So you probably typed in something like “sell my house new orleans” or maybe “sell my house nola” to get to this article from the search engines, right? 🙂 The biggest thing people in the New Orleans area usually want to know is if it makes sense to sell to an investor, and what comes with that process. It might, and it might not – we’ll be straight with you.
To do that, let’s back up just a little bit and look at what made you type “sell my house” to begin with…
The world can be cruel sometimes, and financial hard times can sneak up on you, or suddenly come crashing down on you without warning. Job loss, illness or injury, divorce, death of a spouse – all sorts of things can wipe out reserves and create a financial crisis.
We get it – for most people in Louisiana, their largest asset is their home, and as painful as it is to consider selling it, sometimes that’s about the only alternative when faced with rough times.
This article will give you some things to consider in figuring out how to go about selling your home – and there are plenty of things to think about.
What’s most important– how fast you can sell your house and get cash in your hands, or how much cash you can realize from the sale?
Is there lots of equity, or just a little equity, or is it upside down?
The house is magazine-cover condition, or it needs a lot of work?
Is the neighborhood very desirable, with good schools, or is it declining?
Maybe you need to sell your New Orleans home quickly to take the unexpected new position you’ve been offered outside of Louisiana.
Or it’s a divorce situation, and somebody’s moving out and somebody’s staying, so the kids’ lives aren’t turned totally upside down.
Or it’s an investment property, and you’ve had it with “tenants and toilets” and you just want out.
Or maybe you’ve even inherited a house you don’t want or need, and you just need to get rid of it in the most advantageous way possible.
Or or or.
And sometimes selling isn’t even the best answer. Maybe a refinance is a better solution, or taking in a boarder or a roommate, or doing an equity share of one sort or another.
Maximum speed vs. maximum dollars is probably the first thing on most peoples’ minds when they start considering selling. That’s what this article will mostly cover. Future articles will deal more in depth with some of the other issues.
Also, we’ve written a 54-page guide entitled “The Comprehensive Guide to Receiving a Fast, Fair Cash Offer” which goes into these issues in much more depth. It’s free and lots of New Orleans homeowners have benefited from it – so just reach out if you’re interested and I’ll get it to you.
So if you’re still in the “sell my house” mindset at this time, there are 3 primary ways to do it:
- Use a real estate agent
- Sell it yourself—known as a “FSBO” sale. (FSBO= “For Sale By Owner”)
- Sell to a “home buyer,” or real estate investor.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each, of course. (Like lots of things in life.)
A whole book could be written about each, but here’s a brief overview:
Selling Via A Real Estate Agent
This will probably, but not always, get you a higher selling price and higher net proceeds. A good agent has expertise to help you get that higher selling price, and he or she will handle all the paperwork. (Of course, there are inexperienced, or bad, agents who sabotage your sale by mispricing the house.)
The disadvantages are that it will take much longer to sell your house. Months, probably, in an average real estate market. (As I type this, the market is pretty hot, so it will be quicker than normal … but this isn’t normal.)
You’ll have to spend money to get the place spiffed up so that it shows well—and maybe you don’t have the money to do that, which is the reason you’re selling your property anyway.
If you don’t have the right agent, perhaps your home isn’t at the top of his or her list of houses to get sold.
You’ll have to put up with potential buyers tramping through your house, and having it picked up and ready to show on a moment’s notice.
You’ll have to deal with nit-picky inspectors who will find tiny little things your potential buyer will insist you fix. Or maybe big things like heating or air conditioning or a problem foundation or roof.
You may have a signed contract, but the house won’t appraise for the amount the bank requires. You may have a signed contract, but the buyer can’t get financed.
And after all is said and done, and after the 5 or 6% commission and the repairs and the new paint and carpet and landscaping the agent insists is necessary, maybe the bottom line isn’t any better than what you might get by selling to a New Orleans real estate investor.
Of course, everything might go really smoothly. If it does, and if time isn’t more important than money, even after commissions, you’ll probably realize more money selling through an agent.
People who try selling their houses “For Sale By Owner” generally do so because they don’t want to pay the commission. That’s understandable, if usually misguided. Six percent of a $350,000 sales price, for example, is $21,000. That’s a lot of money, and you can understand why a seller might think that by selling by himself, he’d save that $21,000.
In truth, though, an agent, especially a really good one, brings expertise and experience and marketing savvy and muscle to the table that almost always gets you a better price—enough to cover the commission.
In addition, the agent will handle the marketing, negotiating, paperwork and handling all the dozens of details involved in closing the transaction—all items that most homeowners aren’t really prepared to handle.
So back to where we started … with our title “Sell my house … to an investor?”
There are several advantages to this.
The investor can move fast. He or she can often buy your house and get you your cash in a week.
They’ll buy your house as-is, and make you a cash offer in a day or two. No repairs, no need to shine it up, no need to get rid of the junk, no inspection, no financing contingencies, no prospects tramping through the place.
Just a cash offer, and a quick check for your net proceeds, assuming there’s equity in the property. All in all, a much easier transaction.
The disadvantage is that in exchange for making it so easy, you’re not going to get top dollar.
The investor has to buy your house at a price that allows him to make a profit when he resells it, after making the needed repairs, paying the utilities, and paying for advertising and marketing and staging
There’s also the risk that the market shifts while holding the property, and so forth.
As suggested in the previous section, although you can’t count on it, your net from selling your home to an investor might not be all that much smaller than the check you’d get selling through a realtor, if you have to make a bunch of repairs to get the house salable and pay a commission.
If You Have Time
If you don’t have to sell your house yesterday, so that you have time to work with an agent, or even if you’re going to go the FSBO route, you still want to sell as quickly as you can.
Here are some tips:
Make any needed repairs. A sagging porch, rotted exterior windowsills or eaves, broken windows or missing screens, cracked foundation or slab, non-operating air conditioning, exterior paint that’s peeling off, dated kitchen appliances, stains in the ceiling that say there’s a leaky roof—these things will cost you more in lowered offers than they’ll cost to take care of in advance.
One recent study showed that 38% of New Orleans homesellers were selling to avoid renovations or problems with electricity or plumbing—so when buying their new home, they’re surely not going to want to inherit a similar problem.
After the repairs, you need to clean and straighten and shine the place up. Sweep and mop and polish and clean every room, appliance, faucet, and window.
Remove as much furniture and knick-knacks and clutter and pictures as you can from the interior. People want to be able to imagine themselves in the house, which is hard to do if there’s too much of your personal stuff everywhere.
Make sure the yards are cleaned and organized and there’s no junk lying around. Get rid of any overgrown landscaping—maybe even plant some flowers. Mow the lawn. Trim the hedges.
Fresh paint and carpeting will do wonders for the appeal and salability of the house.
The conventional wisdom is that staging a home can add between 5% – 10% to the home’s value, and that a staged home will sell 50% – 60% faster than an unstaged one. Whether you’re using an agent or selling the home on your own, you would be smart to work with a professional staging company to get your house looking perfect for prospective buyers.
If you’re working with a top-notch real estate agent, he or she may even handle that for you as part of their service, because they know how important it is. If they don’t do that (or if you’re selling your home on your own), you really should consider spending the money to have your home staged.
Look up some “before-and-afters” on the Internet, and see for yourself what a big difference it makes in your perception of a house. Your return on investment in selling your house will be quite high.
After you have the house staged, spend a couple of hundred dollars to have a professional photographer who understands how to get good pictures to show your house to its best advantage, so you’ve got good pictures for marketing. (Your agent may take care of this for you.)
A lot of work, and expense, but all this will help you get that top dollar, which you decided was more important than a fast sale of your home.
Summary about Selling Your House in New Orleans
This is a brief outline of some of the things to consider when deciding how and whether to sell your house. There are plenty of other things to think about, and of course everyone’s situation is different, so different considerations will have different importance depending on the situation.
Neither this article, nor even our extensive “Comprehensive Guide” mentioned above is a substitute for talking to an ethical real estate investor who can help you navigate through your own unique situation by asking and answering questions.
Call our owner Braden at (504) 533-4497 to answer any questions you might have, or request our free comprehensive guide for more background on this whole process.