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Three reasons not to list your house for sale

A few months ago I made a bit of stir online with my video show episode “3 Reasons Not To Buy A Home.” Folks expressed surprise to hear that coming from a real estate professional, of all people.

Of course, there really are valid reasons not to leap into home ownership — my video merely recapped a few more glaring roadblocks for the would-be house buyer.

The same logic can be applied to those who already have a deed recorded at the county courthouse. If you’re a homeowner who’s not in the midst of a foreclosure, there are several pretty good arguments against trying to sell right now:

  1. You won’t be able to pay everybody and walk away clear. This is more common than one might think. With all the cash-out refinances in 2006-09, combined with plateauing home prices, many owners just don’t have enough equity. Rather than live in denial and subject your listing agent to flights of price fancy, plan to stay for at least two more years to pay down debt and allow the market to (hopefully) rebound.
  2. The situation of the home is not incredibly marketable. It’s a rough time to own a house along any road even remotely considered “busy.” It’s even more problematic to have a home priced above $200,000 in the same scenario. Lack of bathrooms, garages and basements are hurting sellers more than ever as buyers enjoy large numbers of options. Given the option to sell or wait, perhaps discretion may be the better part here.
  3. Your house is eminently rentable. Right now the rental market for well-priced single-family homes is buzzing. If your house is close to things and/or in such a condition that you wouldn’t mind having tenants for a couple of years, you should seriously weigh the ups and downs of landlording rather than selling your asset right now for a reduced price.

At the end of the day it’s your call, and many owners don’t have any choice in these economic times. Be sure to make every decision carefully, especially the choice of listing agent to market the property. Diligence on your part will greatly assist in a softer landing!

What do you think? Would you sell anyway and take your chances, or play things cautiously right now in Central Pennsylvania?

Jeff Geoghan is a residential real estate agent and founder of the Jeff Geoghan Realty Group in Lancaster County. He also hosts “YourLancasterHomeTV.” He holds a Green designation from the National Association of Realtors and blogs about homes and green issues.

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