Home Selling in Lorton>Question Details

Jeff Richards, Both Buyer and Seller in 22079

What can I do to help sell my house?

Asked by Jeff Richards, 22079 Mon Feb 2, 2009

My home has been on the market for 300 days now and we have had several offers but one buyer had a VA loan and the appraisal came back ridiculously low and we can't accept VA loans now and I am getting worried about selling my home. The house is in great condition but there have been a few foreclosures in the neighborhood and that is what the appraisal was based on. Any ideas for ways to make my house sell, does staging make a difference? The house is empty at the moment since I have moved in to my new home.

Help the community by answering this question:


I thought about doing a short sale but I really do not want to go that route. I am proud that I am able to pay my mortgage on time every month and it upsets me that this has become the easy way out for so many people and they are making it near impossible for me to sell my home for anywhere near what it is worth. I would like to rent it but I could not rent it for enough to cover my mortgage and I don't have the extra income to spend $500 a month on a house I am not living in.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Your home has been on the market so long, you are going to dramatically drop the price to get attention. I see it all the time, you're listing is stale. I suggest taking it off the market for a short time and then putting it back on at a price below market with the comments "BACK ON THE MARKET, PRICED LOWER THAN EVER, TRADITIONAL SALE!", I'd even up the commission a tad for the buyer's side. Then, sit back and watch. If you've priced it right, and it shows well, I guarrantee you'll know... you WILL get multiple offer to negotiate.

As for staging, I am a big fan of it for occupieds, but for vacants, I only suggest it if there are odd spaces or the property is difficult to visualize living in. But, it should be in pristine shape, and show perfectly, not a spec of dust or a dead bug on the floor; it must be warm and inviting... it must "feel" better than the REOs and short sales we're showing and buyers are looking at. The true key....the price must be the best on the market - INCLUDING distress sales. Sorry, but distress sales (like REOs and short sales) are your comps - they used to be exceptions but now are the norm.

If you can't drop the price, you'll need to think about renting it.

If your agent is not saying this to you, your agent has gotten "sucked in" to your illusions of what the property should be selling for... I've been that agent, so I really get it. I've gotten so attached to the clients that I was just as pained as them about the pricing situation and as a result of MY inability to see the cold hard truth and relay it to my clients, they didn't sell... and the longer they were on the market the more they lost value. The real result? By the time they did sell - with another agent - they lost much more than if I had just told them to drop the price faster. And, that terrible error came from my heart, because I really, honestly, cared... and I thought that if I worked hard enough I could get them the money they needed from the house. But, believe me, that lesson only had to be learned once. You need a professional who can tell you what you dont want to hear.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Jeff, I can not speak for each and every Realtor but in general it is true that no one works for free be it anyone!! if you feel comfortable either email me at info@realtygeeks.com or call me after 11:30 Am today, like I said in my firat answer and I will evaluate the choices you have for you and then you can decide. But if not that you need to run a net sheet to figure out what are your losses, if you can't bear them and want to sell the house - I feel short sale is the way, or if you want to keep it and rent it then loan modification may work. I have all the referrals you may need.
Web Reference: http://www.Realtygeeks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
What do you do if you do not have the reserves to cover the difference left after a sale. Say I do get enough to pay of the loan what about realtor fees and such if I don't have the money to pay for those things? I know no realtors out there want to sell a home for no profit but if I am willing to take a hit someone else has to be willing to help somewhat or am I crazy to think this?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I agree with you Jeff!! Some people have actually takean and still taking advantage of that. Be it shortsale and even leaving the house to foreclosure (even worst). However, good and evel always run parallel. But many situations are real and long term; once identified I feel it is much better to take an action rather than staying stuck - some of my clients were able to do loan modification to be able to keep their house since they wanted to and they saved their credit by modifying the mortgage. Some with long term situation did short sale and it was good for lender borrower and economy (saved foreclosure)!! So if your situation is well and you feel you can keep going this route good. BUT no one is buying the house because market isn't bearing the Tag for now. So why don't you lower the price take one time hit and sell, rather than burning every month?
I believe it's all about choices that you will make by calculating past, How long can you stay suck?
Web Reference: http://www.Realtygeeks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009

Have you thought about short selling it! I know many agents don't want to go that route because it is more than normal sale & one(listing agent specially) has to know more than what normal resale requires but this has helped many to get out of the icky situation of borrowing from credit card and paying their mortgage & eventually going B R O K E. That is a cycle to put you in bigger trouble or doing same by paying minimum payments until ---.Lenders are very Receptive to short sales done correctly. We closed many 3 under contract to close in Feb. This is beneficial for seller and lender and a good deal for buyer too..

Now that I know your real situation (as I wrote in the morning ) Please double check the reality as Vicky said and think straight there are not too many solutions as I see to your situation, you got to accept what fits best!!
Close to one year isn't a less times on the market to know you GOT TO DO something else..

Web Reference: http://www.Realtygeeks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Jeff, 300 Days is a long time for a property not to be sold and I am positive you have tried to lower the price; do this and not do that !!
. I feel you must have a cut off price so you may not be able take lower than that. Since in Fairfax, I have a listing like that!! But that does not mean that it will be on the market forever; Sellers and I have sat down to analyse and already have back up plan to sell it what ever it takes in this market. If you like to be evaluated feel free to call me for 5 minutes conversation. You don't have to list your house with me or pressured to take action. This is part of my day every day to see if my knowledge can be helpful to anyone stuck or concerned!!
1 thing I feel good about your situation that you are already out and settled in your new house, which is very hard these days to get approved if you already have a primary residence and you have not sold it yet, Lenders are asking for HUGE reserves.
I sincerely feel your situation is more than just this Q, posted here, I can certainly shed light if I know more. Please disregard this answer if you feel my judgement is incorrect.
Web Reference: http://www.Realtygeeks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
I am listed with an agent and we are listed on the MLS. MLS# FX6696414. We are priced well below the tax assessment and I know that doesn't always mean that the price is right but the house next to me with the same layout and condition sold for $525,000 just a little over a year ago. If I drop the value of my home anymore I will be upside down and be losing money on the home. The reason we cannot accept a VA loan is that we had an offer and we only a few days away from closing and the appraisal came in at $280k and we had agreed on a selling price of $365,000. Once the appraisal was in the VA system they must use that appraisal for I believe six months. There is no way I would sell my home for $280k when the foreclosures in the same neighborhood with mold and are falling apart are selling for $300k.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009

I assume that you do have your house listed with an agent and on the Multiple Listing Service, as you did not mention oeither way. And why can't you accept VA loan? If you are listed on the MLS, feel free to provide your MLS number and I will pulll up some comps for you and try fto provide you with an answer directed more towards out local market.

Frank Biganski, Realtor ABR
(757) 303-0517
Web Reference: http://www.mrtownhome.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009

As previously mentioned, the current market is one in which buyers are looking to make the best deal possible. With this said, it's is critical theat sellers today understand the scope of their competition. Short sales and foreclosures are presently creating the "New Real Estate Market."

To sell in today's market, homes need to be marketed with the prices of these homes in mind and priced accordingly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
The questions I would ask a seller is "how long as your home been on the market?" How many showings have you had? How many offers have you had? National statistics tell us that in the first 30 days if you had 10 showinbgs and no offers, you are probably 10% overpriced. If you had no showings in the first 30 days, you are 20% overpriced. Price is critical in this market because there is plenty of inventory for buyers to look at. Staging is very important in a vacant home and there are many qualified stagers that can give you some great advice at a very low cost. Unfortunately foreclosures are comparables and it does affect the value of homes in the neighborhood. If you have not had an appraisal and a building inspection, you could be wasting valuable time. It is a great time to buy considering interest rates are at an all time low hovering around 5%. You could also offer a buy-down to purchasers enabling a even more attractive rate of around 4% fixed for thirty years. Creativity is a good way to get people to make a move in a challenging market. I hope this input is helpful.
Web Reference: http://longstaffonline.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
This is what Trulia says about your area"

116 Homes For Sale 0 Open Homes
438 Recently Sold 147 Foreclosures

"the appraisal came back so ridiculously low". In most cases if you have seen the appraisals then you might want to re-consider your opinion of their accuracy....

To be more helpful, we see many posts just like yours. If you were my client I would show you each week the homes that HAD sold in the last week. In this case, homes are selling...just not yours.

How much you paid, how much you owe, how much you need to net, or how much you invested make no difference to buyers. All things being equal (meaning you have a competent Realtor), a properly priced home will always sell.

The rule of thumb is:
no showings, lower the price
showings, but no offers, lower the price
Low offers, lower the price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
I will like to know the size of your property and the number of rooms. We have buyer that has a family of nine and he needs a large property for them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
Staging a house can make a huge difference. Please see the attached atricle from our team's home stager. Keep in mind that once the home is staged you will have to market it in a different way to get those potential buyers to come back and see it in it's new beauty.

What is Home Staging?

Home Staging is the art of preparing a home going on the market to highlight it's best features in a positive manner. The entire objective behind Home Staging is to make a house look as good as possible to as many potential home owners as possible, thus increasing it's chances for a quicker sale at the highest expected market value for the area.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

When it comes to selling homes, first impressions are extremly important. A potential home buyer has already made up their mind in 15 seconds upon arriving at your doorstep.

When I style a home to sell, I take into account the following conditions:

Who are the target buyers and what do they expect in this price range?
What are the selling points of the property and are they easliy identified for potential buyers?
How much staging is needed?
I will do my best to accommodate your budget and will work with what furnishings you already have to reduce the cost. We will find the most cost-effective approach to sell your home faster and for more money. Staging is always less than the cost of your first price reduction.

Brenda Bonello



U.S. Housing and Urban Development reports that a staged home will sell, on average, 17% higher than an-staged home.


If you can't see objectively, you can't package effectively. Have a staging professional get your home into its most advantageous condition for showing.


A professional home stager can manage your projects from start to finish. Or they can give you a detailed report based on their extensive knowledge and training to help you "do it yourself".

4. Only 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home.

This is why staging a home is critical! You don't want the advantages of your home over looked smf left to the buyer's imagination.


According to a National Association of Realtors survey, homes that sold after four weeks on the market sold for 6% lrdd than the ones within the first four weeks. Don't be in the position where you have to lower your price. Have your house staged first!


7. You can relax.
You will have the satisfaction of knowing you have done absolutely everything possible to affect a quick sale of your most valuable commodity and for top dollar!
Web Reference: http://www.keppleteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
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