A home listed for sale racking up big “days on the market” is not one of those statistics you want as a listing agent nor as a seller. Additionally, it’s one of life’s more frustrating ordeals you can go through. You remember when your house was listed the optimism and expectations were high because there is an emotional attachment that tells you, “Hey, this is an incredible house. It should sell really fast!” Yet 5, 10, 20 or more showings later and there you sit.
Add in the pressure if you’re under contract on another home or if you need to relocate, and the pressure can be overbearing sometimes.
There is no good reason, at least not in the current housing market we’re experiencing, that a home in good condition and in a desirable area shouldn’t sell fairly quickly. Homebuyers are clamoring for these homes as inventory levels are still at lows.
There are several common reasons I’ve found that homes don’t sell, and one of these may just be the solution to your problem.
The home is priced too high
The most common reason a home sits on the market is because it’s overpriced. Since about 2014 I’ve noticed that the days of pricing it high “to give some room to negotiate” have trended away with buyers not making offers on homes they find to be 3-5% too high. They’d rather wait until they go through a couple of price reductions to where they feel the home is priced reasonably before making an offer. Asking too much for the home could be a result of you ignoring your real estate agent’s advice, a mistake on the part of your real estate agent or because the market corrected and your agent didn’t notice. I’ve seen prices for example in the Spring and Summer go up optimistically to reach heights and then in the Fall I get a slew of emails in my inbox about “price reductions” and “price improvement.” Seasonal trends – post peak season listings – can need to be adjusted if the home is still unsold.
Regardless of the reason why, you may need to consider dropping your price to renew interest in your home to get it sold.
Please never forget that homes sell for what buyers are willing to pay, not what sellers hope to get. The best way to know what a buyer is willing to pay for a home like yours is to check the sale prices – not list prices of active listings – on homes similar to yours in your neighborhood.
If it’s less than what you’re currently asking, you may need to consider dropping the price.
Your home needs work
I’ve noticed that the homes that sell the fastest are priced right and they’re in “move in ready” condition. Also, they are well maintained. They have good curb appeal, exterior reflects pride of ownership. The trim is freshly painted, while the siding is in good condition.
What do I mean by “move in ready?” On the interior, the paint is fresh, the carpets clean, and the house is orderly. The buyer has the impression that he or she could move right in and not have to work to make the home livable. Orderly, means decluttered. This isn’t your house with your stuff and style that you are selling, it’s a ‘blank canvas’ you are trying to sell so that people can see themselves in your space.
Because we tend to be blind to our own homes many times where we don’t notice their flaws, the ideal way to get feedback on its condition is for your agent to seek it from buyers’ agents who’ve shown your home.
If your agent isn’t seeking and obtaining feedback after showings, they are doing you a disservice. Task your agent to do the follow-up after showings as you are, after all, paying them. Which leads me to reason number 3 that your home isn’t selling.
Your real estate agent might be doing a lousy job
Your real estate agent’s number one job is to market your home to its best light! If it’s priced right and in a well maintained condition, the next biggest reason it’s not selling is because your agent is failing at the marketing game.
Get with your agent and find out what is being done to market your home. Are the photos and any video professionally done? If so, are they presented in the most professional way to make your home look its best? Do the photos set off the best features of the house or do they identify things you’d rather buyers didn’t see! For example, I took over a listing recently where the previous listing agent used drone photographs of the property as part of the marketing for the home. Well, 274 days on the market later, they came to me and asked, as their listing was about to expire, what went wrong in my opinion. It was clear from the photos that the backyard was tiny, bu worse, over the privacy fence on the rear property line you could see chicken coops and an RV prominently sitting right behind their property. In fact, most of the feedback they got was negatives towards that small backyard. Did the photos help or hurt? They didn’t help.
Also, if the only marketing that’s been done is a sign in the front yard and an MLS listing, you might consider finding another agent.
Here’s a lesson many homeowners learn the hard way. You should never hire an agent that doesn’t consistently do enough production to be able to afford to offer a powerful marketing plan or an agent who is not represented by a large national brokerage company. Typically, large national brokerages have all the money and leverage to offer the best marketing for their listings to you through their local franchises. Just look at www.remax.com as an example. No brokerage website drives more buyer traffic than remax.com. This is why I’m with RE/MAX and not Keller Williams or other brokerages. They do more for my listings. Getting your listing as much exposure is after all the essence of what you’re paying for when hiring a real estate agent, and you should demand the service you deserve.
If you follow numbers one and two and you are convinced your agent is doing a good job, ask yourself if you’re flexible in showing the home when agents ask to see it.
We know that the worst part of selling a home is having to keep it in show ready condition despite life continuing to happen.
Yet please always remember that buyers work too, and often the only time they have to look at homes is in the evening after work or on weekends. When possible, accommodating last-minute requests to show your home earns bonus points and gets you even closer to realizing your goal of selling your home.
Even in the hottest sellers’ markets there are slow periods or seasons we go through, so if you’ve done all you can to ensure that your home is competitive, relax and give it more time. The two biggest factors to home sales are price and timing.