By Megan Renart
For families with an active duty military service member, mid-May through the end of August is peak permanent change of station, or PCS, season. Receiving orders to new assignments across the United States — or even worldwide — triggers quite the to-do list, which for homeowners includes putting your home on the market.
So you spruce up the paint and groom the landscaping to boost curbside appeal, but what if your house doesn’t sell?
First, don’t panic — it’s frustrating, yes, but there are strategies for dealing with this situation. Consider these steps when your house won’t sell:
You want to make sure you have a capable, trusted real estate agent helping you sell the property. A great agent should assist in pricing the home properly based on comparable homes in your neighborhood, as well as actively marketing the property. A poorly priced home that no one can find won’t sell, and if it sits a long time on the market it may scare off other potential buyers. Don’t be afraid of hiring a new real estate agent if your current one hasn’t had success.
Ouch. We get it: This isn’t ideal, because it might mean losing money on your home. It just might be the only adjustment you need to make before buyers are champing at the bit to buy your place. Remember that people will be more willing to work with you if you lower your asking price — not only buyers, but your real estate agent might be willing to adjust their commission to a lower rate.
“Leverage your personal network and your social media presence to let your friends and extended friends of friends know your home is on the market,” says Briana Hartzell, military spouse and community manager for USAA’s Member Community, where she writes about moving (PCS). “It helps to also make sure your active duty family member shares the plans to sell your home. You may get news of someone joining your command who is interested.”
Becoming a landlord is a big decision that carries risk, so be sure you’re ready for the added responsibility of renting out your property. The upside is that it takes the pressure off selling right away, and can help if you’re currently stuck paying payments and expenses on two homes.
Check the going rental rates in your area to determine a price that’s comfortable for you and fair to the tenant. Review the associated costs with having a rental, including taxes, rental property insurance and routine maintenance, and make sure you have an added reserve of money for bigger emergency expenses related to the home.
You’ll also want to run credit checks and interview past landlords to ensure your new tenants will be responsible — not only with timely rent payments, but also treating your home with care.
Make sure to have a plan in place for when maintenance on the home is needed since you’ll likely be located too far away to hop over and unplug a drain or fix an air conditioner. Establish relationships with a trusted service that can handle repairs in your absence.
This will relieve some of the financial stress you’re feeling, since you now have options to get a temporary roommate and lower the cost of living, or crash on the couches of family/friends at no cost. There will likely be an emotional price: the difficulty of being separated from your family, no matter how short a time.
248266 - 0219