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Has anyone ever sold a house to family/friends?

UPDATE: After everyone's helpful comments, I'm still considering selling to her, but we will definitely use at least 1 real estate agent.

Because we are considering doing it...

As I talked about here and here, my mom is moving from SD to TX. My husband and I have been planning on putting our house on the market this summer. We lived in an outer suburb, and I commute to downtown, which is 45 minutes without traffic and 1.5 hours in traffic.


Anyway, over the weekend, my mom came up with the idea that since they want to move down here, and we're trying to sell our house, they should buy it! Commence a frantic series of Facebook messages where she tries to plan out exactly how all of this should go down.

I'm a little leery of all of this. Stepdad has done stuff like this with his kids before (not with houses, but with cars and stuff) and I feel like someone (or both people) always feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.

I've thought a lot about it, and I've come up with 2 things I think are really important: 1. Nobody feels like they are getting screwed over. 2. Nobody feels like they are doing the other person a favor.


Complicating the matter is the fact that our house has apparently gone up sharply in value over the past year or so (according to Zillow, so who knows how accurate that is...).

The problem is, all the scenarios my mom has proposed have the most monetary benefit for her. We would do the sale without realtors, so there would be a savings for us. Just to use some fake numbers...let's say that going without a realtor would save us 10k. All of my mom's proposals are her buying the house for 9k under market value, which would still net us an extra 1k on the sale. I understand that we are both benefiting, but that doesn't seem like a fair way to split up the benefit. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the new value of our house might be out of her price range (or at the VERY top of it).


Now, we also get the benefit of not having to clean up and try to stage the house. We wouldn't have to worry about getting out of the house for prospective buyers to tour. We'd have a lot more flexibility on move out date. But she'd get some "soft" benefits too. Right now, they'd be trying to buy while living cross country, which means they'd either have to buy based on pictures, or they'd have to visit (they have one planned for next month) and tour a bunch of houses then, hoping to find the right one.

She says she REALLY wants our house, but I don't understand why. I've asked her, and she says she likes the layout (our house is nothing special, she could find a zillion others like it), and she knows where the closest grocery store is (it's the suburbs, there are grocery stores everywhere). It seems to me the house actually has a bunch of drawbacks for her. The reason the value has gone up is the close (but not so close you can hear them or have increased traffic) proximity to highways. Since she and stepdad are retired and don't like driving, they wouldn't benefit. She'd be further from where my husband and I will move, and further from my aunt (the only other person she really knows down here). They could easily get a newly built house for the same cost, just further from the highways they wouldn't use anyway.


I've told her to just pause for a minute. They are coming to visit next month, and I explained I'd like to wait until then to discuss anything. I'd like to make sure she remembers what the house is really like (she's visited 2-3 times in the past 6 years), and look at some other houses.

I would just hate for both of us to feel like we got the short end of the stick so we could do the other one a favor.


So, does anyone have any advice regarding selling houses to people you know? Or advice specific to my odd mom situation?

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