How to sell a house?

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nyclon
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How to sell a house?

Postby nyclon » Thu May 18, 2017 1:43 pm

Team Bogleheads:

I'm curious on your thoughts about the following scenario. There seem to be several options and I'll lay out my rough approach.

An elderly couple (80s) needs to sell their house after living there for 40 years.
-House needs renovating. Concrete foundation is slightly caving due to water retention on outside, upstairs hasn't been renovated in 40 years. Things are generally "falling apart". Yard doesn't look so great.
-Great school district in Pennsylvania
-Annual property tax and misc = $6,000
-Zilow estimate is $175,000
-Wouldn't be surprising if basic repairs cost $35-50k
-House is filled with stuff -> some of which they need to keep and some of which needs to go into a dumpster they order

My thoughts
-Don't waste time and effort getting the house fixed -> sell at a big discount and have buyer fix so the couple can move on with life
-Find a broker suited for fixer uppers (vs those that are accustomed to selling only good condition homes). How to find this person?
-In order to figure out what's fair, need to get estimate of what's required for basic fixes and integrate those costs and time into discount
-Hire dumpster company

Thank you for your thoughts!

ResearchMed
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby ResearchMed » Thu May 18, 2017 2:00 pm

nyclon wrote:Team Bogleheads:

I'm curious on your thoughts about the following scenario. There seem to be several options and I'll lay out my rough approach.

An elderly couple (80s) needs to sell their house after living there for 40 years.
-House needs renovating. Concrete foundation is slightly caving due to water retention on outside, upstairs hasn't been renovated in 40 years. Things are generally "falling apart". Yard doesn't look so great.
-Great school district in Pennsylvania
-Annual property tax and misc = $6,000
-Zilow estimate is $175,000
-Wouldn't be surprising if basic repairs cost $35-50k
-House is filled with stuff -> some of which they need to keep and some of which needs to go into a dumpster they order

My thoughts
-Don't waste time and effort getting the house fixed -> sell at a big discount and have buyer fix so the couple can move on with life
-Find a broker suited for fixer uppers (vs those that are accustomed to selling only good condition homes). How to find this person?
-In order to figure out what's fair, need to get estimate of what's required for basic fixes and integrate those costs and time into discount
-Hire dumpster company

Thank you for your thoughts!


For helping them with the "stuff", whichever way the rest of it goes, given that some needs to be kept, you might want to find someone who helps with "elder moving". "Cleaning out" is where they usually start. They can also assist with the actual move, and help someone move back in to the new place, but that's not required. In fact, the "moving back in" is often in a completely different area/region of the country.

We had one of these companies help very elderly MIL "get rid of stuff" and pack the rest, for a move cross country to an assisted living facility near us.
We had another company meet the van and "unpack her".
I set up the basics, like new furniture except for a couple of special pieces, and new kitchen ware, etc., as she didn't have anything worth bringing. Well, except a few boxes (!?) of "things she wanted to give us". Now we don't feel comfortable disposing of them until...... (even though she'd never know...)
These companies were AMAZING, as they also were familiar with the various emotional issues, plus mobility issues if relevant.
We also had the second company "move her" when we found a better facility for her a year later. (She's mid-90's, and needed to have more people to play bridge with! :happy ) By then, it was easy, because she didn't have all that much.

Are they moving locally?
And you might have a realtor come in to give an idea of whether it is even worth fixing up the place. If a place is very old and in disrepair, then starting to fix X could lead to noticing that Y also needs work badly, and on and on.
You don't want to end up with a huge job, with much unexpected. There's almost always "more" than expected, by the way.
I've done several major renovations, but the basics were all there. It was replacing kitchens/bathrooms (including adding some), and mostly cosmetic for the rest. Electrical and basic plumbing, etc., were okay, as were all walls, etc.

RM
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Gropes & Ray
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Gropes & Ray » Thu May 18, 2017 2:04 pm

I don't think I would waste time fixing the house up. You need to find a flipper who will take on the project. In that case, maybe not even bother with a broker. Just advertise the house in the paper or on Zillow and the flippers and wholesalers will find you.

delamer
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby delamer » Thu May 18, 2017 2:11 pm

Start by finding a couple of real estate agents that work in the neigborhood a lot, and get their opinions. They should be able to estimate an "as is" price versus a "basic improvements" price. I wouldn't worry about a fixer upper broker; someone who know the neighborhood is more important. Unless you decide to go the route suggested above of a flipper or wholesaler. No reason that you couldn't try both.

In my neighborhood, the Zillow prices are good with +/-5%. But I wouldn't get too wedded to the $175,000 estimate since I think it assumes a home in good condition. It seems to me that the "not updated" issue is very different than a damaged foundation.

adamthesmythe
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby adamthesmythe » Thu May 18, 2017 2:48 pm

> Zilow estimate is $175,000

Ignore this.

Declutter and put on the market for what it will bring.

> Hire dumpster company

Hiring a dumpster is easy and cheap. You will need to find people to fill it.

RudyS
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby RudyS » Thu May 18, 2017 3:17 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:> Zilow estimate is $175,000

Ignore this.

Declutter and put on the market for what it will bring.

> Hire dumpster company

Hiring a dumpster is easy and cheap. You will need to find people to fill it.


I agree you should ignore Zillow for this type of house. The house will bring what it's worth - i.e., estimated value of a nice house minus cost of fix ups.

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deanbrew
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby deanbrew » Thu May 18, 2017 4:10 pm

Agree on ignoring Zillow. It may be reasonably accurate, but I've seen lots of times it is off by more than 50 percent. Interview three real estate agents who are active in your market and: a) have them prepare a market analysis telling you what the property is worth; b) have them tell you how to market it and who the most likely buyers are; c) have them suggest what improvements/changes are worthwhile before marketing it; d) have them tell you what commission rate they charge; and e) pick the one you think will do the best job.

As an alternative to a dumpster, if the stuff in the house is at all decent, call up a couple of local auctioneers and see if they will come and haul away furniture and items and auction them off.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

denovo
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby denovo » Thu May 18, 2017 4:23 pm

Gropes & Ray wrote:I don't think I would waste time fixing the house up. You need to find a flipper who will take on the project. In that case, maybe not even bother with a broker. Just advertise the house in the paper or on Zillow and the flippers and wholesalers will find you.



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Miriam2
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Miriam2 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:24 pm

ResearchMed wrote:For helping them with the "stuff", whichever way the rest of it goes, given that some needs to be kept, you might want to find someone who helps with "elder moving". "Cleaning out" is where they usually start. They can also assist with the actual move, and help someone move back in to the new place, but that's not required. In fact, the "moving back in" is often in a completely different area/region of the country.

We had one of these companies help very elderly MIL "get rid of stuff" and pack the rest, for a move cross country to an assisted living facility near us. We had another company meet the van and "unpack her".

How does one find a company specializing in "elder moving?" Good idea, even if local move.

ResearchMed wrote:She's mid-90's, and needed to have more people to play bridge with! :happy

I love it, way to go! :D

RudyS
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby RudyS » Thu May 18, 2017 4:33 pm

Companies dealing in Elder Moves often advertise in local Senior papers, such as the newsletters from the local Council on Aging.

ResearchMed
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby ResearchMed » Thu May 18, 2017 4:46 pm

Miriam2 wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:For helping them with the "stuff", whichever way the rest of it goes, given that some needs to be kept, you might want to find someone who helps with "elder moving". "Cleaning out" is where they usually start. They can also assist with the actual move, and help someone move back in to the new place, but that's not required. In fact, the "moving back in" is often in a completely different area/region of the country.

We had one of these companies help very elderly MIL "get rid of stuff" and pack the rest, for a move cross country to an assisted living facility near us. We had another company meet the van and "unpack her".

How does one find a company specializing in "elder moving?" Good idea, even if local move.

ResearchMed wrote:She's mid-90's, and needed to have more people to play bridge with! :happy

I love it, way to go! :D


Yes, she is totally "alert", it is amazing.
She is finally using a walker (but just since last year, and only because of "one more fall", so DH *insisted* and said otherwise, he'd use HER money to hire a full time health care person :twisted: That did it!

I used Google to start, and had to make several calls, and then try to screen, which was more difficult because of the distance.
Try variations like "Elder Care Moving" (creative, huh?).
I did get some hits such as medical vans complete with RN to physically move the elder, not the possessions. However, given that MIL had been totally refusing, it was actually comforting (to me; we didn't tell her) to come across this, in case she fell or something and really couldn't fly. They are able to arrange it in various ways, and can arrange it so a family member rides along in addition to the elder and RN. Interesting, some of these services these days. (I didn't inquire about price, but it had to be less than an air ambulance. I think.)

And when I made calls, I asked if they had other suggestions, if it wasn't quite right.
They then visited (no charge), the company owner and the specific woman who would "be there doing the work", with more help if/when needed.
MIL wasn't at all sure about the personality, but she was ready to move, finally.
After the first day of "work", MIL declared the woman TOTALLY PERFECT :happy
[MIL is not easy to please. They are prepared for "ornery old folks", to be blunt - and DH and I may be headed that way, so I write that with ALL due respect!]

We absolutely can NOT imagine arranging her move otherwise.
DH flew there for the final few days, to help close out bank accounts, and go through papers (which he had been trying to help with a bit each visit during the previous few years, delicately).
He was stressed beyond belief anyway.
Meanwhile, I was totally stressed furnishing her new place, having almost no clue about what she liked. We had to order some furniture a bit in advance, so DH took photos in the store and emailed them to her on the spot.
I never bothered to send photos of the lamps, and it turned out she hated them ALL. We now have some very nice new lamps.

And yes, for the local move, they did it all in one day. DH picked up MIL for a VERY leisurely breakfast (where she lived that morning). Then he drove her to the new place, where she enjoyed a concert (live), lunch, a lecture...
And then DH got a call to "come upstairs to check everything".
By dinner, she was living somewhere else, all moved in. They took photos of how EVERYTHING was arranged, including how her sweaters or dishes were stacked, etc. And it was all there, "in place".
Almost like magic.

We decided that when we downsize... yup, that local company will be the first call we make!

RM
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Miriam2
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Miriam2 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:58 pm

ResearchMed and RudyS - ^^^ Thank you so much, what a great wiki on elder moving!

beth65
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby beth65 » Thu May 18, 2017 10:13 pm

I agree. Most people want to come in and renovate or just gut the house and redesign it the way that they like. It's not worth the headaches and the cost to you to do it yourself. My stepfather did this and lost money, even though they tried to do a few minimal upgrades and keep them neutral. It still sat on the market for almost a year and a half before they were finally willing to drop the price to the level that buyers could still afford to do renovations. Whenever we have sold houses when older family members moved to senior living or passed away, the buyers came in and did a total reno. Generally speaking, past generations did not upgrade and update their homes the way we do today, and the vast majority of the time, you can tell as soon as you walk in or see photos that an older person or older couple lives there.

Many people, not just flippers, are looking for a deal or to design a home the way they want it. There is one market that wants turn key, and another market of buyers that watches HGTV and wants to do work themselves. If I had the time, I would either build new or buy a home with good bones and a general floorpan that I liked and gut it. It's hard to move into a home that you can't make many changes (other than cosmetic) to. Homes of older/elderly people scream renovation. Market to DIY'ers and flippers, find your buyers, make whatever you can and walk away. The longer it sits there and you pay taxes and utilities the more it eats away at your profits.

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deanbrew
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby deanbrew » Fri May 19, 2017 7:19 am

beth65 wrote:I agree. Most people want to come in and renovate or just gut the house and redesign it the way that they like. It's not worth the headaches and the cost to you to do it yourself. My stepfather did this and lost money, even though they tried to do a few minimal upgrades and keep them neutral. It still sat on the market for almost a year and a half before they were finally willing to drop the price to the level that buyers could still afford to do renovations. Whenever we have sold houses when older family members moved to senior living or passed away, the buyers came in and did a total reno. Generally speaking, past generations did not upgrade and update their homes the way we do today, and the vast majority of the time, you can tell as soon as you walk in or see photos that an older person or older couple lives there.

Many people, not just flippers, are looking for a deal or to design a home the way they want it. There is one market that wants turn key, and another market of buyers that watches HGTV and wants to do work themselves. If I had the time, I would either build new or buy a home with good bones and a general floorpan that I liked and gut it. It's hard to move into a home that you can't make many changes (other than cosmetic) to. Homes of older/elderly people scream renovation. Market to DIY'ers and flippers, find your buyers, make whatever you can and walk away. The longer it sits there and you pay taxes and utilities the more it eats away at your profits.


I partly agree. I still think it's probably worthwhile to apply new paint in a neutral color and replace any worn flooring. But I get what you're saying. I don't know how much money HGTV makes, but the network sure has changed people's expectations and tastes. Now, middle and even lower end homes have to have granite countertops, hardwood flooring, brushed nickel (or oil-rubbed bronze) fixtures, white cabinets, an open floorplan, tray ceilings, yada yada.

You're right... before HGTV, past generations didn't renovate and update their homes nearly as often. You put in a kitchen and bathroom and lived with it for decades and decades until it became unsightly. Now, you hear people referring to 15 year old homes as "not renovated" or "not updated". Well, no kidding. Countertops, cabinets and almost everything else is supposed to last a LOT longer than 15 or 20 years.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

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BolderBoy
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby BolderBoy » Fri May 19, 2017 10:15 am

1) Have the folks move out to their new digs and take what they want.
2) Hire a good (honest) auctioneer to come in and have an estate sale - including auctioning the house.

Take the money and go.

The primary advantage of auctioning the house is that there will be no contingencies (no inspections to bog down the sale, no haggling about fixing things, nothing - the property goes "as is".) And the auctioneer does everything - advertising, showings pre-auction, the works. And his commission on the house auction is usually less than a real estate agent wants.

If he does his job, the house contents will be zeroed out and the house will be sold on the days of the auction.
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Griffeycom
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Griffeycom » Fri May 19, 2017 12:05 pm

BolderBoy wrote:1) Have the folks move out to their new digs and take what they want.
2) Hire a good (honest) auctioneer to come in and have an estate sale - including auctioning the house.

Take the money and go.

The primary advantage of auctioning the house is that there will be no contingencies (no inspections to bog down the sale, no haggling about fixing things, nothing - the property goes "as is".) And the auctioneer does everything - advertising, showings pre-auction, the works. And his commission on the house auction is usually less than a real estate agent wants.

If he does his job, the house contents will be zeroed out and the house will be sold on the days of the auction.


I used to work for an auction company that did just this. We would have a sale for the personal property that would clear it out about 2 weeks before the auction of the house.

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deanbrew
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby deanbrew » Fri May 19, 2017 12:09 pm

The above auction idea is excellent. It's somewhat of a crapshoot, as it all depends on who shows up at the auction. But, it's a very easy and efficient way to go.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

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Pajamas
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Pajamas » Fri May 19, 2017 12:24 pm

Agreed that you should ignore the Zillow estimate completely as they are not very accurate and also assume that the house is in good condition.

You should find the right real estate agent now and ask for their advice. Look for someone with a lot of experience who has similar "handyman special" listings. An alternative would be to find someone local who flips houses and do a deal directly.

The reason I think this should be your first step is because you don't want to put any money into the house if you won't get it back, but structural problems like a crumbling foundation may have to be fixed before you can sell it to someone who needs to get a loan to buy and something like spending $500 to get the yard cleaned up might provide a good return. On the other hand, it might even be a teardown, depending on the size and condition and neighborhood. You also need to know what it is worth, and the right real estate agent or flipper can tell you or at least point you to someone who can.

So find out what the house is worth and what you need to do to get the house sold in the most efficient manner.

Since the house is filled with stuff, you should consider dealing with that simultaneously. That would also provide an immediate quality-of-life improvement for the elderly couple.

littlebird
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby littlebird » Sat May 20, 2017 1:00 am

ResearchMed wrote:We had one of these companies help very elderly MIL "get rid of stuff" and pack the rest, for a move cross country to an assisted living facility near us. We had another company meet the van and "unpack her".



Thank you so much for these long, informative posts about moving your MIL. "Who knew" there were such companies? I discovered that there's actually an association of "senior moving specialists"! I added this info to the ever-growing binder of personal and helpful information I maintain for my daughter to consult if I become disabled or when I die.

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Kosmo
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby Kosmo » Sat May 20, 2017 7:27 am

It's very important to price the house appropriately for the work that needs to be done. I live I one of the top school districts in PA. There is a house for sale I my neighborhood in the same situation where elderly folks moved out. Their kids over priced it by about 30%. Everything inside the house is 30+ years old and looks it. They are asking more than what some fully redone houses sold for. In 2+ months on the market they've had 0 interest and haven't budged on price. Don't do that.

J295
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby J295 » Sat May 20, 2017 7:36 am

Engage a good realtor. They will know your market and best next steps. Although I have bought and sold our own homes fsbo this is a situation where I think fsbo is not the best option.

Disclosure. Wife is real estate agent and I'm retired lawyer so fsbo was easy.

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tennisplyr
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby tennisplyr » Sat May 20, 2017 7:41 am

Sold my home of 35yrs recently that needed some work, largely cosmetic. Some thoughts:

-I would not spend huge amounts of money repairing things
-Maybe a paint job and some yard work for improving visual appeal
-Price to sell because at the end of the day the house will go for what it's worth
-Less is more...get rid of clutter...I put things at the curb, donated and sold lots of old stuff
-Make things bright on inside, pole lamps, open windows help a lot

Good luck!
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

ResearchMed
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Re: How to sell a house?

Postby ResearchMed » Sat May 20, 2017 11:58 am

littlebird wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:We had one of these companies help very elderly MIL "get rid of stuff" and pack the rest, for a move cross country to an assisted living facility near us. We had another company meet the van and "unpack her".



Thank you so much for these long, informative posts about moving your MIL. "Who knew" there were such companies? I discovered that there's actually an association of "senior moving specialists"! I added this info to the ever-growing binder of personal and helpful information I maintain for my daughter to consult if I become disabled or when I die.


Here is a link to that senior moving organization (the one that moves the senior's possessions, not the senior him/herself):

https://www.nasmm.org/find/?

Here is a "testamonial" from a post on the website of the company we used:

' "Your patience, knowledge, connections and persistence helped turn a hopeless situation into success." '

This isn't our post, and we didn't feel it was a "hopeless" situation, although it was certainly stressful, especially given the great distance.

However, because some of the posts here on BH about this type of situation do seem to exhibit a sense of hopelessness (especially with non-cooperating seniors), I just wanted to point out that these companies deal with this all the time.
Some of them have social work skills/backgrounds, plus they know of so many resources to call for additional assistance, be it medical or hoarding or whatever.

RM
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