What to Do When You Need to Relocate and Can’t Sell Your House
Having to move and sell your home is a difficult situation for a homeowner. Between the costs of relocating and the inability to sell your home for at least the balance owed on the mortgage, you might think abandoning your home and allowing the lender to repossess it through foreclosure is the only thing to do. Something more positive can happen if you have valid reasons for moving and communicate with your lender.
1. Sell for the Right Price
Work with your Realtor to come up with a realistic number that does not price you out of the market and allows you to sell quickly. One way to do this is to look at prices on comparable homes that have sold recently. If, on the other hand, you view list prices of homes similar to yours, you may not get an accurate sense of the market, since these could be priced well above what a seller is willing to pay.
Most importantly, when the housing market is experiencing a glut, you need to realize that the price point where you can sell your home is likely to be less than you’d like, and possibly even less than you paid for the house. But remember, if you cannot afford to sell your house for less than you paid, you’re not without options.
Lucky for you, we buy houses in Milwaukee. We work fast to get you a no-obligation cash offer for you house within 24 hours. You won't get a hard sell with us. If you are not completely satisfied with the offer we make to buy your house, you don't have to accept it. No charge. No fees.
2. Wait It Out
Planning for the worst is what all home sellers need to do. Instead of buying a new house right away in the new city, a better plan nay be to rent an apartment for a year or two and wait for your first house to sell. Not only would that take financial pressure off, but it would also provide an opportunity to learn more about the various neighborhoods in your new town.
3. Become a Landlord
In some ways, renting out your home can be a happy solution to your sales woes. However, there’s a great deal to know about being a landlord before you jump in.
- Homeowner’s Insurance. Renting out your home carries several associated costs that you may not anticipate. For example, your homeowners insurance needs to change to a policy that specifically covers landlords/rental properties. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Landlord policies generally cost about 25% more than a standard homeowners policy because landlords need more protection than a typical homeowner.”
- Property Management. In addition, the cost of property management – particularly if you are a remote landlord – could potentially eat up a large portion of the rent income. If you are in another part of the country, you will need to have someone on hand to take care of any issues, from clogged drains, to routine maintenance, to deadbeat tenants. In most cases, you need to hire a property manager, which will generally cost you about 10% of the monthly rent.
- Capital Gains. Finally, your tax burden will likely change when you become a landlord. For example, one potential tax worry is your possible loss of the capital gains tax exemption. As long as you live in your home for two of the five years prior to the sale of your home, you do not have to pay taxes on up to $250,000 of profit ($500,000 for married couples) from the sale of your home. However, if you end up renting out your home for more than three years after your move and then sell for a profit, you will owe money to the federal government on that profit.
Potential Tax Benefits
- Claiming a Capital Loss. One flip side to the concerns about the loss of the capital gains tax exemption (especially in a down market) is that renting out your home and then selling it at a loss means that you can claim the capital loss against your income. That can be a huge tax break, and for this reason it’s often a great idea for sellers in a down market to rent out their home before selling, as they can actually recoup some of their loss through taxes.
- Tax Breaks. In addition to claiming your capital loss against your income, there are other tax breaks available to homeowners who rent out their homes while they are landlords. Landlords can deduct virtually any expense related to the maintenance and marketing of their rental home, such as insurance premiums, repairs, advertising costs, landscaping services, property management services, mortgage interest, and even travel expenses related to the rental.
Setting Your Rates
It can be difficult to know an appropriate amount to charge for rent. The general rule of thumb for investment properties suggests that you need to charge at least 1% of the amount of the mortgage in order to generate a positive cash flow.
You also have to factor in your vacancy rates in order to get an idea of how much money to expect over a year of renting. Most investment property advice suggests that you only plan for 10 and a half months of occupancy per year – meaning you can expect 10% vacancy over any particular length of time that you are renting.
Even if you find that the amount of rent you could charge (minus the associated carrying costs and vacancy rate) would not be enough to cover your monthly mortgage bill, it still may make sense to rent out your home, rather than attempt to carry the mortgage by yourself.
One of the toughest aspects of renting out your home is finding reliable tenants. Once you have applicants, it’s imperative that you put them through a screening process. You can find printable applications and lease agreements online and run background and credit checks through a website like E-Renter. These background and credit checks cost a nominal fee (around $25), but could spare you a number of headaches. You must make sure that you ask your potential tenants about their income, employment history, and rental history – and call all of their references.
4. Turn Your House Into a Vacation Rental
Even if becoming a long-term landlord is not possible or enticing to you, you can still offset some of the costs by renting your home to travelers. Listing your home as a vacation rental on VRBO or on the peer-to-peer accommodation rental site Airbnb can help you to ride out the market slump until you are able to sell.
Furthermore, if you utilize your home as a vacation rental often enough that it qualifies as an income-producing property, and you end up selling the property before the market recovers, you can claim that loss on your taxes.
5. Put Your Home Up for a Short Sale
If you absolutely must relocate and you are underwater in your home, a short sale is a last-ditch option that will at least get you out of the house. In this case, you and your lender would agree to sell your house at a greatly reduced price, just to get it sold. Your lender then forgives the deficiency between what you are able to pay for the mortgage and the full amount. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, that deficiency is not forgiven, and the seller is still responsible for paying it to the lender. A short sale is only a solution if your mortgage problem is otherwise insurmountable.
Through the use of a reduced negotiated payoff, or “short sale”, there is a very good chance we can buy it and you can walk away debt-free! Sell your Milwaukee house… we’re ready to give you a fair all-cash offer. Let us buy your house now, regardless of condition.
6. Go Into Foreclosure
In some cases, it may seem as though allowing the bank to foreclose on your house is your only option. Even though foreclosure gets you out of your housing mess, this is an alternative that you must work hard to avoid. Most people understand that foreclosure has major credit consequences – but not many realize that it takes years (generally three to seven) before banks are willing to take a chance on a mortgage for a homeowner who has foreclosed on a former home.
Foreclosure also does not necessarily mean that a homeowner can walk away without spending any cash. In most states, banks can legally go after homeowners for the deficiency, which is the difference between what the bank was able to get for the home and what was still owed on the mortgage. And even those homeowners who live in a state with anti-deficiency laws still must answer to the bank if they have ever taken out a second loan or refinanced their mortgage in order to cash out some equity. Anti-deficiency laws do not protect homeowners in those cases.
Anything that a homeowner can do to avoid foreclosure is ultimately the best financial decision, as foreclosure can continue to negatively affect finances for years to come.
7. SELL TO A CASH BUYER!
We’ll know very quickly if we can help you, and unlike selling through an agent, you don’t have to wait to see if the buyer can get financing… we’re ready to buy right now!
- you don’t need to clean up and repair the property
- don’t waste time finding an agent who you trust and who can deliver on their promise of selling your house quickly
- you won’t need to sign a contract that binds you to an agent for a certain term
- or deal with the paperwork and the waiting and wondering (and hoping)
All that hassle can add stress, months to the process, and in the end after paying the agent’s expensive fees, you may or may not be ahead of the game.
We work differently at TW HOMES LLC. When you contact us and submit the short property information form, we’ll give you a fair all-cash offer on your house within 24 hours… and the best part is: we can close whenever YOU choose to close – it’s entirely up to you. It doesn’t matter what condition the house is in, or even if there are tenants in there that you can’t get rid of… don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of it for you. And if you need the cash quickly, we can close in as little as 7 days because we buy houses with cash and don’t have to rely on traditional bank financing. (Go here to learn about our process →)
It may not be possible to sell your home within the desired time-frame or for the price that you would like, but accepting that fact and making your decisions accordingly can help you reach the best financial outcome for your situation. Assuming the worst about the housing market is most likely the safest course of action for your bottom line.
We’re cash home buyers in Milwaukee, offering to buy distressed properties. We’ll make a cash offer; if you agree, we’ll close on a date that you prefer. You don’t have to worry about repairs, or renovating the house. We’ll buy the house as it is. Looking to sell your house fast for cash? Call us – we buy houses in Milwaukee!