Why isn't my home selling?
If you've been in this business for any length of time, you've probably had that home that for whatever reason, just sits and sits and sits. At some point, the seller probably asked, "Why isn't my home selling?" And, if you're like a lot of agents, you scrambled for reasons. Some may have been right. Some may have been wrong, and some may have been completely off. It can be puzzling at times, but, the seller is looking at you as the problem.
Let me give you a few common reasons why a home doesn't sell. There are simple reasons, and there are reasons that more complicated but just as effective at keeping a good home on the market. Let's start with the most obvious:
- The property is just overpriced. Most sellers have a price in mind that they want to sell their property for. Even if they say they don't, drop a number and see how quickly they say, "Well, I was thinking more in the XXXXX range." Bingo, you have their number. Now, is it realistic? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of sellers add every dollar they've spent on their home to the list price. Sadly, many things have no return value. The market determines the value of the property, not the memories. A caller yesterday wanted to know if I'd sell his four investment properties. I did a little research and came up with a number. He was horrified. He wanted a couple hundred thousand more. Why? Because he put money in them and they are income producing. I get it, but the public doesn't. They really weren't worth his number, so I declined to list. The price is critical.
- The property is in poor condition. Most people really don't want to buy another person's problems. One of the critical characteristics with younger buyers is that they want a home that is in good shape and doesn't need any repairs to make it great. They just want to move in and take up house-keeping. Fix everything before listing and take that off the table.
- The property is in a bad location. When you bought the house, the neighborhood was awesome, but after 20 years it has changed and problem neighbors have sprung up everywhere. Sadly, there is little you can do about that. The neighborhood may discount your home in spite of the asking price and condition. A barking dog next door, a junk car in the neighbor's driveway, an over-gown lot, a green pool that hasn't been used for years, and lots of other things can cost you money, even if they aren't your fault.
- The property is hard to show. I tried to show a property a few years ago, but it could only be seen from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays. My buyers were never able to match their schedules with the limited access time. The property stayed on the market for 9 months. Is it any wonder?
- The property doesn't sell because similar homes have come on the market at a better starting price. I had the strangest thing happen in 2018. I had this amazing home that I was about to list. We had it painted, cleaned and everything serviced and repaired. It was high-end first-class listing. The week I listed, seven homes on the same street came on the market. Most were $30K-$40K less than mine. Only two were more expensive, but they also had finished basements and additional amenities. Everyone sold but mine. Mine languished. What was wrong with it? Not a thing. The flood of cheaper options tanked my listing.
- The property smells like pets. More than once, I've heard that about a listing of mine. If you have pets, it can be a challenge to get the pet smell out of the house, but you've got to find a way to do that. It will kill your listing. There are ways and methods, but you'll have to choose which one works for you. Don't get rid of the pets, but get rid of the smells.
- The property is being sold "as-is". The property may be sold as-is for a myriad of reasons. I had four listings in 2018 that were all sold as-is because the owners were out of state and didn't want to deal with getting things repaired if needed. In each case, I made sure there was nothing major wrong before listing, but a home inspector who gets paid by the word will find something. As-is properties scare some people. They assume there are problems and they want to avoid them. Sadly, they miss a lot of great properties because of that assumption.
There are so many reasons a property doesn't sell, but those listed above have been the most common ones I've seen. Make sure when a property is listed that it's ready for the market. Be honest with your seller about things that might cost them money in the long run, and turn it loose and see what happens.