One of the most frustrating experiences a person can go through when selling a house is for the process to drag on because no one has made an offer to buy it. The key to solving the challenge of why a property on the market isn’t attracting buyers willing to make an offer is to first understand the most common reasons a house isn’t selling quickly (and why contracts with real estate agents expire before a ready, willing, and able buyer is found).
1) Poor marketing. If no one knows the house is for sale, guess what? No one is going to come check it out! 85 percent of all buyers are on the Internet looking for their next house, but was your house listed on a website where buyers could easily find it? It is so very critical that buyers find you! Make sure your house is not “MIA” (Missing in Action). Do an online search for the address of the home you’re selling to see what websites pop up. If it is listed with an agency, make sure to stay in contact with the agent you’re working with. Don’t be afraid to ask about how the property is being marketed.
2) Incorrect pricing. Is the property priced higher than homes of similar size currently on the market? The market is very hard on “high” priced properties. Even something that is only slightly more expensive will sit endlessly. Buyers right now have a generous group of houses to choose from, so they narrow down the ones they are going to go look at by price. If you are even just a tiny bit higher than the overall group, most buyers are not setting up a showing to see your house and that could be the reason the house isn’t selling.
3) Terrible photos. When, the photographs don’t do it justice, buyers won’t want to visit the property. The truth is, houses are not the easiest things to take great pictures of. It takes a special wide angel lens to really get the feel of a “great room.” Sometimes heavy landscaping can make your house look in pictures like a haunted house, but actually when you open the front door, it is wooded and private. Pictures can be fooling, but if the photos aren’t the very best they can be, most people will never know what they are missing!
4) Odors. Smell can ruin a potential sale. We love, love our pets! We have a blind Huskey and a lab mix, so we get used to the hair and the “doggy smell.” Already you are probably saying “eww” in your heart. It’s not just animal smells that can mess you up. If you have a damp basement or crawl space, well water with sulfur smell, old house with old carpets, or upholstery you found in grandma’s house (her couch, for example), you may need to look into some aroma therapy and professional carpet cleaning. Deep cleaning may be worth every penny if you are like me and need to hire someone to do it because your work schedule doesn’t permit the time to get the task done.
5) Staging challenges. If you have very unique tastes or have let your children decorate, you might be shocked to know that most buyers cannot see past lilac purple walls, bubble gum pink toilets, or a room painted black that looks awesome to six-year-olds when you turn on the black light to show the “glow-in-the-dark Batman.” Outdated and unique decorating can cause a house to sit on the market when it really is a super house with a magnificent floor plan. People just imagine themselves spending every weekend for a year stripping the wallpaper. My seller clients often say, “Let the new buyer paint! I’ll even give him some and a paint brush.” After discussing it for a while, some sellers will want to negotiate the price with a “paint allowance,” but the truth is the buyer can’t see past it. Go ahead and “neutral up” your walls. Don’t be offended. I too like “loud” colors. Come see me in my office. The walls are Bullfighters red and I love it! But, I’m not trying to sell it.
If you want to learn more, or just need some help with understanding why your house isn’t selling, my staff and I would certainly be glad to talk with you and to help in any way we can. Please feel free to call my office any time at 865-429-2121.