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Can You Take Your House Off the Market?

May 25, 2022 | Lindsay Frankel

If you change your mind as a home seller, can you take your house off the market without any major drawbacks?

You can take your house off the market at any time, as long as you’re not under contract with a buyer. That’s fortunate news for sellers. While you may have been ready to sell your house at one point, your circumstances could change. You might run into financial issues, uncover repairs needed to get your home move-in ready, or simply get cold feet and decide to rent instead.

It’s not uncommon for sellers to change their minds. In fact, 29% take their homes off the market at least temporarily, according to a Zillow report

But you shouldn’t take the decision to remove your listing lightly. Some real estate agents may even charge a fee for taking your house off the market, though most will be understanding. If you spent money cleaning and decluttering, staging, or getting professional photos, you won’t get those funds back. Whatever you decide, there are still plenty of options available to you if you decide to take your house off the market.

Should I take my house off the market?

Even if you’ve already put cash into selling your home, there are several situations in which it could be a good idea to take your house off the market. 

  • Your finances are in trouble: If you’re facing job loss or a large emergency expense such as an auto repair or medical bills, it may not be a great time to sell your house. Consider saving the money required for repairs or closing costs. You can re-list later when you’re back on solid financial ground. 
  • The listing is getting stale: Research shows that the longer your home is listed, the less likely you are to sell for asking price. If you think your house has been sitting on the market longer than average for your area, it might be time to remove the listing and restart the clock. Before you re-list, make changes that are likely to result in a sale, such as a lower price. Overpricing is the primary reason houses fail to sell.  
  • You need to make repairs: Sometimes a potential buyer’s inspection reveals issues that cause a contract to fall through. Sales in 2016 failed in 4.3% of cases, According to a Trulia report. If the needed repairs are too extensive to resolve while under contract, take your house off the market and finish the work. 

Will I pay a fee to take my house off the market?

If you list your home For Sale by Owner, there is no cost to remove your listing, other than a loss of potential marketing expenses, which you won’t get back. Some real estate agents charge fees for removing a listing. It likely depends on the terms of your contract and your reason for taking down the listing. If you decide to work with a new real estate agent, expect your old agent to charge you something to recoup the cost of their time. 

In the worst case scenario, if your agent worked hard to sell your home but you denied reasonable offers, you could be on the hook for your agent’s full commission. This is typically 3% of your home’s value. Before making a decision, review your contract and have an open discussion with your real estate agent.

Can I sell my house off market?

If you are considering taking your house off the market, consider an off-market buyer. That’s especially true for distressed or dated homes that need renovations. Most buyers on the MLS want turnkey homes. So even re-listing with a lower asking price may fail. If you sell your home off market, you avoid costly repairs, marketing expenses, and real estate commission fees. 

Read More: How to Sell Your House on Sundae’s Marketplace

You have a few buyer options to consider when it comes to selling your home off market:

  • Wholesaler: A real estate wholesaler may present you with a cash offer for your house without requiring you to pay for repairs. However, some wholesalers use predatory buying tactics since they are more interested in getting the most profit from the deal. This means you may not get a fair offer price. Read more about how you can avoid home-buyer scams.

  • Fix-and-flipper: Fix-and-flippers also aim to maximize profit with small margins, so don’t expect big dollar offers if you go this route.

  • iBuyer: While you might get a fair offer online from an iBuyer, fees often run between 13% to 15% of your home’s value. The Consumer Federation of America urges sellers to weigh these fees against the cost of repairs and agent commissions to make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

  • Sundae: Sundae is different from an iBuyer. We’re the only marketplace that connects homeowners to a network of vetted investors who compete to buy your property so you get the highest price possible. There are no hidden fees or closing costs. You may be eligible for up to a $10,000 cash advance before closing. Learn more today. 

Try Sundae’s Marketplace

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Should I List a Damaged House on the MLS or Sell it Myself?

Before you take a realtor and their potentially expensive advice at face value, consider a few things. Repairs can make your home more valuable, but are you willing and able to take on the work? Do you have the right skills? Do you know how to get the right permits (because nothing kills home value like unpermitted work)? Do you have the time, and how much is your time worth? Have you ever heard of someone completing a project that turned out to be easier and cheaper than expected -- or even as expected?