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Someone wants to look at my house and I'm not ready

January 22, 2019

We are in the design/planning stages of a new construction retirement home. We have not broken ground yet and don't plan too until this April/May. We haven't really thought about trying to sell our home, that we live in now, until we finish the new build. Our only neighbor had some guest over and mentioned that we would be selling in the future. My neighbor is also interested in purchasing our house. As of right now 4 different people/families are interested and we haven't really put the word out about selling.

I received a phone call today from one of the guest and she is interested in seeing the house. I had not ever planned on having an open house. Although, she sounded VERY interested. I'm not sure what to do. We did get an appraisal a couple of months ago so we know what the house would sell for. This is a very unique property set on a beautiful river. There are not many pieces of land in my town that have the water frontage we have. Also, nothing can ever be built across the river unlike most other water front properties in my area.

Should I let them come take a look even though we have not listed it yet? I was going to do some touch up painting and a few other things before we hit the market. Also, we think the appraisal is a bit low. Should I have a realtor come look so I can get a better idea of price? I do not plan on trying to FSBO and when the time came I was going to use a realtor. I would hate to miss a solid sell. The woman I talked to has been looking for water front property, in our area, for 4 years.

My questions are: Should I show the house? What are the cons of doing that? And, if I do let them come see should I let them walk through the house unaccompanied and then be available to answer any questions they may have once they are finished looking? I'm not sure what to do...

Comments (21)

  • maddielee

    I would explain to the people who want to see it, that

    1. it’s not really ready for showing.

    2. You won’t be moving until you new place is ready

    3. Price will depend on the value when it’s time to sell.

    Then show it. As is. They may be willing to wait, or they may decide your place is not for them after seeing your property. Don’t Sign anything they may suggest.

    Eta: stay with them when they walk through. No need for them to be inspecting anything too closely.

    riverrat1 thanked maddielee
  • sushipup1

    Value right now means nothing. Who knows what might happen to affect price by the time you are ready to sell.

    I would just say, thank you very much, we'll be listing the house when we are ready to sell. Our agent will let you know at that time.

    Don't cave. Don't "show" your house.

    riverrat1 thanked sushipup1
  • riverrat1

    Thank you, maddielee and sushipup1, I think what is happening is the word is getting out that we are building and will be moving in the near future. I really just don't want to miss a sale. I'm thinking I'm getting anxious about a long time sitting on the market. I'd also like to weed out the not so serious buyers before it hits the market.

    I.will.not.cave. ;-)

  • 3pinktrees

    Definitely wait and definitely have a realtor come do a comparitive market analysis. With a unique waterfront property that people seem that eager about you should have no trouble selling when the time comes. Encourage the caller to be ready to make an official offer as soon as you list it, and reassure her that you’ll let her know when you’re about to go on the market. And then relax and enjoy your home until then :)

    riverrat1 thanked 3pinktrees
  • midcenturymodernlove

    YES! Show your house. I once sold a house to a guy EIGHT years later after we both saw it (and we got it). He still wanted it.

    If they don't want it, fine. If they do, you do NOT need an agent...why pay an agent thousands for what an attorney (who can actually protect you legally) will do for a few hundred? That's crazy. No need. Just sell it to them on YOUR terms and time frame. If they agree, you will have a buyer with no huge chunk gone to an agent.

    riverrat1 thanked midcenturymodernlove
  • tiggerlgh
    Similar thing happened to my parents when they bought the land where they currently live. Some old neighbors approached them want ping to buy long before they broke ground on the new house. When getting ready to sell the went back to the neighbors to see if they were still interested. They were so they had an independent assessor come in and give a value. Both agreed and the house was sold no need to pay a realtor in these situations. Just a few hundred to a lawyer and didn’t have a ton of strangers coming through the house.

    Personally I would let them see it, if they like it you may not even need to spend the little bit fixing it up.
    riverrat1 thanked tiggerlgh
  • PRO

    I'd get a couple of realtors out to help me set a price for this property. Then, I'd show the house. If they want to buy it at your price, SELL IT NOW! Who knows where the market will be in a year or two, but I doubt it will be going up but I bet interest rates will.

    You can always put your belongings in a POD and rent while your new place is being built.

    I'm a BIG believer in "...a bird in the hand..."

    riverrat1 thanked Anglophilia
  • riverrat1

    I want to think there is no harm in letting them take a stroll through the house but I'm not sure. If they want it the only thing will be that I would want is it to close soon. And, then hopefully we could rent back from them until we find a rental and put things away in storage. We have A LOT of stuff. I'm not sure what we are keeping and what I'll get rid of. Maybe I'll have our designer (for our new build) over to help me stage. No time like now! I guess I need to talk to DH and hear his thoughts. The only thing he has said is.."If the price is right then we do it." ;-) I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if this comes to be. Thank you all for your insight. It helps to talk it out and get other opinions.

  • Jim Mat

    I am in a similar situation. Recently closed on my retirement home. I plan to keep my existing home for a year or so. I let a couple of neighbors know I will be 2-3 weeks away, 1- week home. Both neighbors said, they knew people who would be interested in purchasing my home.

    In my area, commissions are 5%, paid by the seller, split between agents, or ~$50k. Can I save much of that amount by FSBO, or will open market compensate for commissions. I live in a tract house, lots of same models and comps. Perhaps a buyer will want some of that $50k if I go FSBO.

    In your case, I would interview a couple of realtors: ask them the same questions you asked on the internet. Regarding early showing: I recommend against it, because you may not sell for over a year. Playing “hard to get” may increase your selling price.

    When a neighbor asked if she could see my place, I told her I was not ready to show, and told her: 3/2 with a dining room. Her home is 4/2 no dining room.

    If you are ready to sell with a lease back: let them in.

    I am also in a position, I will be paying taxes because of selling.

    riverrat1 thanked Jim Mat
  • lyfia

    I did this when I sold my Austin home. Worked out to my benefit. I did wait to do the showings though until I had done some touch up and cleared some stuff out to make it look more spacious, clean etc.

    I also interviewed realtors around this same time as I was planning to list soon anyways so knew what I reasonably could list at the highest for and asked for that. I actually ended up with 8K more when all was said and done over the highest listing price. Two groups of people had their own realtors so I told the realtors where to find the key and I stayed away. I had one couple look at it without realtor and I sat outside on the porch when they looked inside, I'd already cleared anything valuable and it was staged so anything missing would be seen easily. Wasn't worried about it much though. The couple without a realtor were friends of neighbors and I'd met them before. I had 2 offers out of this which I negotiated. I had the disclosure form filled out along with a sheet with info on the house such as taxes, what utilities were available, septic, etc. and provided that as well.

    I would make sure you are clear on your listing price for when they ask. Leave everything else to be negotiated if you receive an offer.

    I don't see much downside to doing it. I'm sure your house looks ready to show as is so wouldn't worry too much about it. You have a gorgeous house.

    riverrat1 thanked lyfia
  • edenchild
    We did this when building our current home. Our realtor/friend had another realtor looking for a house on our street for a client. Our house wasn’t on the market but we signed a short term, exclusive listing at a discount commission . The house was shown to the client who told us they weren’t interested in moving in immediately. We ended up selling to them, banking the proceeds and renting our house back for a very nominal sum. The client was happy not having to look for a tenant and having one who would look after the house. We had the funds to build and pay cash for everything. The realtors made quick money although less than they would if they had to market the house. A winnng situation all round.
    riverrat1 thanked edenchild
  • 3katz4me

    If I had people knocking on my door to buy my house, I'd figure out what it's worth, get a real estate attorney to assist with the transaction and save a lot of money by not inserting a real estate agent in the middle. I have used agents when I needed them and not used them when I knew someone who wanted to buy my house. You could always sell early and lease back from the buyer - we have done that and it was a no $ lease. They wanted the house and wanted it early so we closed, signed a lease and moved four months later.

    riverrat1 thanked 3katz4me
  • homechef59

    Take this step by step. Don't let it overwhelm you. I've been in a similar situation.

    First, clean the house as if you were having overnight guests. No more than that. Clean up the yard. It's winter. Only so much you can do.

    Second, you have a choice. For no money, you can interview three realtors and ask for competitive market analysis from each of them. Review them and determine an acceptable price for today. Or, you can hire a licensed real property appraiser for a full appraisal. This will allow you to set the price, but it will cost you the price of the appraisal, a few hundred dollars. It's a great negotiating tool that can be used for about three months.

    Next, show your home to the people who have contacted you. Tell them that you have not prepared the house for sale. You will sell it to them right now, but you will need to lease it back from them for x period of time, I suggest six months. This will give you plenty of time to get rid of stuff, send stuff to storage and rent somewhere acceptable to you. If they are really interested, show it to them.

    Tell them you haven't set the price, yet. Let them make you an offer. Also, tell them that they are not the only ones you are planning to show it to. Consider all offers. It they are acceptable to you, get the real estate attorney involved. No need to involve a realtor.

    Otherwise, tell them that you plan to market the home two years from now. I sold mine to a person who knocked on my door. It wasn't for sale and I wasn't planning to move. But, I let a realtor friend know that good offers would be considered. They needed to sell their home, but still paid cash for mine. We rented back.

    I will point out that this informal way of showing the house allowed me to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my home's appeal. It was a good exercise in understanding my situation.

    Right now, don't list the house in the MLS. You aren't really ready for a full blown marketing effort and you don't want to have to take if off the market should you not be really ready to sell. FYI, The fact that you have listed a house along with the listing price long after you take something off the market.

    You are completely in control. You make the decisions. You only have yourself to please.

    riverrat1 thanked homechef59
  • Denita

    Keep in mind that if you are looking to rent back your home, AND if the buyer has to finance the purchase, there is a time limit allowed by the lender for the rent back period on properties financed for a primary residence. That limit is 60 days. If you have a cash buyer, there is no issue with time limits. If you have a buyer that is buying for investment purposes, then it is a different type of loan and a rent back is perfectly fine.

    My point is this: you need to know your buyer profile before you start showing your home early.

    Another difficulty for you: have you planned to rent during the construction of your new home? Counting on the builder's timelines for new construction is risky at best. It is not uncommon for a builder to deliver late - even if the new home is a production home in a development. It is more common for a builder to deliver very late if you have a custom home. Just consider your overall plan. There are pros and cons to selling early.

    riverrat1 thanked Denita
  • linda117117

    You are holding all the cards right now! You have a basic number from the appraiser, if you feel like its low, tell the lady what you want for the house. There is no "market value" for waterfront. It is whatever someone is willing to pay. You also dont need to move, rent or rent back. You tell her you are not willing to close until your house is finished. She has been waiting four years, she can wait a few more months if the house is what she wants. I have been an agent for almost 30 years, you do not need an agent in this case unless you are uncomfortable handling this yourself. If you want an agent to handle everything and negotiate for you then offer them a reduced commission, after all you are handing them the buyer.

  • handmethathammer

    Show them the house. Be clear the price is uncertain depending on market value. When we listed our last home, we had the option of noting people WE showed the house to, and those people were not subjected to the realtor fees.

  • sushipup1

    Don't sell now unless you have plan Bs for construction delays, major crises (health, acts of nature, etc) and whatever else may influence your timeline. Unless your crystal ball is in perfect operating condition.

  • Gerry
    When we were building, we put our house on the market and sold it the first week. The buyers needed to close within 90 days or lose their quoted mortgage rate so we closed in September although our house wasn’t going to be ready until January. We rented our house back from them but here’s the deal with that. Unlike a normal renter/tenant agreement, we would have been responsible if anything broke, such as furnace, stove, etc. When January came, our new
    house was not even close to being ready but the owners wanted their house. It was hard to find housing for less than a year lease but we were lucky our builder had another development of apartments that we rented for five months until our house was ready. The stress was incredible, moving twice during that time and we had to put most of our furniture in storage. This time, we just bought a condo and now have to list our home. I’m not sure which is more stressful. I wish you luck on your move.
  • Suzieque

    I'd let her see it. No prices mentioned and no commitments made. I don't see the harm in it. If she turns out to be not interested, that would "release her" to go find and commit to another place and it would release her from your list of potential buyers. So, I see no harm, no foul.

  • riverrat1

    Thank you all for helping me gain confidence in this endeavor. I've spent some time in the yard and exterior of the house. We don't have very cold winters where I live but the rain has caused the green moss problem on the brick galleries. So I've had a pressure wash done and cleaned out the gutters. Hopefully, I'll be ready this week to show the house! I also spent some time looking for a place to live and securing storage just in case we need to move quickly.

    Eeeek! I'll keep you all updated! Thank you again for helping me gain confidence.

  • 3katz4me

    Good luck with your showing. Don't offer too much info and don't point out anything negative. I have looked at homes FSBO and had the owners go out of their way to point out flaws and deficiencies. Crazy but it's happened more than once.

    If you lease back you don't have to agree to terms making you 100% responsible for replacing anything that breaks. Our terms were that we agreed to repair anything under $500. Anything over $500 was the responsibility of the new owner. The water softener died and we paid to have a new Culligan installed as a rental unit and let the new owner know everything we paid for installation could be applied to purchase if they wanted to keep it. Worked out fine.

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