How Hard is it to Sell a House I Don’t Live in?

How Hard is it to Sell a House I Don't Live in?

Obviously, you’re not selling a house you don’t own, but how hard is it to sell a house that you don’t currently live in?

Maybe you’ve inherited a house, or maybe you have a rental that you want to get rid of. Maybe you gained a house through beneficiary, or a partner decided to sell you their half. Whatever the reason, you don’t live there. So how hard is it to sell it?

First of all, we need to know if someone else currently lives there. Is there a tenant? Is there a lease or contract? You can’t just kick someone out, but if you plan on selling and making that person move before their lease is up, you will have to give them 30 days notice. Also, check the lease agreement and the rules set forth to protect both buyer and seller. There may be rules in place for the renter.

If the home is vacant or someone else lives there, there are different tactics you may need to take. If someone lives there that shouldn’t be living there, meaning illegally, you may need to get the authorities involved. This gets tricky, especially if there are family members involved. I’ve had issues where someone inherits the house and needs to sell it but the previous owner, who has passed away, said that so and so could live there rent-free forever. Well, unless there were a written contract and court proceedings, they really don’t have the authority to live there. It’s a tough situation but legally, things must be done correctly.

What if it’s vacant? This is usually the best option unless it hasn’t been taken care of.  You may need to deal with issues of livability. If the home is not livable, to sell to a typical buyer, you may need to make the home livable first, unless you are selling to a straight out investor, like myself.

You may need to fill out a sellers disclosure form.

This form will cover everything you think you know about the house. It may be difficult to answer a lot of the questions because you’ve never lived there, but there are allowances for that as well. If you don’t know if something has been done, you simply mark the box “I don’t know.” Now, this is only if you are selling with a real estate agent. If you are selling to an investor, you can get the cash outright and not have to worry about a disclosure form.

What if you own money?

If you now owe money on the house, you’ll need to pay that loan or lien off with the sale. In this case, you’ll need to make sure you get enough from the sale to pay that off. As an investor, I can tell you what I’d pay for the house in an as-is condition. Only you will know if this will pay off the house. We can always negotiate. But remember, if you plan on selling with a real estate agent, you will probably need to do some serious work before a buyer considers the property.

You can also sell via short sale, in which you will need to talk to the bank about selling the property for less than what you owe. But even then, the bank will need to approve the buyer and the list price. You may still need to work with a real estate agent.

So, you can see there are a lot of different factors involved in selling a home you don’t live in.  Give me a call if you are faced with this situation. I’d be happy to talk through some solutions for you and offer you the best deal possible.

Sell Your Sacramento House As-Is


Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook is a local Cash Home Buyer / Real Estate Investor in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto CA and Tulsa Oklahoma. He has written numerous real estate articles that have been published here and by other blog and news outlets. Peter has appeared on several local and national news reports regarding the state of the Stockton and Sacramento Real Estate Markets.

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