9 answers

Selling a House at a Loss - What Needs to Be Done?

It looks like we're going to have to make an unexpected move across the country this summer for my husband's work. This is very exciting, but since the market has not recovered to where it was when we bought the house, we expect that we will have to sell at a loss. Probably a pretty significant loss.

So we are wondering what has to be done in order to sell? There is nothing truly falling apart, but the carpet is stained and the linoleum is original to the house, some of the windows don't open, etc. Obviously, we don't want to put a lot of money into fixing everything up, since we won't make that money back, but we do want to sell (we don't want it to just sit on the market for months!) Has anyone been through this? Are there any "must do"s in this situation? Thanks.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My wife and I have been lucky to not be in this situation.

My first thought is to make it as good as possible to get the most money for it. Contact a Realtor and find out what he/she would list it for. If you can afford it, get a home inspection done so you know if there are problems that will keep it from selling faster.

If the news you get from a Realtor means you will have to bring money you don't have to the table, rent it out. As the Realtor if they handle rentals and see what the rental price would be.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I would clean up the house as best as you can. I would also talk to a realtor about how much of a loss, you will have to bring the remaining amount owed to be able to close.

You might be better off renting the house out and selling it later. There are many realtors now that will handle rentals (managing them as well) so it would make it that much easier for you to move.

I have a few rentals that pay for themselves. The rent covers the mortgage, taxes and insurance (all of these are included in the mortgage payments). Your realtor will also know how much rent to ask for so there may be a chance that you would still have to pay for part of the mortgage. But paying say $50.00 a month is better than the entire amount.

3 moms found this helpful

My wife and I have been lucky to not be in this situation.

My first thought is to make it as good as possible to get the most money for it. Contact a Realtor and find out what he/she would list it for. If you can afford it, get a home inspection done so you know if there are problems that will keep it from selling faster.

If the news you get from a Realtor means you will have to bring money you don't have to the table, rent it out. As the Realtor if they handle rentals and see what the rental price would be.

1 mom found this helpful

We went through a similar situation about 3 years ago. We had our house on the market for about 1 year and eventually sold for about 200,000. Had paid just shy of 300,000 one year prior. We lost our equity and had to bring 50,000 to the closing just to sell. My advice would be to entertain all offers, even if you think they are terrible. We turned down an offer of 240000 early in the process and sure wish we could go back! A short sale or foreclosure will not only wreck your credit but may also result in a civil judgement against you that you end up paying back anyway, so it's not a great solution if you can avoid it.

Consider if it doesn't sell, your husband goes ahead and lives on the cheap there while you wait for the house to sell so you are not supporting two large rent/mortgage payments. Many employers offer relocation assistance, maybe there will be some help there. Renting is an option, but a whole different headache and may not cover your mortgage.

Best of luck! We are still recovering financially (we bought responsibly a house we could afford, my husband lost his job and we had to move to his new job. It took me a few months to find work here, and on and on!) but we are getting it back together and glad to have our excellent credit intact.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you thought about finding a renter? My Dad moved a lot for work and we always held onto a house or two and rented them out. Years later he sold them for a large profit. You might take some loss on the rent at first but in the long run you keep your investment.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you guys considered renting it? There are a ton of local property managers that can deal with all the headaches. You won't have to sell at a loss, you can wait until the market comes back. You get a bunch of tax breaks and write offs. A realtor will find you a renter for one months rent (fee). Even if you rent it at a slight loss, 100$ a month loss is a whole lot better than thousands if you sell. When we moved our realtor found a renter who didn't want to move out of the neighborhood after divorce. She signed a 2 1/2 year lease and just extended for another year, she's never complains, we don't have a property manager because were only an hour away, and she takes care of the house. Renting is huge right now if the headache is too much sell, but otherwise you might want to consider this.

I would not do a thing to the house. It would be a such a shame to loose even more money on the house. Can your husband's company buy the house or assist with the sale?

Nothing - not when you'll be selling at a loss.

Just a side note - maybe renting or a property management company to rent it out for you until the market goes back up.

If he works for the company that is sending him to a different place, ie not starting a new job, they may be able to help you guys figure out what to do. A lot of my friends that work for Conoco-Phillps can't sell their homes for the amount the owe and the company buys them then sells them later. They even have Realtors come in after the buy out and update them to fit the market.

I wish I knew of a way for this to work out other than telling you to just rent the current house out to someone.

The other option is to do a lease purchase. We did that one time and it was wonderful. The house was in our name with a lien against it, filed in the court house, and as long as we made our payment everything was fine. The money was going towards to agreed upon plan, $375 per month for 18 years. No interest, no refinancing, nothing. We could pay it off early if we wanted to but it would be for the full amount. Since it was ours we could do the same as if we were using a bank.

It was a 3 bedroom 1 bath brick home with lathe and plaster walls. Pretty old, maybe the 40's. It had a half basement for storage and laundry. It was comfortable and secure in a storm.

When hubby got laid off at Conoco-Phillips we had no income for about 6 months and all the money went bye bye. We lost my new van, our credit cards, credit ratings went out the window, etc...we got behind a month then another.

The guy who was financing it for us sat down and told us what our options were. We could try and get a loan and buy it outright, make the 2 payments and catch up, or let it go. We decided to let it go back to him. We lost nothing, if we had been renting it would have cost more. It was a good experience for us. The house resold a month or two later and she is still there. The house doesn't look as nice as when we lived there but it is 20 years older.

So, if you sell at a loss, can't sell your home, or decide to hold on to it. There are options. The market should pick up some day.

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