Selling our house, quitting our jobs, and moving from the US back to my home country. We have no debts, and that includes no mortgage. Both have good jobs.


In an area of the US that is still growing rapidly, has a good reputation, and while it has suffered with the housing downturn it's not been decimated.


Excellent condition. Selling in the 160/170 range, which in this area is lower-middle class/white collar/blue collar doing well.


We want to be gone by September at the latest. House on the market for a month now and it's very slow. So,

If we can't sell the house within the timeframe we have set, what are the pros and cons of the following options?

*Give the keys to the agent and tell him to handle it. Edit: Note: We are not required to be present at the sale.

*Sell it to one of these "we buy houses!" places that will turn around and do a rent-to-own with it. (We know nothing about this option, but have been contacted by one of them.)

*Rent it. We wont be in the US, and we've never been landlords before. Rent would probably be in the 900-1100 per month range.

Additionally, are there other options?

4 Answers 4


Since you have a limited time frame i think you can either:

  1. Lower the price significantly below the market. In your case it will probably sell by septemeber for 120K
  2. Rent it and hire a property manager. Since you have no mortgage it maybe a nice income (if you make 8K a year on a 160K house it's 5% return), but of course comes with a headache of being a landlord.
  3. Have your agent keep selling the house and give a power of attorney to your lawyer or your good friend to handle the sale of the house on your behalf. This has to be a really reliable person
  • 3
    Number one was my first thought. As a prospective buyer these days anything below market value in my area ends up in multiple offer situations fast.
    – justkt
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 16:51
  • Lowering the sale price will definitely make the house sell faster. When I sold my last house, we set our selling price below other houses in our neighborhood, and sold in a week. Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 20:43

I looked into the "We buy houses" people when I was trying to sell my house a few years back. The amount they are normally willing to pay is far below value. If I was going to take that little, I would just set the price at that amount and sell it to somebody, maybe making a young couple really happy getting into a house they couldn't otherwise afford.

  • 1
    Nice idea, Kevin. Makes sense.
    – gef05
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 23:51

Since you are leaving the country, get it sold by a real estate agent. If you choose to lower the price and get it done quickly, or if you choose to wait for a fair value, the key here is to get many independent referrals (like a dozen) so you agent is trustworthy.

I don't think you need to sign over power of attorney as fax machines are pretty reliable these days. I won't matter if you live 50 miles or 5000 miles away.

Renting it is not a great option because you can't easily follow up from another country.

Don't sell it to the rock bottom places. Either you don't need the money and you can afford to wait, or you need the money and it would be best to wait.

  • The reason i recommend having a power of attorney is because i wouldn't be surprised if some states want a seller to be present in person for closing. In addition it's easier for many reasons. I did that when i was selling an apartment and went on 3 weeks vacation. This way i could just call my lawyer and have him sign the papers for me. It costs nothing. As for rental - i think it's a reasonable option. Property managers take care of all the "follow up". you just need to pay for expenses. In fact many foreigners invest into US real estate this way.
    – Vitalik
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 19:14
  • Sorry folks, I should have thought of including such information in the post. We are not required to be present for the sale.
    – gef05
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 19:50
  • @MrChrister selling a house over fax? Unbelievable, pretty scary if the law in the US allows that. So anybody with a fax machine can steal your house by selling it to somebody while you are on vacation. In Poland selling of a house must be done with both sides of the transaction physically present at a public notary. A fax? Laughable, anybody can fake a fax.
    – ria
    Commented Nov 5, 2011 at 14:52
  • @miernik you need to have the title as well, so the op would have to physically mail it (usually to the lawyer in charge of the closing )
    – Andy
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 1:23

Sounds like you have a nice rental on your hands, honestly, if it's blue-collar-ish material. Not too expensive for a rental.

Is the rental market fairly strong there? You're probably looking at $400-$500 per month income after you pay everybody. (My property manager takes 10% of gross rents and she would inspect the property quarterly for me.)

I'd take as many of those as I can get, though if I had ten of them I could be set for the rest of my life. :)

That way you can offset any losses you might incur by selling now.

  • There is one rental in this street of about twenty houses, and I'd say over the past ten years it's seen about 80% occupancy, maybe a little better than that. It's a fast growing area and many folks rent for the first year or so while looking for somewhere to buy, so I feel occupancy rates are good and returns are moderate to strong. Neither of us has experience as a landlord is really the biggest obstacle - it is of interest to us, but there's also fear of the unknown. Thanks,
    – gef05
    Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 10:44

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