For some homeowners, there's a burden of carrying two mortgages, and, it's not necessarily by choice. The housing meltdown might well be years behind us, but its impact is still being felt. Some homeowners took an opportunity to relocate for their careers, or, for other reasons. The result was leaving behind a home that probably couldn't be sold for a profit, or even, to break even. Instead of turning a paper loss into a money draining reality, some homeowners opted to rent their former primary residences and either pay the difference, break even, or lose on a monthly basis.
Long distance homeowners aren't the only ones with more than they can handle. The national economic downturn took a heavy toll on lenders, who lost big time from defaulted home loans, private student loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, and small business loans. That amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, and, having to pay a hefty price to collect collateral.
Should you be one of many remote homeowners and believe you can now sell without taking a loss on the deal, you're certainly not alone. If your old home isn't underwater, and, the local market it's in is an active one, you can sell it long distance but you must do so smartly. You'll need to enlist some help, and, be willing to put something into it to make it a successful venture.
Understanding the True Market Value of Your Home
Before you start the process of selling your old home long distance, be sure to dig into the movements of the local market. While you can find estimates online, these are generally inaccurate, and, you should not rely on those figures. Instead, look at the last three to six months of sales of comparable properties. These residences ought to be near the same livable square footage, have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and like amenities.
"In recent years, many homeowners couldn’t sell their homes because they couldn’t get the price they needed. Many were fortunate enough to stay in their homes, but others moved because of job transfers or other life changes. Many ended up renting out their homes rather than taking a bit hit when selling them. These “accidental landlords” were never in the game to be investors but were forced into it because of the market." --Yahoo Homes
Also, skip over currently listed homes in the area because the sales price will likely be different from the listing or asking price. It's not uncommon for sellers to set their asking price just above market value for the sake of negotiation, so, homes currently for sale aren't necessarily good measures. In addition to these things, those homes ought to be in similar condition. For instance, if those homes were not updated and your's is remodeled, your property might be worth more. However, some updates don't increase the value of a home. Know which improvements contribute to the value of a home and can be used as marketing features.
Ways to Successfully Sell a Home Long Distance
Should the market conditions be right and you are motivated to sell your home, you can do so long distance and still get a good sales price. What you shouldn't do is attempt to put the listing on auto-pilot, because without active marketing, it will linger on the market. Here are some ways to successfully sell a home long distance:
- Get a home appraisal. The first thing you ought to do is to get a comparative market analysis or CMA, and, have it backed by an appraisal. This way, you'll know the true value of the home and what you can list it for.
- Learn about any tax consequences. Before you do put your old home on the market, speak to a tax professional. If the home is going to bring a gain, you'll have to sell it in a certain time frame. You need to know if you'll owe capital gains in order to move forward with the sale.
- Go to your old home over a long weekend. If you have renters, you should give them ample notification, and, meet with a local real estate professional. Should the home be vacant, you ought to see it first hand and in either situation, get a contractor to make repairs. This is a good time to hire a home stager and to look at the comparables, if possible. Try to revisit your old home periodically, if you can.
- Hire a handyman. You should keep the utilities on if it's unoccupied, and, have a handyman on-call to make repairs when needed.
- Let others know you're selling the property. A good way to help you sell your old home is to let others you know in the area know that you're selling. Word of mouth can be a great marketing tool.