For years my wife and I kept a rental property in Katy, TX, but in February of this year, after our latest broken lease and tenant headache, we decided it was time to move on. Thankfully, we were able to sell the property fairly quickly, and without losing a ton of money. In all honesty it helped to be selling a house in the still relatively seller-friendly Houston market. However, we still had to spend some money and make some concessions to finally get a deal done.
There were of course issues with the home resulting from it previously being a rental, and we had to invest in making the home sellable. We did many small things at the beginning, such as, painting, repairing the wood floors, and some minor foundation work. Our buyer however, wanted new carpets in the bedrooms, and we figured this would be a small price to pay in return losing the headaches associated with being a landlord. The key for us as sellers was to agree to the carpets, but retain the right to negotiate with the contractors to find the best deal for us. For all you sellers out there; be willing to put in the time to shop and negotiate for any work. Contractors are in the same financial boat as the rest of us, and are open to serious negotiation in order to get the work.
Real Estate Commission
One of the most common negotiating points in real estate is who picks up closing costs and commissions. To get this deal done we had to pick up the closing costs, and we did so in the form of a reduction in the asking price. We did, however, do some fancy maneuvering to handle to commission. Many people don't realize that real estate commissions are negotiable, and that agents are as desperate to sell the home as the seller, and usually very willing to negotiate. We were able to cut 50% off of what our agent was originally asking for, and we then took that savings, and cut it off of the asking price of the home in order to get it closer to the buyer's desired number.
After a few weeks of negotiating price, commissions, and everything else, the deal was almost done. The buyers were close to satisfied, but needed one little push. We accommodated by throwing in a 2-year membership in a home warranty company to cover any issues that might arise with appliances within the home. This came at a cost of $900, and gave the buyers the peace-of-mind that they would not buy a home only to have something like the A/C go out in the first month.
The bottom line is that even in a tough seller's market there are still ways that the seller can unload a home without losing their shirt.
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