Getting the Most Bucks for our Bang!

A couple of project possibilities have fallen through in the past few weeks so with my projected income down I’m re-evaluating our plan and the most cost-effective way to tackle it.  Our one big asset is our home which we purchased for $4,000.  We plan to sell it to raise the money for the trip, and to give us a small starting fund once we get there.  It’s hard to tell what it is worth – on the one hand I believe it was under priced when we purchased it (luckily we were the first to respond and put down a deposit because the owner did get higher offers) and we have made some improvements, notably taking out the fairly stained and worn carpet and replacing it with nice laminate flooring.  It does have some repairs that it currently needs – replacing the shelves in the pantry (the thin shelving collapsed under the weight of the canned food) and fixing the electrical problem in the bathroom (the light doesn’t work, nor does one electrical socket).  The latter problem we inherited and have been living with since we never seem to have any extra money to pay an electrician.  Aside from that it is in pretty good shape.  But…all of the local RV parks have rules about how old your trailer can be and it’s older than that (we got an exception since we were already here and because the management likes us).  That will limit our pool of buyers.  So while I’d like to get what we paid (or more) for it I’m not sure how to price it.

I’ve been mulling over whether to list it just on craigslist, where you pretty much have to just state a price (although you can say “Or best offer”) or try it on an auction site.  I’ve checked around and craigslist apparently frowns on auction listings, although there is nothing in their terms of services forbidding it.  I was thinking of saying that the trailer would be available for viewing during a set time and that the following day we would take offers (bids) and the best offer (in cash) at the end of the offer period would get the trailer.

I could list it on eBay but then the listing fee and final value fee would eat into our profit – plus it seems easier to not have to deal with long distance buyers.

Timing is the other issue I’m wrestling with – once we sell it we have nowhere to live so I’d like to sell it as close to departure date as possible.  As it is we will probably have a few homeless/camping days. Of course if I wait until school is out to list it and there aren’t any takers we run the risk of having to pay another month’s rent.  I swear – it’s like trying to juggle shoes and wear them (or at least take them off) at the same time!  Any ideas?

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15 Responses to Getting the Most Bucks for our Bang!

  1. Kim says:

    You could sell it with a written “addendum” like a lease back (a real estate term). there are owners that sell their homes and then lease it back from the new buyer for a period of time until they find a place or if their home is being built and not ready yet. You could do something like this maybe for really cheap. Explain your situation to them and ask if they would allow you to pay a small “rent” for its usage until you leave. In the agreement, set the amount and the time frame.

  2. Lynn says:

    Tough one. Are there agents that might handle a sale like this? I know people like to do “sale by owner”thinking they can keep all the money that way, but often they would have sold at a higher price and made more $ with a professional, even after paying a commission. Maybe an RV lot that could take it on consignment? If your landlord is willing to allow the trailer to stay where it is, and finding a place to park older trailers is difficult, the fact that you have a space rented for it now might be a plus. What a shame you can’t take it with you to live in while you work your way up to something else–you wouldn’t even have to pack or unpack!

    • boxcarkids says:

      We can’t park it at an RV or park and sell lot and still live in it so I don’t think that would work. I think our best bet is listing it soon, and trying to find a seller who will give us a deposit but with the sale being finalized when we move out in June. We really need some money as soon as possible as we need to either reserve a rental car or fix our car and arrange for some belongings to be shipped.

  3. rta says:

    Hi – sorry to ask so late, but how do I use the Amazon link to have you get credit for my purchases? I don’t buy much from there, but maybe every little bit helps!
    Tks –

    • boxcarkids says:

      Just click on any of the Amazon links to the left of blog posts – that takes you to Amazon and any purchases you make will provide us with commission! Thanks!

  4. Mary says:

    Yes, check with the landlord. I know of a small campground/lake area that has a trailer onsite for people to rent. Most of the people own their trailers and leave them there all year as a vacation destination. The trailer in question was also owned by someone like that, but she sold it to the owners. They now rent it out for short term stays. We used it with relatives a few years ago and it was nice enough for the weekend. I know it books way ahead, so they must have made their money back pretty fast.

  5. Leslie says:

    All good advice. I am constantly listing homes and Craigslist gives me the flexibility Ineed on price and terms. If someone has to camp for 2 days, let it be the buyer. They can plan ahead.
    Craigslist is fast and dynamic so you can price point several times a day. List it high and adjust if you don’t get interest.
    Craigslist is free, so post several listing to attract different buyers. Make one sparse and say email for details. Make one long and detailed with descriptions. Buyers of the same product are attracted to different types of ads. Make one that discussed the features and benefits for long term living. Make one that highlights the price and benefits for this summer for campers. Be careful inviting the world of Craigslist shoppers to your home – I like emailing with people first to get a sense of whether or not they are serious buyers. Set your own terms for transfer date, make sure your title and paperwork, etc. are in order. Paypal can help the buyer feel comfortable that your not going to take the money and run and also help you know that the money is really there.
    Good luck. Remember, don’t post a craigslist with a picture, buyers will skip it. Also, don’t use the same header for each ad, Craigslist will dump you. Finally, I like the other comment recommending a less desperate sound. You have a great product and you are offering it for a fair and reasonable price.

  6. V's Herbie says:

    I don’t have any practical advice, but I’m going to be looking for an excuse to describe a situation as “trying to juggle shoes while wearing them!”

  7. Becky R says:

    Hello! This month I lost out on about $400 because my Sat. job didn’t need me at all. It is so stressful, because now I am $400 short on April bills.
    I will be praying for you and your family. I know the stress you feel, also being a single mom (mine are 14 and 8, both boys.)
    You should write the Ellen show. Yesterday she gave an unemployed family a new car and $10,000 and flew the family of 5 to the show to be on.

  8. Celeste says:

    eBay allows you to set the terms as local only. What you might do is look at eBay listings for similar items. If nobody seems to be getting the money you need for comparables, it isn’t worth the risk.

    I like the Craigslist option better. But I like the idea of seeing if the landlord would be interested. Most of all I agree that you as the seller hold the cards on when it is available. Remember, nobody has made anything available to you before they were ready. Try to stay in a non-desperate frame of mind in your dealings even when you don’t always feel that way.

  9. Nancy says:

    I’d list it right now for the price you want. If you get no lookers, you’ll know the price is too high. If you get a lot of interest, you can then bargain that you will stay in it until June 15. Don’t put any of that in the ad, just say ‘for sale’ and when they show interest, then bargain for the move out date.

    You may even get someone who wants it to stay where it is. Ask your landlord if they’d be interested in that, a new tenant.

    It’s May 1. You have to get moving on this as it is going to take some time to show, sell, move. You’re not going to get money for the floor. Unfortunately, a trailer is not an investment and doesn’t go up in value. Make it safe, make it clean, that’s all you can do. I think you should be happy if you get $4000 and get to stay until mid-June.

    I moved this winter and it is so much more work than you remember (or want to remember). I’ve been here 2 months and I’m still a long way from settled in, and I’m still taking things to goodwill muttering “What was I thinking?!?” that I moved. Toss, toss, toss. They have things in Indiana, really they do! New things (even from the thrift store or goodwill) are more fun than the old stuff. Yes, there are a couple of things I really wish I’d kept, but what’s done is done and I’ll get more.

    Don’t wait. List it now.


  10. Barb says:

    Make the terms of sale be that it won’t be available until x date, or you rent it back for a few days from the buyer. Maybe offer a price reduction for this flexibility of the buyer?

  11. mary says:

    Hi –

    Here’s an option.

    You could list it on Craigslist for a high price, then say that you’ll offer a “bargain period” for anyone who comes to view during a certain time to put in a bid, then you’ll take the highest bid, even if it doesn’t hit your “official” price as listed on Craigslist?

    So, it’s like the “buy now” option on EBay, sort of, without the EBay fee.

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