When You Are Forced To Sell!

distressed houseSo you need to sell right away.  Typically this situation occurs at the same time as another catastrophic life event.  Usually it is due to a divorce, a death, major illness, or a loss of income.  It is not a pleasant time for you as it is, and now you have to move because you can no longer afford your current home.

What should you do?  What can you do?  How are you ever going to get through this nightmarish situation?

The first step is to take a deep breath.  Next make a plan to get through the process with the least amount of pain.  Here are some basic ideas to help you get the best price for your house.

  • KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  There are people every day going through the same type of situation you are. 
  • Call around and make sure you are working with a REALTOR who understands your situation and will help you get through the process of selling your house – whether or not it is a short sale.  You are stressed out enough you don’t want a REALTOR who is going to add more pressure to your life by continuously asking you to reduce your price, make expensive repairs, or not make a concerted effort to help you reach your goal of more affordable living.
  • Avoid having the house look like a war zone or as if a storm just blew through.  When people are going through a lot of stress there can also be some depression issues.  The house then starts to look like it is not well maintained because the lawn is not mown, snow not shoveled, towels laying on the bathroom floor, dirty dishes everywhere – you get the picture.  While it is normal to not want to maintain the house you need to move from, you need to keep it in good repair.
  • Work together, everyone is losing the house, not just you. 
  • Get help!  Family and friends will help you when they know how they can help.  Use the help!  You can repay them when they experience a loss.
  • Have that rummage sale prior to putting the house on the market.  Get rid of the clutter.  Remove all debris off the property.
  • Don’t move out just half of your belongings.  Either get everything out of the house, or leave enough in the house to “stage” each room, ie. Beds in the bedrooms, couches in the living room, etc.
  • Paint is cheap – organize a painting party with family and friends to remove personalized colors, children’s writing on the walls, etc.
  • Wash your windows, wipe down walls, clean everything to sparkling. Many times a little scrubbing will make a room look fresh and inviting without the added expense of painting.
  • Make sure your house will be financeable, ie. No chipped paint, handrails in place, etc.
  • Finish that unfinished home project – see #4 - or find someone who will finish it for you.  Patch the holes, do the small fixes that you can afford to do.
  • Disclose on your disclosure forms all issues you have had with the house and how you fixed them, or if it is still a problem.  You certainly do not want to have the buyer come back and sue you for any issue.

Bottom line?  Stage your home like you would if you were not in a distressed situation to get the best price for the house. You do not have to spend a lot of money to do this.  

Cyndi Meier-Seaman on July 28, 2014 at 11:29am
Sounds like good advice for a rough situation.
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Sherri L. Underthun
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