You finally made the big decision to sell your home and excitedly put it on the market. There is an initial flurry of activity as agents and buyers come and view the property, but then the days, and maybe the weeks roll buy and you’ve had no credible offers. What do you do when your house isn’t selling? Is it time to lower the price?
Maybe. But maybe not.
Your first step should be to have your agent take another hard look at the comps. How long are comparable homes on the market? Are the final sales prices on those homes relatively close to your asking price? If your home is priced substantially higher than the sales prices of comparable properties you might be priced too high, or perhaps the market has changed. For instance, here in San Diego County the months of March – May were very competitive and market time could be measured in days, not weeks or months. However by August and September buyers seemed to put on the brakes and we saw prices soften and the number of days on market increase.
It is also a good idea to take another look at your home through buyer’s eyes. Have your agent get some real feedback from buyers who have viewed the property. Is your home lacking curb appeal? Are there repairs that might seem too overwhelming or unrealistic at your price point? Does the home appear too small because of all the furniture you have in every room? Are there taste specific decorations such as brightly colored feature walls or wallpaper that might be a turn-off? Often some minor changes such as sprucing up the yard, painting a room or removing some furniture can be sufficient to help a buyer desire your home at or near your asking price. If this is the case and you do make changes, make sure you have new pictures posted on the MLS.
When a house is languishing on the market, sellers are often quick to blame the agent and a lack of marketing. One thing to keep in mind however; no amount of marketing will sell an over-priced home! In this day when most every MLS syndicates its listings to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com and most buyers are looking at one of those sites, it is doubtful that your home is invisible and not coming up in searches. That being said there are some things your agent can do to add more bang to the marketing such as creating a single property website, posting it on real estate blogs, advertising on Craigslist, creating a YouTube video tour, holding open houses or using a service to send email flyers to local agents. Above all it is important that you have professional quality photos. If the photos aren’t enticing, it is doubtful you’ll get people in the door.
So if your house isn’t selling and you’re getting frustrated, here is a simple plan to help you take steps to get your home sold:
- Have your agent research the marketing time and prices for similar homes in your area over a period of the last 60 days. It could be your expectations are not in line with what is really happening in the market.
- Get honest feed-back about your home. Are there any negative points that are detracting from its desirability? If there are things you can realistically change, those might be worth considering. If there are problems outside your control such as a busy, noisy street, a price reduction might be in order.
- Discuss the marketing plan with your agent to make sure that your home is showing in its best light including photos and verbal descriptions. A good marketing plan should be built around advertising your home’s key selling points and down playing any negatives.
- Determine your timeline for selling. If time is not a factor and you’re not in a rush to sell maybe you can hold at your current price a while longer. Remember, new people are entering the market every day, including those that haven’t seen your home. On the other hand, if you’re trying to purchase another property and need to sell your current home first, you will probably want to consider a price reduction. Taking a slightly smaller profit may be worth it in order to buy your dream home!
The key thing to remember is that you don’t set the sales price, the market does. It doesn’t matter how much you need or want to profit, or how much you spent on improvements. Ultimately the sales price of your home is based on supply and demand, desirability, and how quickly you need it sold.
If you’re ready to sell your San Diego County home and are curious about value, just give me a call for a no-obligation market analysis.