Linda Writes In And Asks “Should We Sell Our House Now Or Hold Out For More?”

Question:

Dear Steve,

Last year we put our house, which is paid for, on the market, expecting it to sell quickly and purchase another house with a mortgage.

Our realtors lower the price by $75k to sell it, but we feel that won’t give enough to invest for our retirement. Would we be better off renting our house to cover the expenses, wait out the market, or lower the price and see if it will sell?

Linda

Answer:

Dear Linda,

It seems like you are at a crossroad or cross purposes. You can hold out for a higher sales price, but if your house has been on the market that long you probably are not going to get it. But you might, stranger things have happened.

At the same time, $75,000 of perceived value that can be turned into real money isn’t really investable money for your retirement fund if nobody wants to pay that price. Right now, you’ve got $75,000 of nothing.

The true value of something is that value at which the buyer and seller agree, and based on what your realtor is saying, that’s a lower number. Several factors come into play to determine value. Many of those factors are beyond your control.

The things that are hurting your home’s sale now might just be the unusual economy we are in. The trouble with people being able to find jobs might leave more unsold houses sitting on the market, and that depresses the value of a range of homes trying to sell, including yours.

If you sell your current home for less now, you will probably be able to purchase your new home for less as well. If home values rise again in the future, which they always do over time, you’ll potentially recover your $75,000 when you sell the next house, if you buy wisely.

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If the decision you make is that you’d rather sell the house now than let it continue to linger on the market, waiting for a buyer that may never appear, lowering the price and good marketing by your realtor is probably the best bet.

Besides, no realtor will aggressively market a home that is overpriced and not going to sell. Why waste their time.

As far as renting goes, that is truly a double-edged sword. If you get a bad tenant in the home it could wind up costing you money in repairs, damage, or troubles.

Just based on my experience of renting a home I had lived in before, I found it to be a stressful experience. I was emotionally attached to the home rather than looking at it like an investment piece of property. The renters were just not going to take care of it as carefully as I did. And guess what, they didn’t.

Thanks for the question.

Sincerly,
Steve

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