Why Houses Don’t Sell

photo by BriYYZ

I was quoted on Trulia in 8 Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling. It opens,

It’s a seller’s market in many cities across the U.S. If your home is in one of those cities, say Charleston, SC, or Colorado Springs, CO, and isn’t getting offers, something could be wrong. The good news? Knowing there’s a problem is the first step toward resolving it. However, there could be many reasons your house isn’t selling. We’ve asked real estate professionals and agents from all over the country what those top reasons might be — and they’ve provided some sound advice on how to remedy each situation.

1. You’re overconfident

Being in a seller’s market might mean that your home will get snapped up for premium price, no matter its condition. But that isn’t always the best strategy to count on. “Sometimes homeowners and agents get overconfident in a seller’s market and get lazy about ‘Home Selling 101,’” says Sep Niakan, broker and owner of HB Roswell Realty in Miami, FL.

Solution: Be realistic from day one. Although you may love your house, brace yourself for it to potentially sit on the market for quite some time. And no matter the market, it’s still important to “position your home to sell well,” says Niakan. “What does that mean? Staging, staging, and more staging.

2. The house is priced too high

Classic supply and demand conditions come into play in a seller’s market: There’s high demand, yet low supply. Therefore, you can usually expect to get more money for your home. But that doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit when it comes to your listing price. “In a seller’s market, a seller may feel comfortable pushing the asking price a bit higher, and this can be a huge mistake,” says Chase Michels of Brush Hill Realtors in Downers Grove, IL. “Determining the best asking price for a home is one of the most important aspects of selling a home. If your home is listed at a price that is above market value, you will miss out on prospective buyers.”

Solution: Make sure that you and your agent are certain of the value of your home in your market and price it right. “Get an analysis of the local market with a professional agent, solid comparables, and specific market trend data,” says Jill Olivarez, a Miramar Beach, FL, real estate agent.

3. The home needs some TLC

It can be a bitter pill to swallow to pay for home improvements that you may not enjoy for long. But if you want to sell for full asking price, you might need to get your house in a condition that warrants it — and not base this number only on price per square foot. “Retail buyers understandably still want the most house for their money,” says Barbara Grassey, author of How to Sell Your House Fast in a Slow Market and founder of the West Florida Real Estate Investors Association.

Solution: “The seller should have amenities comparable to other properties for sale in that price range and should really upgrade certain amenities,” says Grassey. Some upgrade examples, she says, include a pull-down gooseneck faucet, an upgraded ceiling fan, a double-bar towel rack, or upgraded door handles. They sound simple, but a few small changes can make a big impact.

4. There’s a problem with the title

“Title” in this case doesn’t mean the cute name you might have given your place (“The Laurels,” “The Conners’ Corner Cottage,” etc.). Rather, it’s the document that shows ownership. “One reason a house won’t sell is because there is a problem with the title to the house that spooks buyers,” says David Reiss, law professor at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, NY. Here are some examples he gives of title problems:

  • Conveyance without a recorded deed (can sometimes happen in transfers between family members).
  • A paid-off mortgage that is still showing up as a valid lien on the house.
  • A mechanic’s lien that was filed for work done on the house by a subcontractor.

Solution: “Some [title] problems just require a little time to resolve,” says Reiss. Contact the title company to find out what you need to do to prepare for selling — then do it.

Equitable Subrogation in Mortgage Refinancing

Freyermuth-Wilson1

Professor Freyermuth

I am speaking on Equitable Subrogation in Mortgage Refinancing and Land Purchase Transactions in an ABA Professor’s Corner webinar on Wednesday with Professor Wilson Freyermuth of the University of Missouri School of Law. If this sounds like an esoteric topic, it is!

Subrogation refers to the substitution of one party for another and equitable subrogation refers to the doctrine where a court may use its equitable powers to find an implied assignment of a mortgage in order to avoid the unjust enrichment of a party. Since the commencement of the foreclosure crisis, this doctrine has been put to the test. Wilson and I will take a look at some of the recent cases that do the testing. More info about the webinar is below:

Professors’ Corner

FREE monthly webinar featuring a panel of law professors, addressing topics of interest to practitioners of real estate and trusts/estates. All are welcome and encouraged to register and participate.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

12:30 p.m. Eastern/11:30 a.m. Central/9:30 a.m. Pacific

Equitable Subrogation in Mortgage Refinancing and Land Purchase Transactions

Speakers:  

David Reiss, Brooklyn Law School

Wilson Freyermuth, University of Missouri School of Law

When a lender makes a mortgage loan to refinance an existing first mortgage, the lender typically expects its refinancing loan to have first priority.  If there is an intervening lien on the mortgaged property, however, a priority dispute may result in which the intervening lienholder argues that the recording statutes give it priority over the refinancing lender’s mortgage lien.

In this situation, the principle of equitable subrogation may apply to allow the refinancing lender to be subrogated to the priority of the paid-off mortgage so as to obtain priority over the intervening lien.  The Restatement (Third) of Property: Mortgages (1997) embraced the liberal application of equitable subrogation in this context.  While many courts have embraced the Restatement approach, not all courts have embraced the Restatement approach (including a recent Delaware Supreme Court decision rejecting the application of equitable subrogation in the refinancing context).

Our speakers will discuss a series of recent decisions (all decided in the 2015 calendar year) addressing the extent to which equitable subrogation is (or should be) available in the mortgage refinancing and land purchase context.

Register for this FREE webinar at http://ambar.org/ProfessorsCorner.

Sponsored by the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group.