A reader asks, “Our family needs to move to another state soon because of my husband’s job transfer. But homes for sale in our area are sitting on the market for a long time. We have enough in savings to cover a couple months of mortgage payments after our move, but after that, our unsold home will put us in a financial pickle. Do you have any suggestions?”
Drop the asking price. If this means you’ll be upside down with your mortgage, ask your mortgage company to consider a short sale.
Hire a home staging service. These expert home image consultants can dress up your home to appeal to buyers better.
Exchange free housing for private property caretaker services. This way, you’ll have someone around to keep an eye on your home, maintain the lawn, and keep it tidy for Realtor showings. Advertise your exchange in the Caretaker Gazette or in your local craigslist.org classifieds.
Alternatively, rather than selling, consider turning your furnished home into:
- business travelers / short-term corporate housing* Hotels get expensive and are often less comfortable for long-term business travelers. Contact local corporate housing departments to discuss their needs.
- family vacation rental* This could be a viable option for you, depending upon your home’s location. Charge by the night or by the week. Peruse Vacation Rentals By Owner to research this potential market. You’ll probably need to hire a management and/or housekeeping service, so charge accordingly.
- special needs housing* For example, lease to members of a substance abuse recovery program on a per-bed “all bills paid” basis. Give one tenant a discount for acting as “house manager”.
- university student housing* If your home is located near a university, lease it on a per bedroom, per semester basis. Once again, provide one tenant a discount for acting as manager to maintain your home.
*Before selecting one of these options, make sure you check with your local zoning department and homeowner’s association first.
When calculating cash flow, don’t forget to consider the following expenses: mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs, management fees, utilities, a vacancy allowance, and lost opportunity costs.
Readers, please share your suggestions in the comments below.
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