I have put together Seven Secrets for selling (or renting for that matter) a sell my house fast when no one else can and this secret is called, “Make Your House Sell Fast by Making it Easy to Buy.” Stay Tuned for More.
(Normal disclaimer, this is not legal, accounting, financial planning advice and you should contact a board certified real estate attorney to be sure the laws in your state allow what you are going to do and to see that you are doing it correctly. All real estate closings should be done by an attorney or licensed closing agency and check out the person you are dealing with.)
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is to lower the price of the house so that it is priced lower than the homes nearby that are similar and have sold in the last six months. This probably will not be a pleasant experience since roughly half of the houses that sell in my area are bank owned properties selling at very low prices. The property appraiser in my county now uses these sale prices to determine appraised value under certain circumstances.
I “discovered” what I consider a better way to accomplish the same end- kicking and screaming-nearly a quarter of a century ago and have been using the technique ever since. At the time Maryan and I were stock brokers in Boca Raton and were looking to move back to Pinellas County to start a stock brokerage business. Problem was we had a house to sell.
Not only was the market bad back then, but the house we owned was one mile away from where they were planning to build a garbage burning incinerator (which we did not know about when we bought the home). Fears of disease from the smoke coupled with the bad housing market had driven sales in our subdivision to near zero.
We knew nothing about real estate. We could not sell it ourselves and turned it over to a real estate agent and moved to Palm Harbor, now owning two homes. Maybe you can relate to that?
A few months after making two sets of payments, the agent called to say they had a buyer with almost no money to put down and could not get a loan. Would we finance?
Knowing nothing about real estate, we were pretty negative. “What if they don’t pay?” “What if they destroy the house?” “What if they leave in the middle of the night?”
I don’t really remember how many “What Ifs” we came up with. And then the real estate agent said, “you need to be able to compare the bad things that are really happening (two sets of payments, two sets of taxes and insurance, bad things happen to vacant houses, you are six hours away, two lawn services, etc.) with the “bad things” that might or might not happen.”
We sold the house. We didn’t have the skills or knowledge to rent it out at that time. Normal closing. Seller signed a mortgage and note to us and started making payments and paying all of the local costs. We went from negative cash flow to a nice positive and everything was fine for a few months.
Then… A check bounced. I was frantic, panicky and had no idea what to do. So we went to a lawyer. I didn’t know I should have a real estate lawyer. A lawyer is a lawyer, I thought. He wrote a letter to the new home owner and said “pay.”
The letter was a little longer than that, but not much. They paid. He charged me $75 for the letter. And I started thinking, “I bet I could have written the letter and saved $75.”