Archive for the ‘selling houses’ Category

What to do when your property won’t sell

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There are times when even those of us who are using the “fixer upper and rental house” strategy need to sell a house, despite at one point  having sworn that we wouldn’t sell an investment  house till the cows came home.

A Clintastrophy

Sometimes we have to readjust our priorities, and as Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry famously said, but apparently disregarded at the Republican Convention, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

Maybe it’s because the location is just not that good, or you can’t get good tenants, or maybe the property requires too much attention in terms of frequent repairs. In my case, I sold one of my properties in 2010 because of all the above.

So, what do you do if you want to sell a property and it just won’t sell?

Here are a four things that I suggest you do to sell your property:

This house might be overpriced regardless of the price

1.) Check comparable properties in the area and make sure that you’re property is not over priced. If you want to sell faster, and we all want to sell faster, put the price slightly below other properties.

2.) Offer your house for sale and for rent at the same time. If the offers that come in are too low, you can keep it as a rental for another year or two until home values rise again.

3.) Hire a well established real estate agent to sell you house. When I first started my rental house business, I wanted to do everything myself, including selling my properties. Now, I realize that some things are best left to the experts, and this is one of them. A good real estate agent has a lot of connections, not only with potential buyers but also with other agents. They can attract a lot more buyers to the property than I could.

4.) Offer seller financing. Many buyers won’t qualify for traditional loans because of strict requirements and large down payments. This should allow you to sell for a premium price and get a higher interest rate. (Thanks to Chuck at Landlordinvestor for this tip.)

Now for my semi-weekly roundup of other articles that I find interesting in the blogosphere:

I liked the tips by landlordinvestor on advertising to find tenants entitled Running an ad in a weekly paper.

Over at Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog is a provocative interview with real estate investor James Vermillion.

Fearless Men have another batch of highly motivational quotes in Fearless Men Quotes/ Volume 2.

Jewel had an inspirational article in 10 Lies that Will Keep Your Dreams on the Shelf – #1. If you liked “The Artist’s Way,”  you’ll like this.

I could relate to Guilt Induced Frugality at Modest Money.

I was educated by Get an Oil Change Without Getting Ripped Off at Blue Collar Workman.

I relished the article Can Introverts Succeed As Leaders And Entrepreneurs: YES! at Untemplater.

Coming Soon!

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It

Take Advantage of Tax Exemption When Selling, Part 1

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

One of the most useful advantages for fixer upper house investors is also one of the most under-utilized. My wife and I bought a house we are presently repairing that we plan to sell utilizing the federal tax exemption. This generous gift from the all-wise lawmakers in Washington DC is part of the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act.

The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act was a great boost for average people who wanted to sell their home and buy a new one. It was also a great boost for investors. Couples are allowed to exclude up to $500,000 of the capital gain on the sale of their primary residence. Single individuals can exclude up to $250,000. In other words, the sale of the house is never reported on your federal IRS forms if the capital gain is less than the $500,000 and $250,000 limits. This exclusion is based on compliance with two requirements:

1. The home must have been the primary residence for both spouses during two of the last five years. The two years do not have to be consecutive but if you rent out the primary residence for more than three years you would be required to occupy it again for two years.

2. The exclusion is available only once every two years.

Capital gains above $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples are taxed at the applicable rate. What if you sell your house before meeting the two year requirement? If you qualify under one of the unforeseen events listed in the IRS publication, such as a job change, illness or an unusual hardship, you can still qualify for a prorated exclusion. Check Publication 523 for a complete list of unforeseen circumstances, at:

There are many advantages to buying, repairing houses and selling after two years, while utilizing the tax exemption. My wife and I maintain rental properties that provides regular monthly income, but we are also buying and selling with the tax exemption, to generate cash for future investments, and just to have more cash on hand. I will cover more details of the tax exemption in up-coming posts, such as how it works, advantages to investors of using the exemption, what properties to buy, and other topics.

Tax Exemption for Serial Home Buyers/Sellers, Part 2

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Observations on a 5-Day Sale

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Saturday I attended a house being sold utilizing the 5-Day Sale technique developed by Bill Effros.  I am in the process of repairing a house myself that I intend to sell using the 5-Day Sale technique.  We have lived in the house for 4 years and will take advantage of the homeowners tax exemption, as described on my webpage (link to article on the federal tax exemption).

The sale wasn’t run very well.  They didn’t follow the guidelines in the book.  Some of the obvious oversights that I noticed were:

1. The house was not in presentable shape.  For a house that was only 2-years-old, it was pretty messy.  A door frame was broken, there were many obvious scuff marks on the floor molding.  A little paint would have helped a lot.  The refrigerator was taped shut so it could not be opened. Effros says not to spend a lot of money fixing things up, but the type of fix-up that this house needed would only require minimal expenditures.

2.  The atmosphere was not enjoyable.  The utilities were not on, so there was no electricity (and it was a hot day).  They offered bottles of water, but its not a good house viewing experience to sweat while you look.

3. The paperwork was not in order.  There was no termite report or radon study, and no inspector’s report or computer printout showing price estimate. In a previous 5 Day Sale that I attended they had all these documents laid out for everyone to see, and it was really a good selling point.

4. Signs were poorly done, and the driving directions they gave me over the phone were unclear.  I couldn’t find the house, and only small, hard-to-see, signs were used to direct people to the house.

The result of these oversights was immediately obvious, because when I was there, no one else was viewing the house, and only two people had made bids.  And the house had already been open for 4 hours.

I have previously been to another 5-Day Sale that was done by the book.  In that case, the house was full of people milling around, asking question, taking information and making bids.  The contrast between the two houses was night and day.

It may be a few more months before we finish repairs on my house, but I’ll let you know how I come out with my 5-Day Sale.

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