We’ve had a lot of great memories in this house, but it’s time to start expanding.
It’s already challenging finding and moving into a new home when it’s just you and/or your partner, but when you add kids into it, you realize just how much stuff you’ve accumulated!
All the toys, equipment, furniture, even the number of items in your kitchen seem to have 10x’d on it’s own! I’ll have to post about how we managed to prepare and commit to the move in another post.
In this post, I’d like to talk about how we actually went in and sold our house, especially during this COVID-19 time!
Let me tell you, this corona virus stuff has not made life easy, especially for those of us that already had things planned and in progress. We managed to get things done in time, but not without some headaches.
Trying to sell a house in this market
It has not been easy with this real estate market!
Never mind that we were doing it out of season, as they like to say.
Usually, people like to purchase new homes in the spring and summer, but the right time for us was really to get started around the winter.
We’d located a home that we wanted to purchase, and so it was time to get our home ready to purchase.
Except that we had a lot of things happen at once that sort of ate a lot of our savings that we’d put aside to get things ready for our home to go on the market.
We were able to make it work, but it took longer than we thought, and we then needed to talk to the realtor and let them do their thing.
Despite all of the work put into it, the house was still sitting on the market for months: months that we weren’t intending to continue paying for the mortgage and HOA and everything involved with owning a house when you have most of it already packed up and ready to roll.
We felt that our sale price was within fair market value, but there wasn’t enough demand. We just weren’t getting enough prospective buyers that would be interested in our house.
So, eventually, we need to find another way to get it sold, and this involves having to try to sell it by owner.
We had to wait until our contract with the real estate agent expired in order to do a FSBO, which honestly is a lot of time to wait (3 months for us, but for other it is sometimes 6 months).
A note about real estate agents: the whole purpose of a real estate agent is to market a house. This includes Grade A photos, sometimes staging, promoting the house all over the place, doing open houses, and marketing to buyers lists. A realtor should NOT just take photos with their phone and upload them to the MLS. Not only does that give the house the absolute minimum chances to sell, but it is not truly worth their commission.
At this point, we decided to try selling it ourselves.
Marketing your house to the right audience
One of the things we realized about our property is that it was being compared to similar style houses.
This is a normal ways to do comps, but it leaves out something critical for houses like ours.
Most of the homes around the lake area that we are near sell for millions of dollars, but ours is one of the very few that IS NOT valued at over a million.
This means that, while doing comps to similar style homes, ours is in the median range, but if you were to look at how many properties you can get on the lake at this price range, this is a steal for the luxury audience who would love to purchase the house and put 100 grand into making it an amazing property, easily raising its value.
So, when we decided to sell our house, this is the audience we set out to target.
We got some advise from our friends at Home Buyer Cleveland, who specialize in purchasing and investing in real estate all over Ohio, said that “Understanding your target audience is crucial to selling a house. Regardless of whatever house we purchase, there’s going to be a different exit strategy, whether we keep it or we are selling it once we’ve rehabbed it and put it back on the market. If we put too much money into a home and we aren’t going to get the returns to justify it, then we are going to lose a lot of money. However, if we are buying a house, and we know that this neighborhood is going to become very in demand soon, then we know we can push a little harder on the quality of materials and we’re likely to make money on that deal.”
Clearly, knowing your audience is important. Maybe it’s not about how much you’re going to make, but how much you could lose by not knowing what type of buyer is going to purchase your home.
Armed with this new knowledge about who to target, we decided to get a little fancy with it.
How are we going to market our house to a very specific audience?
We decided to hire an online marketer who specializes in landing pages.
We added aerial and 360 photos to our album, as well as a video, and let the copywriter get to work. He built a beautiful landing page that told the reader everything they needed to know about the property.
It was angled as if an investor was being pitched on an investment property.
With that, we put it into a Facebook ads campaign and started targeting people that were more likely to be affluent and have that type of spending money.
Within weeks we found a buyer that could purchase the home IN CASH, for exactly the amount we asked for in the purchase price, and saw it as an opportunity to get a lake house at a severe discount.
Since this was a cash deal, we didn’t have to deal with all the normal bank appraisal and approval processes or have a real estate attorney, and we went to the closing table for a super smooth transaction with our title company.
Our family was ready to get out of the house, and we finally had the opportunity to move into the next phase of our lives!
If you’re stuck with trying to find potential buyers or if you’re just trying to sell your house, think about some other angles that you can take.
This doesn’t mean that you need to try to sell your home on your own, but maybe there are other things that you and your realtor can target in order to make selling your home a lot easier.
Finding a potential buyer can be a challenge, but with a little creativity, it can be easy to buy or sell your home even in this current real estate market.