Author Topic: The House that Will Not Sell  (Read 3150 times)

Guy Ensenada

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The House that Will Not Sell
« on: April 24, 2019, 02:30:53 PM »
For three years, been trying to sell our former home. Started at $196,000, now down to $119,000, which is close to what we owe. Maybe not fully underwater, but we're close. We've switched agents, advertised on old home sites, etc. It's in a small town with a lousy economy, so renting is out. It's a great federal colonial in a nice small town in upstate NY, but it just isn't getting looks or offers.

My question is- if I can get my lender to accept a "short sale" will there be any negative impact on my credit or any other ramifications? If I can't I am in some serious trouble.

Facepunches not needed here. I've had all I can take. Just some general guidance appreciated.

Villanelle

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 02:50:22 PM »
Yes, it will greatly affect your credit.  You may also have to count any amount written off as income for tax purposes. 

But if you must, you must, and you'll just have to eat the credit hit.  What do the agents think is an actual likely selling price?  Can you cut your budget to the bone, including halting retirement deposits if you have them set up, to beef up savings so you have money to bring to closing, to avoid the short sale?  Do you have a 401k from which can can borrow?  Anything else from which can can borrow? 


innkeeper77

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 03:27:21 PM »
How much money do you think you will need to bring to the closing in order to make up the difference? Can you use your lender or a bank to get a higher interest unsecured loan for the difference? Removing carrying costs might make it worth it. I can't imagine it would sell for THAT much less than you owe, but I don't know your market. Maybe you can get a HELOC on your current home to cover the difference, and not owing money on the first house would certainly help you qualify for new credit. (This assumes you own now and don't rent) - If you have a decent mortgage company already, they should be able to do some "gymnastics" and do the new credit / sale all on the same day, so you don't have to qualify for holding all of the loans at once

How risky would an auction be if you advertised it well enough? You can always set a minimum amount you are willing to sell it for. $99k? A $20,000 loan shouldn't be too hard to pay off if you have already been paying a second mortgage for an unoccupied house.

beer-man

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 10:37:37 AM »
Yes it will affect your credit but do you need credit?
 We short sold our home in 2009 and it was coded as a foreclosure on our credit....however we made 80-120k during the next 7yrs and had low overall debt so we were never denied further credit


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Cassie

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2019, 11:30:04 AM »
We were in that position once and our credit score went down to 640 but slowly increased.  We owed the IRS at tax time because itís counted as income. Thatís the only year we hired a CPA.

merince

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2019, 11:50:44 AM »
You need to have a heart-to-heart with your agent about why the home is not selling.

From the 10,000 feet view - the house has been on the market for 3 years and hasn't sold.

My first conclusion is that it wasn't (most likely still isn't) priced right. You're talking about how much you owe but you don't mention comparables. Find comparables and see what they sold for. You may be underwater already. Have you got any offers during the 3 years?

My second observation is that at this point (being on the market so long) most buyers will assume that there is something wrong with it and just pass. You might need to consider taking it off the market for a while, selling it at auction or even offering a rent-to-own or something similar. Again your agent will be able to advise.

Finally, look at the interior pictures of recently sold homes - does your home compare favorably or does it need a huge investment to bring the kitchen and the bathrooms up to snuff?

Papa bear

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2019, 11:53:12 AM »
How are you advertising the home?  What have potential buyers said about the property?  Do you have disclosures that are putting off buyers?  A house that has been on the market for that long, regardless of its true, some people will think of it as a problem house.   Can you pull the house, do some updates / remedy any disclosures, and relist?  Are you advertising on social media or sites that might be if interest to your area, such as local tourism, outdoors, hiking?  What about a local employer or hospital? 

Iím more interested in how you can sell your house, not how to get the bank to take it over. 



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doingfine

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2019, 12:31:15 PM »
If it hasn't sold, it isn't priced right. End of story. What you owe on it is irrelevant. It costs you money every day you keep owning it.

Hopefully it has not been on the market continuously for those 3 years because that will raise major red flags with buyers if so.

affordablehousing

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2019, 01:48:38 PM »
One crazy idea but if it's got some antique history, what about marketing the house in NYC, or as a structure that someone could have lifted and moved to the Hudson Valley to a virgin lot? Just some outside the box ideas.

Laserjet3051

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2019, 04:26:32 PM »
If it hasn't sold, it isn't priced right. End of story. What you owe on it is irrelevant. It costs you money every day you keep owning it.

Hopefully it has not been on the market continuously for those 3 years because that will raise major red flags with buyers if so.

My thoughts exactly.

spiro

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2019, 07:42:50 AM »
What are the comps listed and selling for? Are you pricing the house based on that or based on what you owe on the mortgage?

AMandM

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2019, 09:23:59 AM »
Any possibility of renting it as an AirBnB in the meantime, just to keep it from being a total money sink?

MsPeacock

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2019, 10:52:44 AM »
If it hasn't sold, it isn't priced right. End of story. What you owe on it is irrelevant. It costs you money every day you keep owning it.

Hopefully it has not been on the market continuously for those 3 years because that will raise major red flags with buyers if so.

Ditto - Anything that lingers in our area is overpriced. Sometimes fixing things remedies the problem - fresh paint, staging, minor repairs, take off the market for a bit etc. Sometimes major things are wrong (e.g. failing septic) and the house is 'overpriced' as a result because buyers don't want to take on that big of a project.

How much have you spent on carrying costs in 3 years? Would it be better to cut your losses now and sell instead of continuing to carry the house?

Consult with your realtor, take a look at comparables that I have sold recently - how are they priced and how well do they show. If you haven't previously, find the realtor who sells the most houses in your area and use that person. They likely know very well what they are doing.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2019, 11:19:38 AM »
I would add to the "it's overpriced" chorus. It looks like there's a similar house (a bit bigger, but with one less bathroom) just a few doors down listed for $99k.

Also in my opinion, the wall paper is hideous.
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISadw6smewo6g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/IS27uu9gaog9g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISmik6sh15qo6z0000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISme97up392qf01000000000.webp

MsPeacock

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2019, 01:55:07 PM »
I would add to the "it's overpriced" chorus. It looks like there's a similar house (a bit bigger, but with one less bathroom) just a few doors down listed for $99k.

Also in my opinion, the wall paper is hideous.
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISadw6smewo6g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/IS27uu9gaog9g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISmik6sh15qo6z0000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISme97up392qf01000000000.webp

Whoa - that is a lot of look with the wallpaper. Stripping and painting everything (all rooms the same color) a mid-light neutral might help a lot, as well as appropriate price adjustments. It is unlikely that a buyer will want that particular wallpaper as it is a pretty specific style/taste. Clean tan or light gray walls might help.

Villanelle

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2019, 02:03:48 PM »
If that is the actual house, then I would say that wall paper may be a major factor.  Talk to your realtor (or a new realtor, perhaps) and get an opinion on it, but I think stripping that and painting it a neutral (but maybe not white-beige) color would probably help a lot.  Alternatively, you might ask the realtor if a credit of a specific amount to go toward stripping the paper and paint might work as well or better.  It doesn't make the house show better, but some people might perfect the cash and/or the ability to choose their own colors.  This is where a good realtor will help. 

noplaceliketheroad

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2019, 04:20:41 PM »
Looking through your previous posts, I saw your house description. Maybe get rid of the outhouse, since I imagine anyone coming across that sees it as a giant negative? I'm not sure anyone in 2019 wants an outhouse on their property, but I could be wrong? I'm hoping there are regular bathrooms in the house - your zillow link no longer had any photos. Maybe post your listing here so we can see if there are specific things you can do to make your house more sellable.



mm1970

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2019, 04:45:34 PM »
I would add to the "it's overpriced" chorus. It looks like there's a similar house (a bit bigger, but with one less bathroom) just a few doors down listed for $99k.

Also in my opinion, the wall paper is hideous.
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISadw6smewo6g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/IS27uu9gaog9g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISmik6sh15qo6z0000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISme97up392qf01000000000.webp
Yeah, the house is charming, but the wallpaper...just no. 

It also may not be helped by the dead area. 

I have relatives in upstate with houses that age.  Yeah, wallpaper was a thing for awhile...it needs to go or drop the price.  Because I would totally take it out.

SweatingInAZ

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2019, 05:58:16 PM »
Take the listing down for a while. Several real estate sites have removed the listing because it's been there for too long.

Take new pictures that aren't so washed out (try a different time of day?)

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/22-N-Washington-Ave_Oxford_NY_13830_M47181-39773


https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachian-marketplace/mustachian-lifestyle-house-for-sale/


Guy Ensenada

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2019, 08:20:17 PM »
Thanks all. The "similar" house is actually smaller and a smaller lot, and a duplex. The rooms are smaller. etc. I never liked the paper either, but we just left it. Biggest issue I think is the location- dead zone. Upstate in general, save a few pockets, is struggling. I'll look into getting the papers stripped and something else done, but paper seems so be the theme in old upstate houses, as another poster pointed out.


Another Reader

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2019, 08:35:10 PM »
Thanks all. The "similar" house is actually smaller and a smaller lot, and a duplex. The rooms are smaller. etc. I never liked the paper either, but we just left it. Biggest issue I think is the location- dead zone. Upstate in general, save a few pockets, is struggling. I'll look into getting the papers stripped and something else done, but paper seems so be the theme in old upstate houses, as another poster pointed out.

Anyone that wants that type of house will want the period wall paper.  Your problem is the lack of demand, exacerbated by the outrageous property taxes.  In your shoes, I would drop the price in $10k increments until it sells.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2019, 09:33:49 PM »
Thanks all. The "similar" house is actually smaller and a smaller lot, and a duplex. The rooms are smaller. etc.
So the smaller house is listed at 3,225 sqft and your larger house is listed at 2,900 sqft? If your competition is counting something in their square footage while you are not, I'd suggest adopting their way of counting so potential buyers have a fair comparison. My guess is that there is a difference in how the attic space is being computed.

pbkmaine

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2019, 09:37:27 PM »
I had a previous, dated house staged, and I will tell you what the stager told me:

Get rid of all the wallpaper and paint the walls cream and the trim and kitchen cabinets white.

RecoveringCarClown

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2019, 10:35:12 PM »
Take new pictures that do not show snow...house pictures should be ďwarmĒ and inviting unless you are next to a ski resort or it is winter and there is no other choice.  You have had lots of time to fix this and people that view the photos know this.  Take it off the market, get a new realtor that you research and know is good.  Ask your new realtor who they use for pictures, then have quality photos taken on a nice day.  The wallpaper may be good or bad, your new realtor should be able to tell you.

Free advice is often worth the price, ymmv, and all that. :)

Linea_Norway

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2019, 12:44:15 AM »
Is your house advertised empty, like the house in the link? Would it be an idea to do some "staging", let someone put in some nice furniture? That should be combined with giving the house a fresh look on the inside.

When we sold our previous home, it also took a lot of time. We even switched broker. The new broker suggested we would go down in price, under a round number, we started with 320K and went down to 290K, this was to reach a new market. People have their search on a defined price range. To reach a new market, you might need to adjust your price.

What we also did before the second selling round, was fixing the 2 most negative things about the home. One was a leaking window with fog on the inside. First broker said it wouldn't pay off to fix it, but if the house doesn't sell, that costs even more. Itvwasn't a big investment to have it fixed. The second thing was putting new concrete on the bad concrete floor of the central heating room and paiting the concrete. DH did that himself. The room looked a lot better after that, without a crumbling floor. We ended up with 2 potential buyers and a little bidding between them. We sold for 295K.

merince

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2019, 09:38:16 AM »
There are several properties that have sold in your area recently that are in the range you're listing your home.

You need better photos. Your photos make the house look washed out and don't give an accurate idea of the size of the room. The photos of the kitchen are taken from about waist level position. They do not show the work surfaces. I have no idea if the kitchen would "work" as a kitchen at this point.

Make sure you clean your home before taking photos. Several rooms show dust trails. The attic looks horrendous. Staging would definitely help out. The porch looks like it is leaking/has mold issues.

There is a badly leaning porch cover and one of the porch panels is askew. Repair the things that are easily fixable, so that the home looks cared for.

Your home does not have a cohesive theme. Somehow between the overexposed photos and the color scheme, your home looks full of crazy bright colors and gives the impression that it needs an immediate repaint. The green room with the flowers is especially jarring considering the rest of the home is yellow.

DoNorth

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2019, 10:47:20 AM »
I used a stager.  Paid her $125 for an hour of her time to tell me where to move pictures, furniture, shelves, exercise equipment etc.  Best money we ever spent. 

FINate

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2019, 02:00:09 PM »
Based on the old Zillow link (found on your other thread), the house has been consistently overpriced. In 2016 the original posting price was $195k whereas the Zestimate* was $180k. You then walked the price down slower than the decline in value. From a marketing perspective this is about the worst thing one can do. You want to be "in the market" at or slightly below, but not too low, and certainly not too high. Not trying to be mean, it's just what happened and not something to beat yourself up about - it's just money and sometimes this is how we learn. The most important thing is, don't keep doing it! The current price of $119k is better, but if you're not getting offers then you need to cut aggressively. Either that, or spend the time/money to strip and paint the walls as these are dated and distracting. Paint elsewhere will also make a huge difference in the appearance.

As others have recommended, take better photos with better lighting. Clean out the attic before taking pictures of it. The washed out photo of the fan window (I think?) is not appealing, get rid of it or replace with a better photo. The sad rainy day/winter photo of the back door (?) is also unappealing. These are all small things that have an impact on first impressions. Unfortunately, in a small market most of your potential clients have likely already seen your house since it's been on the market for 3 years. IMO it's probably too late to remedy these.

In your shoes I would price it very aggressively to get people's attention. As in, drop it to $99k (below the $100k psychological barrier) and either let my credit take a hit in a short sell, or just eat the loss myself. However, this is a very personal thing...I wouldn't be too upset by a ~$20k loss if it meant unloading an albatross from around my neck. YMMV.

*Zestimates aren't perfect, though they are based on comps and real data. If you price above the Zestimate then there should be an obvious reason: specific location, lot features, updated, whatever. Your house doesn't appear to have such things.

ETA: Also, the description mentions a large back yard and an old maple tree. You should include photos from a sunny spring/summer day. Do some basic cleanup and yardword before shooting photos.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 02:10:37 PM by FINate »

frugaliknowit

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2019, 02:32:58 PM »
Get rid of the wallpaper.  Clear that attic.  Paint everything neutral similar to Benjamin Moore Navajo white.  I don't see a shower anywhere, just a claw foot tub.  Why the heck did the realtor include that pic of the messy attic?

Lady Stash

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2019, 04:39:56 PM »
I love old houses and old woodwork and charming windows but I'm having a hard time getting a feel of this house from the pictures.

I can't tell what the actual colors are.  The angle on the pictures is odd so I can't see countertops or get a sense for the size of the room and the layout of the house.

Also could use a yard picture and pictures showing views.

I agree with all the advise here to pay for staging & have professional pictures taken, if you don't go with a short sale.

I like the pictures of the nearby town.

Goldielocks

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2019, 06:18:44 PM »
I would add to the "it's overpriced" chorus. It looks like there's a similar house (a bit bigger, but with one less bathroom) just a few doors down listed for $99k.

Also in my opinion, the wall paper is hideous.
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISadw6smewo6g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/IS27uu9gaog9g01000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISmik6sh15qo6z0000000000.webp
https://photos.zillowstatic.com/cc_ft_1536/ISme97up392qf01000000000.webp

I like this specific wallpaper in that specific house.  Not my style, but if I were to buy it, high end / recent wallpaper in the era of the home would not put me off.  I might want a "plain" look in the large living room / kitchen areas... but the rest is tied to the style of the home.

I think that some of the reduction in SALT may be affecting homes in upstate NY right now, for the upper end of the market.  People don't want investments there and may look for that second home somewhere else now.   I don't think the area supports the incomes or ?? for a lot of SFH buyers... many of whom may have kids and want a easy, modern family home  near town instead.

To OP.   No facepunches.   It sometimes really sucks when investments don't pay off, and to have one that is not very liquid is hard.   With the likely tax and maintenance costs of that home, you may be better off taking a loss, whether you top up the outstanding payment with cash to the bank or you go for a short sale.

fuzzy math

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2019, 08:48:30 PM »
I like your home. I agree that the photos do it no justice. Did a 4 foot tall person take them? Some of the wallpaper and trim combos are a bit garish but some (the entry way) are nicer. The snow photos do need to go, as do the attic and the obscured view out the window photos.

As a buyer, I tend to think that overpriced sellers are hard to deal with because they are not based in reality. I would avoid the potential to put in a bid and have to walk away from negotiations by just not bidding on the home. From the comps listed it appears you have just now come into the appropriate price range. You will have to do some work to overcome the time on the market issue. Would a concession for paint and wallpaper be a good route to go? Some people really want to put their own style into something. It could be wasted effort and money on your part to assume that you will capture what a buyer wants.

slappy

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2019, 06:57:57 AM »
What do you mean when you say it's a small town with a lousy economy so renting is out? Is there no one that would rent it? Even for a slight loss, it seems like you might be better off renting it. At least for a year or two. As others have said, being on the market for so long and the large price drop (i know it didn't drop all at once) are red flags. So perhaps renting it for a year or two and then putting it back on the market may help.

Fishindude

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Re: The House that Will Not Sell
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2019, 07:03:08 AM »
Cut the price down to whatever it takes to sell it and pay the bank whatever amount isn't covered by the sale.
It's costing you money every day and something like changing wall paper to paint will be throwing more money away.