If you have received a foreclosure notice, you probably feel like you have already lost control of the situation. Rest assured, there are still many things that can be done. Particularly in such a strong market, one option is putting your home up for sale. Not only does this allow you to sell your home and repay your lender in full (barring a good sale price, of course), and mitigate the foreclosure, it also helps protect your credit rating.
A foreclosure never benefits you, the homeowner. But when faced with that hard choice, you can sell your home to come out well. Here are our five tips for selling a home before foreclosure.
1. Get Legal Help
As soon as you receive a foreclosure notice, contact a lawyer (a very good lawyer, ideally a real estate lawyer). You need to know what are your options. You also need to know how much time you have before your lender can take away your home. Depending on your circumstances, you could have between 30 and 90 days.
2. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Some agents specialize in selling homes for people dealing with foreclosures and power of sales. They understand the urgency of the situation and will work hard to find a buyer for your home.
Did you know that real estate fees are negotiable? To help your situation, choose an agent that is willing to accept a lower fee. Lower fees could mean saving thousands of dollars, money which can be used to repay your lender.
3. Make It Look Good
The next task on your list should be to get your home in the best possible condition. Start by decluttering. Be ruthless. If you don't need it, use it or love it, get rid of it. If possible, move items like extra furniture and boxes into storage to make your home look bigger.
Next, give your home a good scrub. Wash windows, dust, clean floors and air out each room. Get help if you need to by sourcing a cleaning company. Give the exterior a once over to help curb appeal. If your budget affords it, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way, too. A clean, airy home sells much faster than one that is cluttered. As you need a quick sale, make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your home.
4. Don't Forget the Marketing
To sell your home quickly, you need to advertise assertively. Arrange for the best photos that you can afford. Post free ads online on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist. Repost your ad on your Facebook page and ask friends to pass it on. Tweet about it. Ask your agent whatever means there are to promote the listing. The more people who see your home, the better the chance you'll find the right buyer. Every little bit helps.
5. Give Your Lenders Regular Updates
Throughout the process, it's a good idea to keep in contact with your lenders. Keep them up-to-date on your progress. Show them that you are willing to solve the problem. Let them know how hard you are working to get "their money".
By being cooperative, you may get extra support from your lender. They have the power to put a foreclosure process on hold, or to give you a little extra time to sell your home. There are no guarantees your lender will give you a break, but it doesn't hurt to try.
Never feel like you need to deal with a foreclosure alone. There are many lawyers, real estate agents and mortgage professionals who help homeowners with foreclosures every day. For more information on foreclosures and power of sales, get in touch with me and I am happy to assist.
With a foreclosure, time isn't on your side. But by acting quickly, you can often find a better solution that gives you some control back in an otherwise overwhelming and scary experience.
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