You're not alone if you're confused about today's housing market. Realtors, mortgage brokers, builders and others in the industry are trying to make sense of all the new regulations. The rules are changing for home mortgages so homeowners are searching for creative strategies for selling houses to meet their personal and professional goals.
The good news is the market is coming back in many parts of the country but not everywhere. Many people are uncertain of the risks of selling and moving. They're still sitting tight, waiting for things to return to normal … but what will the new normal be?
Fortunately there are trail blazers who are finding creative strategies for selling houses. That's the reason for this article, to encourage more people to think outside the box and find new solutions to selling and buying houses … so please share your ideas below.
Most homeowners don't focus on the real estate or construction industries until they're preparing to selling a house or put on an addition. While Americans used to move every 7 to 10 years, we're moving a lot less often since the housing crisis.
Here are some creative ways homeowners are moving ahead with their lifestyle goals as we reset our expectations of when is a good time to sell and new strategies for moving.
Strategies for Selling A House & Renting
Once upon a time you could coordinate selling your existing home with buying a new house, and the worst scenario was a gap of several weeks where you had to stay with friends and store your household goods. When moving to New Hampshire in 1999, we wrote the offer on our new home the same day our house in California went on the market. We forgot to coordinate closing dates in the contracts so we had a gap of 10 days and spent that time traveling across the US.
In most parts of the country, “days on market (DOM)” is the best indicator of how long it will take to sell your home and there are no guarantees. When moving locally, an interim rental home is a good strategy for maximum leverage, giving you flexibility to get the best price for your home.
You continue living in your home for the 6 to 12 months it takes to sell your home, and secure a rental home after your buyers get their financing approved. Moving companies will work with you on a double move but be sure to monitor your goods being put into and removed from storage to avoid surprises like your washing machine spinning out of control and furniture simply missing after a container was dropped (this really happened to me when moving to NH).
The risk comes when negotiating your rental lease. With a winter rental situation, you have a deadline for vacating your rental home. If there's a lot of inventory on the market where you're buying, you might want to negotiate a 6 month lease to avoid paying rent and a mortgage. Most leases convert to month-to-month rental and to be fair to your landlord, you might offer to give them 2 months notice.
Strategies for Selling a House When the Market is Hot
Tomorrow a friend is holding their first open house in Boston's Back Bay. They plan to retire to a farm in western Massachusetts in a few years, so they've been watching the Boston market. While there is lots of inventory on the market, there is a shortage of penthouse condominiums. Gretchen saw the opportunity and jumped on it because of all the uncertainty in real estate, and the knowledge that their private rooftop deck will set them apart from the competition right now. This is one of the best strategies for selling houses that I've seen.
They're excited at getting a head start on cleaning out the clutter since they've owned their condo for more than 10 years. They plan to rent a new home or apartment outside Boston proper, where they can practice the gardening they plan to pursue once they buy their farm.
Can you feel the shift in mindset here? Rather than prioritizing home ownership over renting, both of these examples show home owners crafting innovative real estate solutions to match their lifestyle needs.
Creative Buyers & Sellers, Swapping Houses
This story is happening outside Dallas and might be unique because one of the homeowners is also a Realtor. While completing the paperwork to list a home in her lakeside development, Kathleen learned her sellers wanted to buy a larger home and preferablyin the same development. While they lived in the same development, Kathleen's home was more than double the size of her sellers home, so she didn't say anything to her buyers … but now that this seller/buyer have completed the transaction, it's now one of the strategies for selling houses.
By chance the sellers stopped by to sign papers and got a tour of the house. They loved the house and talked about the features it had, ones they wanted in their new home and before you knew it, a house swap was underway. The challenge has been financing as neither “buyer” has a monthly, employee paycheck. One is retired and draws their pension once a year but the banks can't seem to divide by 12 months. The other buyer has significant real estate holdings that are well documented in tax returns but again, the banks aren't willing to accept rental income for purposes of securing a mortgage.
What creative strategies for selling houses have you seen?
PS To clear up any confusion, this article is not intended to promote homeowner strategies for selling houses without a Realtor. Yes, I once bought a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) but every house I've sold has involved a Realtor, as there are too many home selling mistakes homeowners can make with this critical transaction.