10 Reasons Your House Is Not Selling. A few days ago I wrote about how price and condition will determine whether your house sells or not. Here is a follow up that focuses on many other ways home owners sabotage the process of selling their home.
1. Price is still the most important factor for buyers. Just because you paid $400,000 in 2006 and put in another $100,000 into the house, does not mean you have a $500,000 house. In today's market $400,000 plus $100,000 may equal $350,000. Its all about price and condition in relation to the other similar homes on the market.
2. Poor photos. Today we know that 90% of the buyers begin the search online. So I am amazed when I see listings of half-million dollar homes which use "snap shots" the agent took during a 5 minute visit. I use a professional photographer on all of my home listings because I know if the photos don't grab the buyer in the first 10 seconds, that buyer is lost.
3. Clutter, nick-nacks, personal, and political stuff. Yes I know you have been collecting these things for 30 years and you are very proud of your stuff. But the buyer does not care about your collection and in fact it makes your house look smaller than it really is. We are talking about one of your largest financial transactions, get a storage unit during the listing. It will pay for itself many times over. Also personal things such as family photos, children's drawings , political posters don't help you. The buyer needs to see themselves in the house, make it easy for them.
4. You stay home during the showing. There are only two outcomes to this. The first is you make the buyer uncomfortable looking in your closets and cabinets and distract them. The second is you say something that is to your disadvantage. I have attended countless showings where the seller is home and mentions something that either reduces the value of the home in the buyer's mind or totally removes it from the list of possible homes. If you must be home, go wait in the backyard and read a book.
5. Pets and Smells. While your dog is barking at the potential buyers and their agent they are having trouble focusing on seeing themselves living in your house. Your cat's litter-box in the laundry room is adding a scent and its not money. Your ferret is attempting to burrow through the wall and the cigar smoke in the curtains is not helping your either.
6. You have unusual paint or wallpaper. Sellers with children often have paint colors picked out by the children. While lime green, black and magenta are great colors for your kids, they are not so great for buyers. Additionally the wallpaper picked out by Aunt Ethel in 1964 is sending the buyers this message: This House Needs Lots of Work! I really like colors other than white for walls, but they need do need to complement each other.
7. Your house is rented. Imagine the buyer's agent is scheduling 7 showings for tomorrow morning. The vacant houses are effortless, the houses that are owner occupied are mostly happy to schedule the showing at a time the works best for the buyers. Then we get to the rental. In Arizona, the renters can require up to 48 notice before a showing, but often 24 hours will work. However most buyer's agents schedule showings either the day before or the day of the showings. Either way many rentals will not get shown. Also consider that many tenants are not enthusiastic about having to move. It is common for tenants to leave the house a mess for showings.
8. Your house is dysfunctional. Examples: Master bedroom upstairs, one floor has only a half bath, small closets, no garage, access to a bedroom is through another bedroom, driveway is steep, has many stairs to front door, no laundry room, out laundry in garage. Functional issues are very hard to fix so adjusting the price is often the only option here.
9. Poor Location / Access. If the location could be changed I would have put this as number 2. If you have to drive through a subdivision of mobile homes to get to your $750,000 custom home we are going to have a challenge selling it. If your house adjoins commercial properties that will be an issue. If you always need 4-wheel drive to get there, it's going to be an issue. And as gas prices go up the distance from shopping, schools, and hospitals is going to become more and more important. Right now in the Prescott AZ market, some of the hardest hit areas are very expensive gated communities located 20 miles from town. Again, we cannot change location, but we can adjust the price.
10. Poor Maintenance. Buyers have plenty of options to choose from right now. Most buyers start with the neighborhood and price range they like, then quickly eliminate all properties except those priced most aggressively and in the best condition. If your house has visible maintenance issues like broken windows, old paint, damaged rain gutters or roofing, the buyers will quickly eliminate it unless you have adjusted the price accordingly.
This list could easily be the top 100 reasons your house is not selling, but I think these are some of the most common. It is so important for the sellers to let go of any emotional attachment to the house and step into the shoes of the buyer. And don't forget that the market price is set by the buyer, not the seller. If your house has been on the market for a month without showings please refer to this list. Also if your house is on the market and is getting showings but no offers after 10 showings, please refer to this list. Please give me a call or drop me an email to learn what else I do differently than most REALTORS to help you meet your goals.
Dave Conners enjoys teaching his clients new techniques to reach their goals.