Do you think
your house is unsellable due to its location? Highly rated real estate
agents on Angieís List explain how to sell a house, even in the most
If the most
important thing in real estate is "location, location,
location," how do you sell your house if itís in a bad one?
a freeway running overhead or a strip mall next door, a challenging
piece of real estate isnít unsellable. "There are three
components to selling a house: price, location and condition,"
says Realtor Kelly Clevenger of Coldwell Banker, Wallace & Wallace
in Knoxville, Tenn. "Thatís the mixture you have to balance in
order to sell. If your location is a negative, then your price in
comparison to the homes around it is going to have to be lower, and
the homeís condition has to be better."
he recently represented a house for sale that backed up to railroad
tracks. "People would be in the house and hear the train go by,
and it would unnerve them," he says. "They loved the house,
but couldnít get over the noise."
His strategy in
selling the home was twofold: Get as many prospective buyers as he
could through the door during open houses, and then have them talk to
the neighbors, who offered assurance theyíd get used to the noise.
"The truth of it is, thereís not a perfect home or a perfect
location," he says. "Even if youíre buying in the
million-dollar range, itís still not going to be 100 percent
perfect. Itís just accepting that, hey, this home is 90 percent of
what I want and Iím OK with that." Clevengerís approach with
the railroad home, combined with aggressive pricing, led to a sale in
With a difficult
location, an adjustment in pricing compared to other nearby homes that
have recently sold is inevitable. "Sometimes this can be a 10 to
20 percent differential, depending on the severity of the location
versus alternative properties for sale," says Realtor Wendy
Tanson of Re/Max Winning Edge in Chapel Hill, N.C. "Itís
important to play up the positives of the location, such as access to
highways and amenities. The property needs to be in fantastic
condition and staged as well."
After nine years
and two children, Angieís List member Elle Barwidi was ready to sell
her familyís home in Twinsburg, Ohio. But she knew it was going to
be a challenge because the house was on a very busy street. "With
people watching so many popular housing shows, such as ĎHouse
Huntersí and ĎProperty Virgins,í where location is stressed so
highly, I knew weíd have pickier buyers," she says. "I had
to make the inside super appealing."
guidance of Realtor Will Penney of Penney Real Estate in Stow, Ohio,
Barwidi committed to decluttering the home and applying a fresh coat
of paint both inside and out. "We had made several updates to the
interior of the house throughout our time living there, so Willís
suggestions of how to declutter and make each room look large and
appealing was great," she says. "It certainly helped with
the overall sale."
efforts paid off, and the family received a contract from a buyer
after four months on the market. "If youíre trying to sell a
house thatís in a tricky location, hold tight," she advises.
"Thereís a perfect buyer for every house."
Buying in a new
On the flip
side, homebuyers looking to build in a new development need to be
aware that some lots are going to be less desirable than others.
Whether a particular lot has electrical towers in the backyard or
bumps up to a busy street, there is a temptation to invest in such a
lot because it will be less expensive.
biggest factor is going to be how long do you hope to live in this
home?" says real estate broker Lori Jo Smith of Bellingham, Wash.
"If you live in it long term, at least 10 years, the consequences
that are negative are going to diminish." But keep your
expectations realistic and purchase the lot for the level of discount
that you think youíll assume when you sell the house.
also key to not build the most expensive house on the street,"
Tanson says. "Given that your home will be sold at a discount
relative to others, you will gain more of your investment if you donít
build the premium home on the least premium lot."
value in mind is key. "You have to think like a seller while you
buy it," says Realtor Sally Messinger of Howard Hanna Real Estate
in Pepper Pike, Ohio. "Youíre buying it new, so itís got a
bang to it. Once the houses are built, itís a little less shiny. If
you have the one house that has the highway behind it, youíre going
to have trouble with that. I tell people: if you buy that house, and
you call me to sell it, donít be surprised when I list it for less
than what youíve bought it for."
sometimes a house in an unfortunate location isnít any fault of the
owners. "Some properties were in the right location when they
bought them, but now theyíre in the wrong location, whether
something was built up next to it, or things have moved out,"
Messinger says. "Price cures all ills. When the price is right,
thereís someone who will buy it. There may be a limited number of
buyers, but at the right price, you can sell a house in the middle of