe. All you may need is a simple tweak to raise your chances, although other situations might call for something more drastic. If you aren’t in dire financial straits and facing eviction or foreclosure, opt for the simple solutions first.
1. Go with a different real estate agent.
Perhaps the only thing holding you up is the person trying to sell your home. While most realtors are looking out for their client’s best interests, some of them may just be in it for the paycheck. They might not be skilled enough or just have a lack of experience selling comparable homes in the area you live in.
If your agent isn’t spending the time on your home that it deserves, it’s time to find another. Look for someone who will spend the time on marketing your home properly to a qualified buyer, not just posting it to listing agent websites and crossing their fingers. It is very important in a home sale to make sure you're working with a licensed real estate agent who is informed on the market conditions, in order to increase your chances of receiving multiple offers on your current home and maybe even selling above asking price.
2. Wait a little longer.
If you can afford to do so, postponing the sale for a few months—even a year or more—could be the best option. Some seasons are better for selling because more people are actively looking for new places to live.
Make sure you’re prepared to wait it out before you buy another home as well. If you purchase a new home and move in before the old one sells, you could be hit with double mortgages for quite a while.
If possible, have one person relocate first and rent an apartment in the area. That takes off the financial pressure of a double monthly mortgage payment and gives you time to get to know the new city. You’ll have a cheaper place to stay, and someone will still be on hand to keep the house maintained and staged for open house showings.
If you can’t do that, simply stay put and track the market conditions. See what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for and when they sell. Your realtor will probably be able to help you determine what the best time to sell in your area is.
3. Rent the property out.
Instead of selling your old home outright, consider renting it instead. If you’re moving for work or can’t postpone relocating for another reason, this could be a good option. You’ll be able to get into a new place while still making income from your previous property to cover the monthly payment. There are some caveats with this method, however, including:
- Changing your homeowner’s insurance to a policy that covers landlords and rentals, which can be more expensive
- The cost of maintaining the property while the new tenants are there, which could also get pricey if you’re too far away to see to things in person
- Potential loss of the capital gains tax exemption if you rent the home for longer than three years
This option does come with some perks to offset the risks, though. You could claim a capital loss on your taxes if you sell the home at a loss after renting it out. Maintenance and marketing expenses for the rental property are also tax-deductible, and that includes repairs, insurance premiums, advertising, and landscaping costs.
Make sure that you screen any potential tenants thoroughly if you decide to go this route. Check their income, employment, and rental histories. Also be prepared to accept that, once you’re done renting the property out, it may not look the way you left it.
4. Lower the price.
If your home has been on the market for months, it could be because the price is too high. Even if you’ve made improvements and think you know what they're worth, your property may still be priced higher than similar homes in your area.
If you’re in a down market, as after the housing crash in 2008, you could be better off lowering the price of the home and getting what you can. Especially if you need to move quickly, cutting your losses could be more favorable than waiting it out.
5. Try making some improvements.
There are certain parts of properties we become used to: a cracked baseboard here, a missing tile there. We live with them for so long that they fade into the background. However, they aren't invisible to a prospective buyer.
If some areas of your home could use repair, fixing them up could improve the home value and increase buyer interest. Improvements like minor renovations and landscaping could also boost the home’s curb appeal, reigniting interest where it was stagnant before.
6. Consider a sale-leaseback program.
Programs like these let you sell your house to a company, which then rents it to you while you’re looking for your next home. This helps you avoid the hassle of selling and moving at the same time, allowing you to take time to find your next home.
EasyKnock’s MoveAbility program lets you do exactly that. They purchase your home then rent it back to you for up to a year while you look for a new property. When you’re ready to sell, they go through one of their realtors to close quickly, usually in 13 days. This program does not include the option to buy back your home later on.
7. Try a “sell-and-stay” program.
EasyKnock’s Sell and Stay program is similar to its MoveAbility program, but you can change your mind and buy back your home at any point during the lease option. Or, you can go through EasyKnock’s realtors to sell it quickly, again typically in 13 days. This program could be a good option for you if you need a little more cash and time before you move.
If your house hasn’t sold yet, don’t panic! Try one of these options to help solve your problem and get your family back on the road to owning your next home.
Tom BurchnellProduct Marketing Director
Tom Burchnell, Director of Digital Product Marketing for EasyKnock, holds an MBA & BBA in Marketing from University of Georgia and has 6 years of experience in real estate and finance. In his previous work, he spent time working with one of the largest direct lenders in the SouthEast.