Gaston believes the three biggest reasons a house doesn’t sell are: 1) it is overpriced, 2) it is poorly marketed, or 3) it is not fixed up to show well. “I can pay a fair price on a home that needs work. I might even plan to increase the value or marketability by adding a bedroom or bath, finishing a basement or installing a new heating system. Brand new carpet and paint will go a long way to attract a qualified buyer. But I understand that many sellers don’t have the time, inclination or money to remodel a house… just to get it sold. We solve that problem for sellers.”
Overpricing a home could be the biggest mistake. Listing agents sometimes suggest (or a seller might decide) to ask for a higher price than needed. This might be to test the market or leave wiggle room to negotiate. However, this can backfire if the seller wants (or needs) a quick sale, or when the “days on the market” stacks up causing buyers to wonder what’s wrong with the property.
Another misconception about how Steve Gaston buys houses is the idea that he’s probably looking for sellers in financial distress. “Look, when a seller is out of time or out of options, then I’m usually their best solution — if their property is not over-financed. But most people headed for foreclosure are either overleveraged or actually looking to save their house. If I buy the house the seller must move. They really need to get into a more affordable home… but sometimes I can help by swapping properties.”
Gaston warns about companies and real estate investors who target distressed homeowners. “Recent laws have been passed that apply to any business and investor who targets people in foreclosure. Be cautious, do your research and perhaps seek legal advice when anyone wants to charge you an upfront fee for helping to get your loan modified, or… if they’re promising to lease the home back to you. That rarely works out like the borrower expects and can lead to accusations of fraud. Perhaps rightly so.”