Land Contract Isn't the Way to Go

Courtney and her husband are moving for his job and they have no debt but the house. It isn't selling, so they are considering either renting or doing a land contract. Is that the way to go?

QUESTION: Courtney in Ohio and her husband are moving soon for his job and they have no debt but the house. It isn’t selling, so they are considering either renting or doing a land contract. Is that the way to go? Dave doesn’t think so, and he digs down to find the reason why the house hasn’t sold so far.

ANSWER: I would never land contract it. Either sell it or rent it—one of the two.

People sell houses in bad locations all the time, but the location just affects the price. I would do a couple of things. One is I would consider changing real estate agents. I don’t like that answer. “Yes, but it is the house I own, and I hired you to freaking sell it.” You know? That’s my answer to, “It’s in a bad location.”

“This is, like, your job, okay? So what are we going to do? I can’t exactly move it. The location is not exactly something I can fix, so your suggestion, pro?” I mean . . . I don’t like the answer.

“It could be it’s a tough sell in your area, but we can get her done and here’s what it’s going to take.” You know?” That’s a better answer.

That’s thing one . . . is you may want to consider that. Thing two is I want you to have either that real estate agent or your potential replacement real estate agent that you interview pull some statistics in the area—your immediate neighborhood—for average days on the market (DOM). The houses that have sold in your immediate area—this bad location—how long do they usually sit? And then I want you to get somebody to give you another look on the price.

I think you priced it at what you wanted to price it at rather than what they told you it was worth. I want you guys to look at the price again. If the average days on the market is six months, then you’re about right. If the average days on the market is 30 days, you’ve got a problem. If other houses have sold in this bad area in 30 days on average, then you’re just freaking high or you’ve got the ugliest carpet known to man in the thing or something. I don’t know.

Can you objectively stand at the street and look at your house and ask yourself if there’s something you can do to make it not so ugly? Make it prettier? Is there a bush that needs to be cut? Are you keeping the lawn looking like a manicured deal? Does Leave It to Beaver’s mother want to move in there? This is no longer a home when you put it on the market. It now becomes a model home. You’re trying to sell it.

That kind of stuff—thinking like a retailer, getting your price right, looking at your days on the market, and then maybe changing real estate agents. I’m just amazed sometimes that some people can do it and some people can’t, and it might even be that this person is good that you’ve got in other areas but just doesn’t believe in your property, but you find somebody else that’s proud to have your property listed and gets it done.

You can check daveramsey.com and see if we’ve got an Endorsed Local Provider in Bowling Green. I don’t know if we do or not. You can check ELP for real estate—ELP at daveramsey.com. If we have someone we recommend in the real estate business, they’re going to be high octane, high protein. They’re going to be the get-it-done kind of people. They don’t sell two houses a year. We don’t endorse those kinds of folk. We hope they make it, but we don’t endorse them.

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