It's a new year in real estate, but for the most part we are still living in a buyer's market. Many homeowners who had planned to sell their homes are choosing to stay put. If you have no choice but to sell, the important thing is to offset your losses and do everything you can to prevent going into a foreclosure. Consider these alternatives:
Be a landlord. Renting out your home should help you cover your mortgage.
Try a lease-to-own deal. If you have a buyer who can't close immediately, offer to rent to them for a predetermined amount of time, at the end of which they have to purchase the home.
Offer short-term rentals. If you live in a popular city, try posting your property online as a vacation rental at nightly or weekly rates.
Sell at auction. A real estate auction can be a quick way to sell a home. Buyers bid at their own risk, so you don't have to worry about a lengthy negotiation.
Look at seller financing. Sellers with a lot of cash or equity in the home can act as a lender for the buyer. This is effective if you have a serious buyer who has relocated but not yet sold their home or is going through a divorce and the home is tied up in the proceedings.
Consider a short sale. If all else fails, see your lender. A short sale is far less painful than a foreclosure and you will be able to purchase a home again within a much shorter period of time.
These past few years have brought a new creativity to real estate sales, and in many cases, homeowners have benefited to some extent, even though the tide has flowed against them.