Thursday, June 25, 2009

My home is not selling. What do I do?

So you've painted your home, landscaped the yard, advertised all over, even lowered your price, but your home is still not selling. What do you do now?

We get asked this question more often lately and there is no perfect answer, but surprisingly there are options out there that people realize. First, take the time to make sure you've covered your based and given your home the best chance:
  1. Is your house priced properly? This is the number one reason homes don't sell. Despite all the love and money you may have put in a house it is only worth what some one will pay for it in comparison to all their other options. How to price a home.
  2. How's the curb appeal? How your home shows is all about details. Surprisingly most home sellers don't take the time to make sure they have followed all the steps to prepare their house for sale. To review the most important steps, look over our home preparation checklist.
  3. Did you market it enough? In a buyers market exposure is more important than ever. Taking the time to write a marketing plan and making sure your home is seen by the most buyers, using a combination of signs, fliers, online exposure and listing in the MLS.

If you have given it your best shot and there still are no buyers in sight here are 5 options for home sellers to consider other than a traditional sale.
  1. Seller financed Mortgage. If you are one of the 30% of home owners who own their house free and clear you might consider a seller financed mortgage. If this is an option you can get a better interest rate than T-bills at the same time you make your house more attractive to buyers. If you can't afford to carry the whole note because of you owe a mortgage of your own, or you want most of the money up front, you can offer to carry the cost of the down payment as a seller financed second. This opens the door up to many more buyers as banks tighten loan requirements. Learn more on seller financing in these articles by Bob Irwin
  2. Lease to Own. There is a lot of discussion on Rent to Own or Lease to Own transactions these days, but there are a number of drawbacks also. But for some sellers this can be a good option. If you have to move but can't sell, writing a lease to buy contract can cover your monthly mortgage costs and give the buyer a chance to build up the cash needed for a down payment. But there are some risks which are well covered in this article about Rent to Own Options
  3. Rent. If your located in a major metropolitan area or a vacation state you don't have to rent full time to get some income for you home. (Vacation rental by owner) lets you rent a house by the week and vary the price you charge based on season. This added income can help you hold on until the market turns around.
  4. Trade it. The barter economy has been growing and now there are even homes you can trade your for. Check out and see what is available.
  5. If nothing else works...Blog! At least you'll have a way to express your self to the world!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

DOJ continues to support Flat Fee MLS

The United States Department of Justice reached a settlement today with a local South Carolina MLS Board - the CMLS, opening the way for consumers to list on that MLS for a Flat Fee and save thousands on commissions.

This is important because it sets a precedent protecting the rights of consumers pay for specific services when selling a home creating significant savings on commissions.

"For most Americans, purchasing a home is the most significant purchase of their life. This settlement demonstrates the Department of Justice’s continuing commitment to preserve competition in the real estate brokerage industry."

- Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division.

Read the full DOJ Press release here

The trend toward lower commissions and more consumer control of the selling process has a powerful ally in the Department of Justice and we expect them to continue to support consumers rights and interests.

At Owners we strongly believe individuals should be rewarded for doing most of the work when they sell their homes and should only pay for the services they need. Since 1996 we have been at the forefront of helping consumers control their own sale and save, and it is nice to have the United States Government on our side in this effort.