If you are holding on to a home that doesn’t serve as your primary residence or it’s staying empty while you are on vacation or traveling for work a lot, it may be in your best interest to sell it. Houses that are sitting empty can prove to be a liability and beacons for thieves and vandals. Not to mention, you’re paying monthly for a property that you don’t even use, and may also be siphoning money away into bills as well. However, if you are traveling abroad or are already living abroad, then selling your home will be much more challenging than if you were in the area or even in the country in which your home is located. Though it’s difficult, it is not however, impossible. In fact, we’ve gathered plenty of tips and guidelines that you can follow in order for you to sell your house while abroad, or even just out of the state.
Consider These Things First
Selling your house is not a decision to take lightly, as the process is very involved and often lengthy if you don’t know what you’re doing. For this reason, we’ve outlined a few things for you to consider and perhaps discuss with a real estate agent to figure out if you are ready to sell, or perhaps maybe go with another option such as renting or AirBnB.
Do you really want to sell? Do you really want to sell your house? Is it a need to get rid of your property? Will the money help you get out of a tight spot or are you able to continue paying your second mortgage monthly without issue? Are you living overseas permanently or only temporarily? There are a lot of considerations to make in this decision, and no person’s answers are going to be the same as the next person’s. But if you’re finding yourself struggling to keep up with the payments and maintenance for a home halfway across the world when you’re not even there, it will likely be a good idea to sell it and get it off your hands. Unless you’re deeply committed to that particular home, you can always use the money you will save to then purchase a new property if you return.
Can you afford to sell? While this seems to be a trick question, it is one you should consider because there are costs associated with selling a house, even if you will eventually recuperate the money you spent. The truth is, there are a lot of fees involved in selling a house. If you live overseas, you will definitely want to enlist the help of a real estate agent, but this will cost you. Keep in mind that you will be paying around 6% of the sale price to him or her, and potentially other fees depending on the services you enlist. For example, if your house is empty you may want to hire a professional staging company to make the home look nice for when potential buyers come to tour. There are also taxes involved in this like real estate taxes, escrow fees, and a bunch of others. The cost of all of these fees will vary depending on what state you are in. For example, in Texas alone, the average payout is 12%, which is a pretty big chunk of change. The buyers may also request for you to cover some of the associated closing costs as part of a contingency clause. If you are thinking you may need to take some time to save up to cover these fees, then it’s probably best to hold off on selling your home for a little while longer until you are set financially.
Is renting a better option for you? So you’re fed up with monthly rent payments on an empty house… but you’re not sure you want to sell. If this sounds like you, perhaps you would consider renting out the house or listing it as an AirBnB. By renting it out, not only will you be able to cover the monthly rent payments, but you’ll also be able to make money. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you don’t mind putting in the work to schedule maintenance, keep up to speed with the renters, etc. There is risk in this, as you won’t be able to personally visit the home ever so often to ensure nothing has gone haywire. You will also have to be in charge of maintenance and facilitating new tenants moving in and out, which can be difficult to do from afar. However, you could factor in the cost of a real estate agent whom you trust to take care of these sorts of things for you.
8 Easy Ways to Sell Your Property
If you are truly decided to selling your property while you are abroad, then you should follow these easy tips in order to be successful at it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure to finish any projects that need to be completed around the house. If you have unfinished projects or routine maintenance work to still be done around the house, make sure that you finish those up first. Selling a house isn’t going to be easy if things have been left unfinished, or worse, in disarray. But, don’t rush anything. It’s always better to do a good job than a poor job. And make sure you have someone come inspect the property and update you on its status. You can have them send pictures or videos so you know what the state of the home is inside.
- Have the house professionally cleaned. While most homeowners can do this part of the job themselves, if you are out of the country, you will need to hire someone to clean your property back home. Luckily, you can just relax and be confident in the fact that you are having a professional crew come out and take care of this mundane task for you, and you don’t have to lift a finger! Don’t skip this step. Buyers will immediately be turned off by an unclean house. It’s one of the easiest things to do to make your house look nice, so don’t cheap out on this important part of selling.
- Leave a blank canvas. It’s extremely important to allow the buyer to be able to envision the home as their own. Enlist your real estate agent to remove any personal effects like family photos, heirlooms, etc. Providing them with a neutral canvas can help the buyer think about how they could enjoy the home if it was theirs.
- Decluttering. You want to create a nice, open space within your home. Having a bunch of excess furniture and decor can crowd up rooms and make potential buyers feel like the space is much smaller than it actually is. Have your agent or a professional staging company rearrange your furniture and decor to open up the space. This will give your buyers the opportunity to look around and visualize how they would like their home to be.
- Make sure the exterior areas look presentable. The moment a buyer walks up to your property, the very first thing that they will notice is your front lawn. If your lawn is overgrown, paint is peeling, siding is weathered, etc, what do you think your buyer will think of the property? Odds are they won’t think very highly. Hire a landscaping crew to take care of the yard’s presentation, and a handyman to clean up the outside areas such as siding.
- Emphasize your house’s best features. When you or your agent are working on writing ad copy, really think about what your home’s top features are. Does your house have a pool? A patio/deck in the backyard that is great for barbecues and gatherings? Play up the benefits of these features, and you’re sure to hook some serious buyers.
- Look at all angles when selling . When you are marketing your property, make sure to attack in all angles. This means you have to cover all the bases that you can to market your house. Go online and post it on social media pages, hand out flyers and put posters, spread the word to family and friends. Using various mediums to advertise your home for sale can help you gain the most traction possible, which is key when you are selling your home from abroad.
- Be flexible when it comes to negotiating. We get it, it’s hard to come down on the price you set for a home. But remember, this is to be expected. Don’t stick to a fixed price, be able to negotiate terms and conditions with buyers.
Attempting to sell your property while you’re out of the country can definitely be challenging, but it can certainly be done with a little effort. If you have the drive and the right people to work with, you can sell in no time.