Selling our home with a steep hill- help!

HShannonJuly 27, 2012

Hi everyone..... I need some help. We are trying to sell our home. We have already moved due to my husband's job, so now we have two monthly payments. It has been on the market for two months. We have had an average of a showing per week. The comments are great about the house, except for this steep hill we have in the backyard. This is causing many people to walk away.

Of our neighbors, our 'berm' is by far the best maintained. However, that doesn't seem to be helping. Our realtor suggested we write a letter to the potential house hunters about how having a hill could be a positive. She gave an idea like privacy, meaning talk about how the privacy has helped us enjoy the home more. What do you guys think? Can you think of any other positive aspects of a hill? Or any ideas how to make the hill appealing?

We really need to sell the house. Any help you all could give is much appreciated! Thanks! :)

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Here are the positives I can think of:

1. If you have kids, it's great for sled-riding.
2. You can climb to the top and have a really nice view.
3. Property is less expensive (positive for the buyer, negative for you)

The negatives outweigh the positives:

1. Harder to mow/weed-eat
2. Directs water towards house
3. Paying taxes on property that is unuseable
4. Property is less expensive (they will also have a hard time selling)

I don't think writing a letter will help. People can figure out whether or not they like the hill on their own, and you pointing out the positives only makes you look desperate. It's also pointing out a flaw that may not really be a flaw. There's a chance some of these buyers found some other reason why the house wouldn't work for them, and the hill was the easiest thing to blame it on.

Sorry you're having a hard time with it. Hopefully someone buys it soon - 2 months really isn't that long. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:59PM
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I think the only thing that can overcome a negative like that is a a lower price.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Why did YOU buy the house? Emphasize the the same traits that you found positive.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I think a letter written by the SELLER is ridiculous!!! However, you are the only one in a position to know IF there are any positives. Tell your agent if you know of any...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:06PM
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A letter like that would more likely have the opposite effect, no matter what you say in it.

Telling the buyer the 'positives' of something SO negative, first off points out the problem (just in case someone might not have noticed or thought about it) And then, it makes YOU look super desparate. You're going to turn off some buyers, and others will expect to get the house for a song.

You have to make your own decision (really 2 months is no time at all in this market), but I don't think a letter like that is going to have a positive effect for you. The only thing that's going to work is getting the one right person for your house to see it.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Power lines, busy roads and steep yards... big turn offs for the majority of buyers.
Terriks makes a good point. And if you can remember what % of a discount you bought the home for compared to the comps, is probably going to be the same amount of a discount that current buyers expect too.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:38PM
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Sophie Wheeler

A letter is a stupid idea. I'd really have to question the skills of a realtor who would suggest that. And I'd REALLY have to question the price they suggested you set for your house.

Price sells. If you've had a showing a week and no offers, then you're priced too high. Lower the price. Lower the price a LOT of you want a quick sale.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:50AM
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Can you post a picture of this hill? Would be good to see how close it is you chance falling down a ditch if you step outside the back door, etc?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Yeah picture would be good - Im not understanding what the problem is here. Does the hill slope toward the house, or away from it. If it slopes down from the house that would mean you have a good view no? If the opposite then maybe that would be a problem because you'd feel like you were in a hole.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:04PM
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How is it landscaped? We had a tall hill like that in our previous home, and it was a *itch to mow. We ended up terracing it and putting in a lovely stone retaining wall. By the time we moved, it was a lovely garden. It was actually a positive.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:31PM
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I agree that whether the hill was sloping toward or away from your house would make a difference. Our property is on a large hill, but we have acreage and it was never really that noticeable to me when I moved in, until we added outbuildings to it, and had to excavate. It is a gentle slope over a very large area. Since then I've noticed if one goes up to the back of the property toward the highest altitude, the view is amazing over the valley. We have terraced so much around the house proper and yes, it has turned into an asset! This is not an option if you are already on the market, it took us years to develop that. What terricks said.........YOU bought the house. Try to remember your feelings about a steep hill, and if they were negative what made you buy it anyway? Those are the assets you need to develop when prepping the house. If it was a steep discount in price........ouch. If it makes the land generally un-usable it's a negative. Plain and simple. If it slopes toward the house, the first issue would be people wondering if there would be a water issue, wet basement. That would pop out in your sales contract, but a portential buyer would not see that unless they've already committed. Letter? If it were my property, I wouldn't 'go there'.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:50AM
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My brother's and mother's houses, as well as a friend's house have a steep hill going UP from the back of the house. They have large patios across the back of their houses, and then terraces up to the back of the lots. Very pretty, great for entertaining adults, and no lawn to take care of.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:45PM
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