Why isn't my home selling?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

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. 

Comments (11)

Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mike. I think this is thoughtful and on the money. Well done.

May 31, 2019 07:18 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Your bulleted points cover nearly all reasons a home isn't selling, Mike!  It is important for sellers to understand them.

May 31, 2019 08:03 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

May 31, 2019 08:03 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mike:

I think you hit all the major reasons for homes not selling. Sellers have more control over some things  than others!


May 31, 2019 11:14 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I believe, L3 is the most important element in real estate. Regardless, when a property is in a desirable location, the property will sell and usually sells fast and most times if priced correctly will sell more than the listing price.

Informing the sellers about the importance of L3 and your marketing strategies to overcome its effect should provide a sensible outcome of expectations and ensure the property is sold in a reasonable amount of time.

May 31, 2019 11:21 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Morning Mike.

It sounds like you've done your research, or in your case, your history.  

Jun 01, 2019 02:17 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mike - all of these reasons are spot on.  It is better to get everything right before it comes on the market.

Jun 01, 2019 04:31 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Agree with all your points.  Every Seller needs to be reminded before listing their property.

Jun 01, 2019 10:44 AM
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

Arming your sellers with this info should keep them in check.  Itis better to walk away than to have a listing to expire for any of your reasoning.  

Great Post.  I enjoyed reading it.

Jun 01, 2019 04:32 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post as always.  Smart advice to get the sellers to talk about price as they all have something in mind.  Sometimes it's like pulling teeth as they want to know what our price might be.  I've seen that frustrated look before!

Jun 03, 2019 06:09 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great question that a seller might ask.

Trying to keep this question from coming up takes place at the listing presentation. The agent needs to know the market well and be able to present that information to the seller in such a way that they can see what adjustments to price/condition of property before it is listed.

Your points were on point.

Jun 10, 2019 12:08 PM