Image courtesy of Flickr, Bart Everson
Don't panic if your home is not selling. There are many reasons that could explain why your home isn't selling. We've listed five of them.
It can be surprising and frustrating when people aren't interested in buying your home that you've put up for sale. This is especially true if you're in a seller's market where homes are being snapped up almost as soon as they're listed. Some people think a seller's market means an automatic sale, but that isn't necessarily true. Don't panic if your home is not selling, no matter how upsetting this may be. Take the logical approach instead. There are many reasons that could explain why your home isn't selling. We've listed five of them.
Even if you and your agent have done all the research and have priced your home based on comparable homes that have recently sold in the area, factoring in square footage, condition, and any improvements you might have made, buyers still might think the price is too high. ''Overpriced homes don't tend to do well on the market,'' says Michael Segarra, a York, Pennsylvania, agent. His suggestion? ''Consider listing your home below market value to attract buyers who then bid the price back up to or above market rate.''
Conversely, a home can be priced too low, and buyers will wonder why. ''It's hard to raise the price of a home that's already listed for sale,'' says Brian Davis, a real estate investor with Spark Rental. Davis suggests that sellers take a home that is priced too low off the market for a few months, make some upgrades or renovations, and then relist at a higher price. ''If the seller doesn't have the luxury of time, they should raise the listing price and then hire an auction house to auction off [the house,]'' he says.
It's difficult to justify spending money on a home that you're going to leave. But you might need to bite the bullet and make some improvements if you want to sell your home. If the comparable homes in the area are in better shape than yours is in, buyers might be reluctant to buy it. ''Be realistic,'' says Sissy Lappin, real estate agent and co-founder of ListingDoor. She says to ask yourself the following,'' What's the condition of the carpet, flooring, appliances, roof, and interior paint? Evaluate your home the way a picky buyer would and have realistic expectations.''
Buyers tend to nickname homes to remember them, such as ''The House Near the Gas Station,'' or ''The House with the Green Awning,'' says Lappin. You don't want your home to get a bad nickname, such as the one Lappin's friend named, ''The House that Landscaping Forgot.'' ''The house had many attractive features,'' says Lappin. But her friends remembered only the bad one. ''The front lawn ran right up to the front wall of the house, uninterrupted by bushes or flowers or anything,'' she said. ''For a few hundred dollars or less, the owners could have put in a few decorative bushes, edging rocks, and mulch so the potential buyers would remember it as 'The House with the Great Hardwood Floors' instead.''
You might not realize your house has a problem, which can be a problem itself. ''The buyer has an inspector, and they will find everything,'' says Elizabeth Perrins, an Upstate New York agent. ''It really is best to have the issues looked at before selling the house. Hire a home inspector to come out and tell you what a buyer is going to see.''
Many buyers can't envision all the possibilities of a home unless they get a little help. And that's what staging is for. Staging shows potential buyers the best way to use spaces throughout the home. With staging, you need to see the house the way potential buyers will see it. ''Prospective buyers want to envision themselves in the home,'' says Segarra. They don't want constant reminders that the home belonged to someone else. ''As harsh as this may sound, move your personal photos and memorabilia out of the house.''
When staging, try to get all the rooms as bright as possible. Segarra suggests that sellers paint the rooms neutral colors. ''Dark rooms always feel more small and cramped,'' he says. It's also good practice to remove drapes.
If the exterior of your home doesn't look cared for, many buyers won't click on it when looking online or won't want to get out of the car to come in when they drive by. If your home doesn't look inviting, you'll probably have trouble selling it. Here are some tips from Segarra:
Maybe you listed your home during a traditionally slow period, such as wintertime in the Northeast, or during the Fourth of July weekend when people are out of town and aren't searching for homes. If that happens, your ''days on market'' statistic will rise, and that doesn't look good to potential buyers who will start wondering what's wrong with the house. ''Depending on local MLS rules, sellers may be able to relist their property after doing a small home condition change or price change,'' says Matt Parker, a Seattle, WA, agent. ''In this case, buyers will revisit the listing, still seeing the old listing but giving the home a second and better chance once it has been repackaged.''
Maybe you have a wonderful home, but if you don't have professional photos, your home probably doesn't look as good online as it could. ''Do you have one of those photos in your listing that shows your agent's reflection in a mirror... with their iPhone?'' asks Perrins. ''You deserve good photos. Buyers are going to the home that looks better online,'' she says.
If you've done everything by the book, and your home still isn't selling, you might wish to consider getting a new agent. If you signed a contract, ask to be let out, or see if there's another agent in the office you could work with. ''Talk to as many people as possible who have bought and sold real estate in your neighborhood, and find out who the best person in that area is,'' says Davis. ''Listing agents need to go far beyond just throwing the listing up on the MLS and calling it a day.''
''Houses will always sell,'' says Perrins. It's just a matter of using the right strategy. If one or more of the issues we've discussed applies to you, you now know what to do.
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