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What happens when you've already purchased your new dream home, but your current home is still lingering on the market? Read on to learn what you can do to help your house sell, and what some alternatives are to selling your home.

Usually, selling a house goes like this: you decide to purchase a new home, you find one, and then you make an offer. Once that offer is accepted you put your current home up for sale. It sells before you take possession of your new home, and you use the equity to fund your purchase.

While the scenario above is ideal, events don’t always unfold this way. Especially in some of the cities that were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners may have purchased a new property only to find themselves unable to sell their current home. Suddenly, they find themselves thinking “I can’t sell my house, what are my options?”

While this isn’t the case in every market (in fact, some rural markets are seeing demand for homes skyrocket), the global pandemic has caught many would-be home sellers by surprise. So, what happens when you’ve already purchased a property and you have no idea when your current home will sell? Fortunately, there are options! There are alternatives to selling your house and some additional home-selling strategies to explore. Here’s what to do when your house won’t sell.

What to Do When Your House Won’t Sell

Unfortunately, in many markets perfectly sellable homes are sitting on the market for months. If this is the case, and you’ve already bought a new home, you have several options.

Extend your closing date

If your closing date on your new property is approaching and you haven’t sold your house yet, ask your new home’s seller if they would be interested in extending the closing date. This strategy allows you more time to sell your home at your current asking price and eliminates the need to carry two properties. Some sellers may be amenable to this option for a variety of reasons. For example, suppose they’ve had delays in purchasing a new home. In this case, an extended closing date would be a welcome reprieve.

Hire a stager

Staging is the process of hiring a professional to add furniture to your home in order to improve the overall aesthetic and help would-be buyers picture themselves living in your home. Staging is a popular choice if you’ve already moved out of your home, since the empty space makes it easy for a professional stager to bring in rented furniture and accessories.

If you are still living in your home, a professional stager won’t be able to completely stage it from scratch, but they can give you advice on how to make your home more hospitable to would-be buyers using the furniture you already own.

Prepare professional photos and videography

In the era of COVID-19, your home’s online real estate listing will be its single most important marketing tool. There are no open houses to go to, and homebuyers are limiting their showings as much as possible. For these reasons, it’s important to invest in high-quality photos, and even videos, of your home.

With high-quality photos and video, your home will stand out from the pack and improve your chances of receiving a competitive offer before you close on your new home. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend photographers and videographers, or this may be part of their marketing package.

Sell with Properly

If you’re not happy with your current real estate agent and you’re worried about selling your home on a strict timeline, consider using a service like Properly. Properly offers you a guaranteed selling price on your property while also allowing you the chance to sell at the highest possible price. Here’s how the process works:

  • Purchase your new property – Properly will offer you sales assurance which allows you to access the equity in your existing home and secure financing with a lender so you can buy a new property without selling your existing home
  • Move into your new property – Once you purchase your new home and move in, Properly will stage and photograph your original house
  • Sell your house – Then Properly will list your home on the open market for a specific period. If your house does not sell by the end of the period, they will buy it at the guaranteed selling price

Selling your home through Properly is like having a backup offer for your house. This option can be particularly appealing if you have already made an offer on another property and need to sell your home by a set date. Using Properly can sometimes be a little more expensive than selling through a standard real estate agent by a few percentage points.

Lower your selling price

If you reduce the selling price it could spark an offer. While this isn’t ideal, in several markets homes are selling for less than they were before. If you’re considering lowering your selling price, make sure to review your budget and your projected profits to ensure that you’ll still have enough money from the sale for the down payment and closing costs on your new property. If there is a shortfall, you’ll need to consider other sources of cash to cover your needs.

Rent out your current home

If your house isn’t selling because of a depressed market due to COVID-19, then it’s most likely a temporary problem. Now that a vaccine has become available, most experts are confident housing markets will recover – it’s just a question of when that will happen. Renting out your house is an excellent way to cover your mortgage payments in the interim while the housing market in your area recovers.

FAQs

Before you adjust your strategy, verify that your home really isn't selling as fast as it should be. Depending on your local market conditions, your home could take weeks or even months to sell. Before you panic, look at local market statistics (your real estate agent should provide these), especially the average time on the market for similar homes in your area. This information should help you accurately determine whether your home really isn't selling quickly enough or if you just need to give it more time.
If you've established that your home is taking longer than usual to sell, it's time to consider why that may be. A depressed market will increase the length of time it takes all homes to sell, but if your home is taking longer than average, there may be a problem with the home itself or how it's marketed. Here are some common reasons homes don't sell:
  • Poor marketing. An inadequate or poorly-written listing description, or insufficient efforts to promote the home online.
  • Bad staging or photos. COVID-19-era sales require stellar listing photos to catch the buyers’ attention.
  • Poor showing experience. If the home is messy or you require too much notice before booking a showing it can turn a buyer off before they ever see your home in person.
  • Excessive repairs. Buyers may pass on a home that is in poor condition or requires an expensive repair in the near future.
If you recognize any of these issues in your situation, address them as soon as possible to help your home sell faster.

The Last Word

Everyone wants to be able to sell their home quickly, but when that’s not possible using the strategies above can help you navigate the situation so that you minimize your stress and maximize your home’s saleability. And then you can get to the fun part—enjoying your new home.

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