Sell or rent out your old home? Considerations

You have decided to move out of the home…real estate you have owned for several years. Your first thought is to sell it. But after a comment from a friend, a tip from your real estate agent, or several months on the market with nary a nibble, you start having second thoughts: maybe you should keep your home and rent it out instead of selling it.

Real estate can be viewed as an excellent long-term investment, so why not get some tenants to pay off the rest of your mortgage? After that, you will have an asset that generates passive income for life.

Becoming a landlord is not this simple, but it may be a viable option provided you think through your individual situation and resources.

First you need to consider why keeping your old home as a rental property might make sense.

  1. It is an affordable way to enter the rental market.

When you do not need the equity in your existing home to purchase your new home, converting your real estate to a rental property may be a great opportunity.

“If you go out and purchase rental property, you typically need a 20 percent down payment. Your current home can be converted with no funds and no change in your mortgage terms,” said Trina Larson, a Certified Public Accountant and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty in Bethesda, Maryland. Interest rates on loans to acquire investment property are typically higher than interest rates on loans for a personal residence, so if you have a favorable rate on your current mortgage, keeping it might make sense.

  1. You do not want to take a loss on your home sale.

If your home’s real estate market value has dropped since you bought it and selling it would result in a loss, you might want to hold it because it may increase in value while you pay down the mortgage during your holding period, Larson said.

The combination of more equity and, hopefully, increased real estate market value will give you the option to sell your home for a gain later—or continue to rent it out if you are enjoying being a landlord.

“Over the long term, prices have increased in most areas,” Larson said. “Even if there is little to no increase, you will have equity because the mortgage balance is decreasing, and you are using your renters’ money to make that happen.”

  1. Rents in your area are high.

When market rents — what you can earn from renting your home — exceed your monthly mortgage payment, renting your old home might make sense. Check rents in your area with real estate sites like Zillow, Rent.com, and HotPads. You will want to come out ahead or at least break even after paying all the other expenses associated with owning the home and leasing it out.

If one or more of these reasons applies to your situation, consider what the experts say novice landlords should know before listing their former home as a rental…

  1. You must adopt a business mindset.

“The number one question anyone should ask to determine whether they should sell their home or turn it into a rental property is: Am I ready to become the CEO of my own small business?” said Thomas Miller, a Realtor with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, D.C. He added that homeowners should also ask themselves, “Am I ready to take full ownership of all things related to profitability, including strategy, expense management, customer relations, operations, and financial planning? Am I really fully prepared to treat this like a business and not a fun hobby?”

Most people who jump into being a landlord do so without thinking through these questions, Miller said, and it is possible to get in over your head and lose a lot of money if you do not treat it like a business and focus on profit. At a minimum, you need to understand basic concepts of finance such as revenue and expenses, how to make a financial forecast, how to keep track of expenditures, what the market rate for rent is in your area, and how to make a budget. You also need to have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.

  1. Rent minus mortgage does not equal profit.

The math for making money by renting out your old home might not be as simple as you think.

“People make the mistake of thinking the money they will make is the rent they receive minus the mortgage payments,” said real estate investor Mark Ferguson, who owns 16 rental properties and writes for the real estate blog Invest Four More. “However, there will be maintenance and vacancy expenses when you rent a home that can be 10 to 20 percent of the rent. Losing money every month on a rental can be a very stressful process, especially if the reason you are not selling is because you have no money to take a loss on the property.”

Maintenance expenses include everything you would have to pay as a homeowner, but you may need to do things like repaint the walls and replace the carpet more often because of the additional wear and tear renters often cause compared with homeowners. You will need a landlord’s insurance policy , which may cost 25 percent more than a standard homeowners policy.

“Some investors view future appreciation as part of the overall return and don’t mind losing a small amount of money on a monthly basis if they think they can make it up in a rapidly rising market, but that is risky,” said Tom Hume, a 23-year veteran Realtor with The Hume Group in north Tacoma, Washington. “Markets do go down.”

If your house is already paid for, however, you could earn a profit every month indefinitely. Another option is to leverage your investment by refinancing it and using the extra money to buy more houses to rent out and pay down in time, Hume said.

  1. Management costs time and/or money.

“If you have never been a landlord, you will want to either hire a property manager or learn how to market a rental, screen tenants, and where to get lease paperwork,” Hume said. Researching how to be a landlord is very doable, or you can hire a property manager for a fee of about 10 percent of your gross rental income. Hume advised shopping around, because some property managers will charge an additional 10 percent of the first year’s rent just to place the tenant.

Management tasks consist of determining how much rent to charge, collecting rent, collecting and refunding security deposits, finding and screening tenants, managing leases, keeping records, evicting bad tenants, and dealing with complaints, repairs, and emergencies.

Miller said it is important to have a good sense of self-awareness regarding what tasks you feel comfortable handling and which should be delegated to professionals.

  1. You must be able to qualify for two mortgages.

Assuming that your old home is not paid in full and that you cannot afford to pay cash for your new home, you will need to qualify for two mortgages to make your rental plan work.

Lenders may not count the rent from your former home as income until you have established a track record, Hume said.

Even if lenders do count your rental income, they may only count 75 percent of it to account for vacancies, Larson said, which could hurt your ability to qualify for a mortgage on your new home. (Related: Retiring with a mortgage )

  1. Choose your tenants wisely, but plan for wear and tear regardless.

As a landlord, you will need to get up to speed on local fair housing laws to make sure you do not violate any rules in advertising or screening tenants. Before accepting a prospective tenant, you should run a credit check, verify their bank account balances, speak with their employer, and speak with their previous landlord. You should also learn your local eviction laws to see how difficult it would be to manage a worst-case scenario and whether it is something you think you could handle.

Larson offered several strategies for minimizing wear and tear as well as its associated costs:

  • Do a walkthrough with the tenant before the lease begins and document all issues.
  • Collect an adequate deposit up front. The amount you can charge is limited by your state or municipality as well as by what people are willing to pay. Two months’ rent is more than most tenants will pay, but 1.5 months’ rent will cover damages and protect you if the tenant moves out without making their final rent payment. Also, the higher the deposit, the more incentive the tenant has to take care of the property.
  • Check on your property periodically. Larson said she once talked to a woman who rented to college students. By checking the units once a month and asking the students to pay immediately for repairs and damages, she avoided having damage in excess of their deposits.

The bottom line

Deciding to rent out your old home for extra income or to avoid selling at a loss could be a great choice that helps you build wealth. It could also be a huge mistake, if you do not understand that being a landlord requires a particular skill set and a commitment of your time and/or money. You also need to understand the complete scope of expenses that will eat into your potential profits and calculate whether your rental endeavor is likely to pay off. Indeed for some it may be advisable to consult a financial professional before taking the landlord plunge.

Sell Your House As Is With a Quick Sale

House Buyers of America is one of the largest buyers of homes in America. And we buy your house As-Is. Period. No matter your situation, no matter how much repairs it needs, if you want to get your house sold, let House Buyers of America’s team of professionals buy your house fast and efficiently. With a process that is focused on getting you out of your home as quickly as possible, getting you an all-cash offer and liquidating your home, we ensure you get what you need; a quick sale, in cash for your house As Is.

The Benefits of House Buyers

Being able to sell your house fast does not seem possible to most home owners. You look at traditional real estate sales and many only see an endless process that can take months or even up to a year. When House Buyers of America buys your home the process is quick and efficient and much quicker than a traditional sale. Here are the reasons why the process is painless and fast.

Sell Your House As Is, We Buy Houses As Is!

Have you run into problems where you cannot sell your house because it has too many things that need to be repaired? Whether you have a leaky basement, poor landscaping, unfinished renovations, repairs needed such as a new roof, painting or brick pointing, House Buyers of America will buy your house. We buy houses As Is, literally, in any condition. It could be labelled condemned and we would still buy it.

Do Not Worry About Repairs

House Buyers of America has an expert construction team. As a company that buys a large volume of homes in the DC, Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) area we are able to repair or renovate your old-styled or dilapidated home for about half of what the average home owner could do, because of our economies of scale. With our expert architects and construction crews you never have to worry about making a repair or renovation before the sale again. With an in-house construction team, we are able to repair homes at around 50%-60% less cost than what typical homeowner would pay, so you can sell us your house As Is and avoid the cost and hassle of doing the renovations on your own.

Uninhabitable? No Problem

Condemned homes present a serious problem for many people to sell. Without the availability of traditional financing, you may not be able to get your home sold. Have House Buyers of America buy your home for cash; whether you have a mold infestation, overrun by pests or a structurally unsound home, it can still be sold to House Buyers of America.

Cash Offers

One of the biggest reasons why we can buy houses so quickly is that House Buyers of America is highly capitalized and can offer you quick cash for your house. If your house needs major repairs, then we will buy it for cash and do the needed repairs ourselves. Selling your house, no longer has to be contingent on waiting for the buyer to get financing or contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home. With a cash offer from House Buyers of America you get the cash you need and the equity out of your home as quickly as possible.

Streamlined Paperwork

With a full office staff committed to buying houses, House Buyers provides a trained team of experts to ensure the process is painless and efficient. From a cash offer within 10 minutes of speaking with you, you are offered a guaranteed sale.

No Commission

Selling a messy and old home that requires a lot of repair can take a lot of time and cost in addition to the 6% real estate commission. With House Buyers of America, we charge no fees for our part of the process. With no fees or commissions from House Buyers, you can sell your house to us and retain more of the value of your equity for a quick sale.

Selling Your Home for Any Other Reason

Those that cannot wait for the traditional real estate sale include a number of situations that can lead to you simply wanting to get equity from your home now. With House Buyers of America, we buy your house, you sell your house; everyone wins.

Career Relocation

Has your company relocated you again? In a job that moves or transfers locations every few years, House Buyers of America has become a great alternative. Why wait months for a traditional sale, trying to make a deal long distance and not sure whether you are getting the best deal? With House Buyers of America, you can liquidate your home quickly and get equity you need immediately to start looking for a new home in your new location.

Messy Divorce

Not always do relationships end with the partners separating their assets amicably. In a messy divorce where assets are contested and the home is a major barrier to the divorce, sometimes the best option is to simply liquidate the equity and split the profits equally in as short amount of time as possible. As the single largest asset in most marriages, it removes the most contentious issue within weeks instead of months, helping you get on with your divorce and your life. With emotions running high during this time period, a quick sale is important and helps you remove yourself from having to deal with your partner. Forget about renovating, finding a REALTOR or dealing with open houses; get cash now for your home.

Best Places to Find Tenants for Your Rental

Landlords need tenants, but where do you find these tenants? When you want to fill a vacancy, you want to make sure prospective tenants know your property is available. Here are seven of the best places to find renters for your property.

Rental Websites

There are endless places you can advertise an apartment for rent online and many of them are free. Many of these sites allow a tenant to narrow their search based on area, price and number of bedrooms and baths. Some great places to advertise a vacancy include:

  • Zillow Rental Manager- Allows you to post a free ad as long as you have an account and the ad will automatically populate to other rental sites such as Hotpads and Trulia.
  • Craigslist- Landlords can post apartments for rent in a specific area of the country with a free account. Photos of the apartment can also be included.
  • Cozy- Cozy is a resource for landlords with many free features, including apartment listing. The listing will then populate to sites such as Realtor.com and Doorsteps.
  • Socialserve.com- This site can help you reach the proper market if you’re interested in accepting government subsidized housing, such as Section-8

Social Media

Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Create a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a Twitter account for your company if you have one. Otherwise, use your personal accounts to let people know you have a property for rent.

You can list your property on Facebook’s marketplace, post a status update on your account, post a photo of the rental on Instagram, or send out a tweet to your followers via Twitter.

The Newspaper

Depending on the area of the country where your rental is located, the newspaper may be a viable option for advertising your rental.You will want to advertise your vacancy on a weekend, and on a Sunday in particular. This is when newspapers see the most traffic.

Rental ads in newspapers are tiny, so you’ll only have a few lines to make your property stand out. Use abbreviations for words like bedroom (BR) and washer/dryer (W/D) to save space. Placing an ad in the newspaper will cost a little, but it’s a good way to increase exposure for your property.

Local Bulletin Boards

Put up flyers for your rental in the community where your property is located. This can include colleges, grocery stores, churches, community centers, laundromats, and bus stops.

People will be passing by the flyer quickly, so use a bold headline and large color photographs to catch their interest. Include tear-offs with your contact information on the bottom of the flyer so people can grab them on the run. These tear-offs can also include the property address and a little information, such as the number of bedrooms.

Word of Mouth

Don’t underestimate the power of the spoken word. Let current tenants know you have a vacancy. They might have a sister, cousin, or brother who is looking for a new place to live.

Tell everyone you know that you have a property for rent. Always have flyers with you so you can hand them out if the opportunity presents itself. You can even offer a referral fee to give a greater incentive.

“For Rent” Sign at the Property

Many tenants move to a new property within their current area. Posting a for rent sign at your property will catch this type of tenant. Others passing by might be interested or might know someone who’s looking to rent in the area. Make sure a phone number can be clearly read from the street.

Pass the Responsibility to a Realtor

Brokers typically charge a commission of about one month’s rent for their services, and sometimes even more. This might be the most expensive way to advertise your property, but it can save you a lot of the hassle and headaches that come with dealing with prospective tenants yourself. Your property will also be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which will increase exposure.

Respond Quickly to Prospective Tenants

You should respond to prospective tenants immediately. If you don’t call or email back promptly, another landlord or Realtor will.

You can set up a free Google Voice account which will assign you a new phone number that can be set to ring to your existing phone lines if you don’t want to give out your personal number. You can even set up a toll-free number for a small monthly fee, including voicemail, for your rentals using websites such as Kall8.com. Similar options exist for email.

Always Screen Prospective Tenants

You must screen every tenant who expresses interest in renting your property. Make sure you have the same qualifying standards for all tenants and become familiar with the Fair Housing Laws so you are not accused of discrimination.

How to Buy a House With Bad Credit: 6 Tips

You’re tired of writing rent checks to your landlord each month. You’d rather buy a house and start building equity with each monthly mortgage payment. But what if you have bad credit? Can you still buy a home with a low FICO® credit score?

Maybe. But you’ll likely face two requirements:

  • You’ll have to accept a higher interest rate.
  • You might have to come up with a larger down payment.

What counts as a bad credit score? That depends. FICO credit scores range from a low of 300 to a perfect score of 850. Lenders consider scores of 740 or higher to be top ones. If your score is under 640, though, you might struggle to persuade lenders to loan you mortgage money.

Buying a home can be challenging. And, in 2018, the new tax code may impact the financial equation on how much house you can afford or whether you can afford a house.

Here are six tips to follow if you want to buy a house even if you have bad credit.

Step 1: Find out your credit score

It’s time to check up on your credit score. You can get your FICO credit score for free in a lot of places, including some banks and credit card companies.

Keep in mind you have three credit scores, one each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the major credit reporting agencies. It’s a good idea to find out all three.

Step 2: Check for errors on your credit report

Your credit score is calculated from credit data in your credit report. Think of your credit report as a history of how you’ve handled borrowed money. You might have errors on your credit report. If so, they could potentially hurt your credit score.

You can get a free copy credit of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. How? Go to AnnualCreditReport.com. You want to make sure your information is accurate and up to date.

If you find any errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureaus.

Step 3: Be willing to pay higher interest

You can still qualify for a mortgage with a lower credit score if you’re willing to pay higher interest rates. Lenders charge credit-challenged borrowers higher rates as a way to protect themselves. Lenders know that borrowers with low credit scores have a history of paying bills late or missing payments altogether.

A higher interest rate does equal a higher mortgage payment. Here’s a comparison between two rates:

Scenario: You take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 with an interest rate of 3.77 percent.

Payment: Your monthly payment, not including property taxes or homeowners’ insurance, would be about $928.

Scenario: You take out that same mortgage but with an interest rate of 5 percent.

Payment: Your monthly payment, again not including taxes and insurance, would jump to about $1,073, or a difference of $145 a month or $1,740 a year.

Step 4: Apply for an FHA loan

Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as FHA loans, come with lower credit requirements. You can qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage with a down payment requirement of just 3.5 percent of your home’s final purchase price if you have a FICO credit score of at least 580.

There are some catches here:

  • First, FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, but they are originated by traditional mortgage lenders.
  • Even though lenders can originate FHA-insured loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 doesn’t mean they have to. They can still require higher credit scores.

FHA loans also come with a financial penalty. With traditional mortgage loans, you can cancel your private mortgage insurance after building up enough equity. With FHA loans, you can’t eliminate private mortgage insurance throughout the entire life of your loan.

The added expense? The cost of private mortgage insurance varies depending on the size of your loan, but you can expect to pay about $40 to $83 a month for it on a mortgage of $100,000.

Step 5: Come up with a larger down payment

Lenders might be willing to take a chance on you if you come up with a larger down payment.

It’s possible today to get a mortgage with down payments of 3 percent or lower. But for those with bad credit, larger down payments can make the difference between an approval or a rejection.

The logic here is similar to why borrowers with bad credit are charged higher interest rates. Two things happen when you put down more money upfront:

  • You show your lender that you are willing to take on more of the risk in a home loan.
  • The lender believes you are less likely to walk away from a mortgage when you invest more of your own money into the purchase from the beginning.

If you can come up with a down payment of 20 percent or more on your home purchase, you’ll increase your odds of earning an approval even if your credit isn’t sparkling.

Step 6: Rebuild your credit

Your credit might be so bad that you can’t qualify for any mortgage today. If that’s the case, you might want to rebuild your credit before applying again for a loan.

Fortunately, doing this isn’t complicated. Here’s how to start:

  • Pay all your bills on time every month to steadily build a new, better credit history.
  • Pay down as much of your credit-card debt as possible. The lower your credit-card debt, the better it is for your FICO score.

Improving your credit score does take discipline, and it doesn’t happen quickly. But doing so before you apply for a loan might be the better approach.

How to Get Your House Ready to Rent

Homeowners choose to rent out houses for a number of reasons. Some buy rental houses for investment reasons. Others might need to cover mortgage payments on a home that can’t seem to sell. In either case, you need to take a few steps to prepare the house for renting. This includes getting both the house and your paperwork in order.

Contact your mortgage company or financial lender if you carry a mortgage on the property. This is necessary because some mortgage agreements prohibit you from renting out a home. Once you have determined that your property can be rented out, request the approval to do so in writing from the mortgage provider.

Have the home inspected by a house inspector. This is an important step even if you feel strongly that everything in the home is in good working order. Doing so can help lower your insurance. It will also serve as a gauge to assess the house’s condition after tenants move out. Consider also having a house appraisal done as well. This can also be used as a guide to determine if renters have caused costly damage to the property.

Contact your insurance agent or broker and take out a landlord policy before accepting any new tenants. Also, make sure all renters carry active renters policies.

Determine a rental price by calling around your neighborhood to similar properties to inquire about rental rates. Ideally, you would want your monthly rental income to cover your monthly costs, including the mortgage payment, taxes, property insurance, association fees and municipal services such as sewer and trash. Just bear in mind that the market will ultimately determine how much you can charge for rent and still attract tenants, so be prepared to settle for less than the ideal price if rates in your area are low.

Clean the house both inside and out. It will need to be in move-in ready before you start showing it to potential renters. Make sure the floors and counters are well scrubbed, the carpets are vacuumed, all appliances and equipment are in good working order, and the grounds are neat and well-maintained. If you are renting a furnished home, make sure all of your furnishings and housewares are clean and in good condition. You want the house to be rented out in the exact condition you will require when the tenants move out.

Draw up lease or rental agreements by using the services of a lawyer or legal aid firm. Make sure the lease states the exact amounts renters owe, the date rent is due, what penalties are associated with late payments, the amount of the security deposit required to rent the property, the length of the rental term, and the responsibilities of the tenants to keep the home in good condition. You should also establish rules on pets, smoking, and the number of tenants.

Advertise the house by placing ads in newspapers, social media sites, online classified ad sites and community bulletin boards. Disclose the rental rate and when the house is available. Interview, in person, all potential renters and have them fill out an application that provides their work and contact numbers. Call all work and personal references to confirm their information. Run a criminal background check on all potential tenants as well. You want to make sure you entrust your home to only qualified people.

Tips To Help Sell Your Home Fast In A Down Market

Homes were routinely going for asking price, and some houses were even getting multiple offers above asking price. At the time the thinking was that the market would continue going up, and it was better to buy now than in a couple of years when prices had skyrocketed.

Looking back, that thinking seems a bit foolish now, but at the time it seemed reasonable.   We ended up selling our townhouse for the asking price, and we made a nice profit.  The problem is, we also ended up buying a house for more than it was worth.

To make sure your home sells in a down market, there are a few things that you can do.

  1. You have to be willing to price it right:  If you’re going to sell your home in a down market, you may have to be willing to make some concessions on price.   In many areas foreclosures have depressed the prices quite a bit.  While you may not be able to cut your price to the level of some of those bank owned homes, you can still do your research as to what comparable homes are selling for, and undercut their prices.  You may not get as much action as the foreclosures, but you will at least get more action than other sellers who aren’t as flexible on price.  Try not to get emotionally stuck on a certain price.  Research prices on sites like Zillow.com where you can see what other homes are selling for, or have an agent give you a comparative analysis.
  2. Make sure the home has curb appeal:  Even if you can’t compete on price with foreclosures, you can do your best to make sure that the your house at least looks better on the outside than the foreclosure down the block.   Get the home power washed, paint the trim and the doors, put on new exterior lights and/or knockers, and give your plants some sprucing up.   All the hard work should pay off by at least getting that buyer through the door.  (When we sold, this was key for us because there were similar units at the same or lower price. Our unit was just in better shape, had been repainted, etc.)
  3. Clear the home of clutter:  When you’re living in the home, it may be ok to have stacks of papers on the coffee table, and tons of personal photos on the walls.   But when you’re selling a home you want the potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house.  Remove personal photos from the walls, and replace them with neutral framed art.  Take everything off the countertops in the kitchen to make it  seem like there is more counter space.  Remove any unnecessary furniture and put it into storage.  If you can remove clothing from the closets and put it into self storage you make the closets feel bigger.  Reduce all the extra clutter throughout the house to make it feel bigger, more spacious and buyer friendly!
  4. Fix big problems:  If your house has a big problem that will turn a lot of buyers off, fix it!  Shag carpeting in the living room? Consider changing it out with fresh new carpeting.  Non-working water softener?  Pay to have it fixed, or get a new one. ( We actually did this).   Big hole in the wall?  Get some drywall and patch it up.  Ugly peeling linoleum in the kitchen? Put in new flooring.  Anything that can cause instant dislike for your house should be fixed, as long as it isn’t too expensive.
  5. Fix smaller problem areas around the house:  Go throughout the house and take notes of all  the small things that need fixing that may be a turnoff to a potential buyer.  Take the time to go around and fix those things one by one.  If you noticed them, the buyer will too! When we sold our house we ended up repainting some trim on the outside of the house, repainting several rooms that had scratches and marks on the wall, and removed some rubber marks on the kitchen linoleum.    It only took us one or two days of hard work, but in the end the house looked much better, and was more inviting to a buyer.
  6. Consider staging the house:  When we sold we actually staged the house to make the rooms feel more spacious, give it a less cluttered look and a make people feel more at home.  In the living room we removed several larger pieces of furniture, and replaced them with smaller more luxurious pieces from our parent’s houses – in a different layout.   We took our personal photos down and put up framed art pieces.  We removed all the magnets and photos from the fridge, and put up nice valances on the windows.  Watch a lot of HGTV and try to emulate what the experts do to stage a house!
  7. Offer bonuses to agents or buyers: consider offering a bonus to the first agent to bring in a full price offer, or offer to pay closing costs for a buyer (this might be especially attractive for first time buyers).  I’ve even heard of buyers offering to pay a years worth of homeowner’s association fees. Be creative.
  8. Use the power of the web and your personal networks to market your house:  Don’t rely on the listing that your agent has put online to sell your house. Use other online venues to help sell your house.  Put an ad on craigslist, use sites like zillow.com or trulia.com, get your own url with the house’s address (4000wooodland.com), promote the house through social media like facebook and twitter, and send out a copy of your listing to people on your email list.  Sometimes word of mouth is one of the best ways to market a house.
  9. Get a good agent to help you sell:  Get a good agent to help sell your house, not a friend of a friend – or your aunt Agnes who just got her real estate license. Your house is one of your biggest assets, and this is no time to do someone else a favor.   Call a local real estate office and ask for their top salesperson.  Interview a few agents and ask them to tell you what their marketing plan is for your home.   Use someone who understands the power of the internet, the importance of good wide angle interior photos, and an overall marketing strategy for  your house.
  10. When the house is showing, keep the house clean and don’t be there!:  When you are having an open house, or the house is having a showing, make sure that you aren’t there. There’s nothing more annoying than having the home’s owners in a house when you’re trying to look at it.  Also, make sure to keep the house spic and span to make sure that it shows well.  Finally consider baking cookies before a showing, or lighting one of those cinnamon roll candles. It will give the house a pleasant aroma, and people will feel at home.

Selling your house in a down market isn’t an easy task, but you can still do some hard work along the way and make your chances that much better.  In the end your house will show better, and you’ll be able to sell your house that much quicker.