Sell Your House Even In A Bad Market

How to Sell Your House Fast Even in a Bad Market (10 Easy Steps!)

By Jeff Sheiner 9/21/2012

Selling a home is never an easy task, and during challenging economic times the task is made even more difficult. However, for many home owners who find it necessary to sell their house in a down or “bad” market, every idea, tool and technique is taken into consideration to get the job done.

If are a home owner considering selling, the following is a guide that outlines steps you can take to sell your house fast - even in a down market. Take a look at the following 10 steps designed to make your house-selling task easier:

1. Prepare your home to be put on display and to make yourself scarce during showings. A clean and uncluttered house allows your prospective buyers to mentally put themselves in the home and decide on their own living arrangements without input from the home seller and certainly without bumping into family members or household pets while they are in the home.

2. It is very important that you make minor repairs or replacements where necessary. The last thing you want is for a prospective buyer to notice minor paint issues, cracks or other cosmetic issues and use those to look harder for additional problems s/he suspects may exist. Always keep in mind that selling your home in a down or bad market means you're competing against many other "motivated" home sellers, foreclosure, short sales (both often sold at well below market prices) and bank-owned properties priced for fast sale. It is simply not enough to just show your house to prospective buyers. You have to go the extra distance to make your house the bargain they are looking for and will accept.

3. Come to terms with the right price early in the process. Pricing the house right is among the most difficult steps for most home sellers to take, but it is something that you MUST do in the beginning so that during the first 30 days on the market, when buyer activity is traditionally at the highest, you give yourself the best chance of getting your buyer then. The alternative is pricing too high and allowing the market to "reject" your house, after which the going gets a little tougher and you're forced to reduce the price (maybe a couple of times). Pricing the house right can be accomplished by getting a "comp report" done by your neighborhood real estate broker or paying for an independent appraisal. Then you list your house at or a little below the estimated value set forth in the comp/appraisal report.

4. List your house with a neighborhood-based real estate broker. Selling houses is the business of real estate brokers. That's what they do every day, and many are very good at their profession, and have the tools to get the job done. Having said that, you can always provide real estate brokers with information about your “for sale by owner" (FSBO) house without locking yourself into an exclusive right to sell agreement, if you so desire.

5. Be your own best promoter. Whether you hire a real estate agent or not, you can do a lot to help speed the home-selling process by spreading the word about the house you have "for sale". Your own promotional efforts might include online posting (, facebook, Twitter, etc.), local organization postings (YMCA, religious organizations, civic orgs.), local periodicals like Pennysaver, For Sale by Owner magazine, etc.

6. It’s important to make sure your house is never off the market. Any time a prospective buyer wants to view your home and is unable to do so because the showing conflicts with your schedule and/or no one else can grant access to the house, it is considered off the market; so make sure the house is accessible at all reasonable times during the marketing period. This is even more important in a market consisting of such a large inventory of available houses for sale.

7. Be flexible in your negotiations with serious buyers. In more cases than not, negotiation involves more than price; it involves terms such as occupancy, certain cosmetics, some appliances, credits toward buyer closing costs and/or discount points (a discount point is equal to 1% of the buyer's mortgage and is usually paid to reduce buyer's mortgage rate), and other buyer requests that you might otherwise not expect.

8. Sell directly to an investor. Some home sellers have enough equity in their properties to accept a 30 to 40% reduction in price and not feel the impact as much as others with less equity. This group may include home sellers with "free and clear" (paid in full/fully satisfied) mortgages, very low mortgage balances, and inherited properties. In such a scenario there are investors who will make an "all cash" offer to buy directly from a home seller of this type of property in "as is" condition and close the in 2 weeks to 30 days.

9. Avoid restricting or limiting your buyer market. What this means is you should make your house available to all levels of qualified buyers, instead of insisting on "Conventional" buyers only, buyers who can bring a 15% -20% down payment only, or "no FHA" buyers, etc. While it is okay to insist on "qualified buyers", you must realize that not all buyers are qualified under the same mortgage lending parameters. Some buyers qualify for Conventional mortgages, some for FHA-insured mortgage and some for VA mortgages (veterans and their spouses only), but they may all be qualified to buy your house at a price and terms you can agree on.

10. Which brings us to selling to a tenant-buyer using a lease option strategy. In this type of deal, your lease the house to a tenant who also signs an option agreement to purchase the house at a future date at a price you agree to. In order for you to keep the house off the market for that period of time, the tenant-buyer provides you with an “option consideration” which goes toward the purchase price but is non-refundable if they don’t buy the house. In the meantime, your mortgage payment is covered by the rental income from the tenant-buyer.

When you're looking for a fast sale in a bad market, it's important to look for and take advantage of the newest and most creative solutions to get the job done. Jeff Sheiner is an expert who assists home sellers move their homes quickly.

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