What To Do When Your House Won’t Sell

By Megan Renart

For families with an active duty military service member, mid-May through the end of August is peak permanent change of station, or PCS, season. Receiving orders to new assignments across the United States — or even worldwide — triggers quite the to-do list, which for homeowners includes putting your home on the market. 

So you spruce up the paint and groom the landscaping to boost curbside appeal, but what if your house doesn’t sell? 

First, don’t panic — it’s frustrating, yes, but there are strategies for dealing with this situation. Consider these steps when your house won’t sell:

First, Do Some Social Networking

“Leverage your personal network and your social media presence to let your friends and extended friends of friends know your home is on the market,” says Briana Hartzell, military spouse and community manager for USAA’s Member Community, where she writes about moving (PCS). “It helps to also make sure your active duty family member shares the plans to sell your home. You may get news of someone joining your command who is interested.” 

Hartzell also suggests looking into hiring a new real estate agent, such as a military spouse who will be more in tune with your unique situation and needs. “Don’t be afraid to make a switch if your current agent hasn’t had success,” she says. 

Other Strategies to Try When Your House Won’t Sell

1. Instead of selling, try renting. 

This takes the pressure off selling and potentially losing income from continued mortgage payments, since rent you receive from tenants could mitigate the mortgage payments and taxes you’re likely still paying on a home you can’t sell. Check the going rental rates in your area to determine a price that’s comfortable for you and fair to the tenant.

You’ll want to run credit checks and interview past landlords to ensure your new tenants will be responsible — not only with timely rent payments, but also treating your home with care.

Make sure to have a plan in place for when maintenance on the home is needed since you’ll likely be located too far away to hop over and unplug a drain or fix an air conditioner. Establish relationships with a trusted service that can handle repairs in your absence. 

2. Consider lowering your asking price.

Ouch. We get it: This isn’t ideal, because it might mean losing money on your home. It just might be the only adjustment you need to make before buyers are champing at the bit to buy your place. Remember that people will be more willing to work with you if you lower your asking price — not only buyers, but your real estate agent might be willing to adjust their commission to a lower rate. 

3. Move by yourself to the new city or state while your family remains in the house until it sells. 

This will relieve some of the financial stress you’re feeling, since you now have options to get a temporary roommate and lower the cost of living, or crash on the couches of family/friends at no cost. There will likely be an emotional price: the difficulty of being separated from your family, no matter how short a time.

Moving this winter? Three reasons to feel jolly about that.

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