Do you have your house on the market right now? Or, are you considering it? That's great! There are still a few buyers lurking around out there -- there are always those few people who will have to move no matter what the housing market is reportedly doing.
Well, you may be wondering what your house might not sell right now. I mean, seriously, photos of toilets don't sell houses, and neither does that padded listing price. The real estate market is much more difficult to sell in right now than it was a mere two years ago...or even last month! That's right. In South Carolina, we have just recently entered the housing recession, so we are still feeling the effects while other states are starting to tread water. Last in = last out. Not to worry, though. Hire an excellent real estate agent, follow these tips, and you'll be moving in no time!
Back in August of last year, I published a post called 6 Reasons why your house won't sell. It garnered an unbelievable (at least unbelievable for ME) 192 comments, after being viewed 8667 times, and having 7,934 people "click" on it. That means that 2.4% of the people who viewed the post, were moved enough to leave a comment behind.
The average, at least for me, has been less than half of that return... more like sightly under 1%. It was also "reblogged" by an astonishing 47 Rainers to share with their readers.
Soon after posting, a local Realtor publication contacted me, having found the article on Active Rain, and asked if they could publish the article, with my byline, of course. As you might imagine, I said "yes", and picked-up 438 copies of that issue (my mother loved them). So I thought it might be time to review and revive that post, and let the "next generation" of readers have their shot at it:
7 Reasons why your property won't sell
1. Your property won't sell because your photos are "less than impressive". The vast majority of home buyers start their search for a home on the Internet, so your property had better look fantastic in print. Not just nice, it has to look downright fabulous. Today an internet view is the same as a 'virtual showing'... if your house gets past that, then they might (just might) make an appointment to see it in person... You should really consider that your SECOND showing. Today's online viewers are expecting good quality photos (and lots of them...the picture below... taken from Google Maps... is completely unacceptable. That's a $500,000 listing, take a moment and your digital camera and force your agent to go earn their commission), a virtual tour, maybe even a floor plan, and they need to be high-quality, or don't bother.
2. Your property won't sell because it's overpriced. It's important to be as objective as you possibly can. Look at the home as though you were a "buyer"... if necessary, make an appointment with your Realtor to view other properties that are priced comparably to yours. Be brutally objective. Given the other options on the market (and yes, you DO have to include short sales and foreclosures on your list... your potential buyers are!), would YOU buy your home, over the others that are currently available on the market?
If the answer is "NO", (and try to be as honest as you can) well then you have your work cut out for you, don't you? You either have to "update" your home to meet or beat the competition...(that might mean an updated bathroom or kitchen, or neutralizing some decorating... remove that old wallpaper that was there when you bought the house or lower your price to adjust for it. if you can't afford to sell it for the price, that you KNOW it should sell for, this may not be the right market for you to sell. Consider taking it off-market.
3. Your property won't sell because it shows badly. This could mean almost anything... from the 60 pound Rottweiler, barking and drooling at the potential buyers from behind the safety of the flimsiest child-gate, to the lingering smell of 30-years of smoking. Maybe the carpeting shows traffic-pattern wear, or your windows allow in slightly more than daylight. All things that aren't visible from the internet, but whoa.... once you get inside the house... they show up, like a cat-urine-soaked-shag carpet on a 95 degree day in New Orleans!
4. Your property won't sell because you're invisible. Today's buyer comes from the internet, almost exclusively. Have you (or your agent) simply plopped the property on the MLS, and started praying? Are you on all the websites...(Trulia, Zillow, Craig's List, Google Base, etc...) all the places that buyers are searching? If not, you need to be, now! Don't try to be a secret, in today's electronic world. You want to be found, and the sooner the better.
5. Your property won't sell because your listing is tired and stale on the market. Okay... yes, you overpriced your home initially when you first came on the market a year and a half ago. But since then you have reduced your price almost monthly, constantly chasing the market down. Now, finally you're truly priced where you believe should be, but your listing (not your house) has become tired and stale. Everyone who is looking for your type of property (ie: 3br/1.1 bath) in your area has already seen the listing online, or in person and they remember that there was "something" about it that they didn't like... but what they don't remember is... what they didn't like.... was the price. Time to take the listing off market. Let it cool off (3-6 months), and bring it back on fresh in the Spring. Yeah, you'll have 6 mos. worth of holding-costs... but you'll more than make up for it in your purchase price.
btw... Resist the temptation to bring the house back on at a higher price, than when you left the market. Just "don't do it"!
6. Your property won't sell because your house won't appraise. The house looks great... you've finally gotten someone to bring you a bid on your slightly over-priced, but beautiful pied-a-terre. But the bank appraiser says it's worth $20,000 less than your buyer has agreed to pay. Heavy sigh... bite the bullet.... negotiate with them. If you have to drop the price $20,000 to make it work.... "make it work"... chances are, anybody else trying to buy your house will run into the same problem. If you're not willing to negotiate the difference, you may find yourself with no buyer, and accepting a lower offer somewhere down the line.
7. Your property won't sell because it's unavailable to show. You have a baby, and a 1-year old. And they need their naps. So you've told your Realtor in no-uncertain-terms, that you'll only allow showings between 9:00a.m - Noon, and then again from 2:30-5:30 p.m. And no showings on Saturday or Sundays. "After all", you've told him "we still live here.. it's our home!". Well guess what? They can't buy it, if they can't see it. As good as your online photos are, they're no substitute for an in-person visit. "If they really want to see it, they'll reschedule", you're already answering as you read this. Nonsense! What they'll do, is they'll just move on to the next property in line (there are dozens like yours available) and maybe they'll buy that one instead. Once you put your property on the market it stops being your "home", and has become your "product". And you want your product to be seen by as large a buying audience as possible.
So, there you have it. Stick around another year and half. Who knows, maybe by August of 2013, I'll have EIGHT reasons why your property won't sell!
ALAN MAY, Realtor®
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 2929 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779 Cell: 847.924.3313 Email: Almay@aol.com