7 reasons why your property won't sell!

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

7 Reasons why your property won't sell

I wondered where that bicycle went.1. YOUR PROPERTY WON'T SELL because your photos are "less than impressive". The vast majority of home buyers begin their search for a property 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 should be treated just as a 'virtual showing'... if your property 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, 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 Thet's a wheelbarrow full o'cash.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 angry canine, 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.

And, yes... for my regular readership, this is a post I've made before... updated from the archives, because it was highly popular (read that as lots of comments), and seem that it's still relevant.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois


Comments (43)

Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Alan - this is probably the most "evergreen" post of them all. These facts don't change no matter what market you're in - good advice never goes out of style.

Jul 06, 2019 07:34 AM
Alan May

It's prolly the fourth of fifth time I've posted it, in some version or another, over the years.

Jul 06, 2019 07:37 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Another great post, Alan May! Two featured posts this week! These are all timeless reasons for a home not selling, and for those of us who have been in the business for a while, we have experienced all of these reasons at one time or another. I would still have to go with overpricing as the number one culprit, followed by poor photos/presentation online.

Jul 06, 2019 07:35 AM
Alan May

I'd agree... price trumps all... maybe I should make that number one?

Jul 06, 2019 07:38 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Yesterday, one of our sellers called to ask if we can please restrict the 24 hour notice to weekends only. She says she isn't up to prepping the house all the time. Really? We discussed the importance of being flexible at the listing appointment and beyond. Argh. 

Jul 06, 2019 07:47 AM
Alan May

Argh, indeed.  I actually had one client who, at the listing appointment, asked me if I could manage to sell the property with no yard-sign, and no showings. (in total sincerity).

I took a breath, and answered: "Yes, of course... but that would be at 10%".  Needless to say we put a sign in the ground, and had regular showings.

Jul 06, 2019 07:55 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

All so very true, and will still be true ten or twenty years from now. Sales tactics may change, but human nature does not.

Jul 06, 2019 08:40 AM
Alan May

hopefully, I'm not still publishing it ten or twenty years from now.

Jul 06, 2019 11:03 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Alan:

This is great advice! These issues have been true for a long time (well there was a time when photos were not so important, perhaps) and likely will remain so. It's back to the basics to be successful! I tell sellers once we go live it's the FIRST AND BIGGEST OPEN HOUSE and it had better show well.


Jul 06, 2019 10:06 AM
Alan May

back in the days of a large printed book, that we weren't willing to hand out... the photos weren't quite so important... but today they're critical.

Jul 06, 2019 11:04 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Yeah, I'm emailing a link to a seller who turned down a good offer and won't update his house even though I am begging him to.

Jul 06, 2019 10:47 AM
Alan May

good luck with that.

Jul 06, 2019 11:05 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Alan- missed this on July 4 and it is so true it bears repeating.   Love your "tell it like it is" wording!

Jul 06, 2019 12:33 PM
Alan May

You mighta been a bit busy on the 4th.

Jul 06, 2019 07:11 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I like this blog Alan because it's very frank and straightforward. It's exactly what agents are thinking, yet we have to be more diplomatic in conversation!

Jul 06, 2019 01:25 PM
Alan May

a little diplomacy is always in order.

Jul 06, 2019 07:11 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Alan May,

Love this post because you are telling it like it is! These 7 reasons are exactly why a home won't sell and is worth repeating..and repeating!

Jul 06, 2019 02:25 PM
Alan May

and that's just what I've done... isn't it?  repeating and repeating...

Jul 06, 2019 07:12 PM
Nancy Koehler

Good post!

Jul 06, 2019 03:19 PM
Jeremy Marquez
J Marqeting - Sacramento, CA
Virtual ISA at J Marqeting #iCallYouClose

The question, for listing advisors, since overpricing is a huge reason why it doesn't sell...

Before taking the listing, do you be sure it is priced right?

If the seller will not take your advice, do you still take the listing, knowing the market, and knowing it probably will not sell, due to being overpriced?

Jul 06, 2019 05:20 PM
Alan May

That's a complicated question... personally, I'm tired of turning down overpriced listings because I'm so certain that I'm right.

And then someone else lists it, and takes reduction, and reduction... finally selling it and collecting what should have been "my" commission.

As long as I've been honest with the seller... I'm willing to take a flyer with them.

Jul 06, 2019 07:15 PM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Alan, I had a seller recently who questioned my pricing. I had mentioned that in this neighbor the houses usually are on the market less than a week. He worries that if it sells quickly he left money on the table. I priced it as high as I thought feasible even in a sellers market. I had to reassure him that if they priced it higher the "buyers who were waiting" would dismiss it.

Jul 07, 2019 05:59 AM
Alan May

... and how did that turn out?

Jul 07, 2019 08:33 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, this is absolutely still all true. Overpricing, not preparing, not allowing showings, including a few crummy photos - all help ensure a house will not sell.

Jul 07, 2019 06:18 AM
Alan May

it's pretty much a guarantee... dontcha think?

Jul 07, 2019 08:34 AM
Stephen Turner
Burkentine Realty Group (Burkentien Builders) - York, PA

All are very good points! Each stem from (but you did a great job of expanding!) the only 2 main reasons, PRICE & CONDITION. (sometimes the condition of the listing such as poor photos, inaccurate info and such, get overlooked. As agents we have a responsibility to ensure the condition of our listing in the MLS!)

Jul 07, 2019 08:33 AM
Alan May

... and, of course, price trumps them all.

Jul 07, 2019 08:59 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

So many things looking like a hot mess and people overlook are going on and sometimes all seven of the cases. This is a great post to come back to.

Jul 07, 2019 08:58 PM
Alan May

feel free to "come back" whenever you feel the need.

Jul 08, 2019 05:49 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

GREAT photos and a compelling list of points addressing the most common reasons a property hasn't sold.   Reblogging with thanks Alan May.

Jul 08, 2019 07:49 AM
Alan May

Thanks for the reblog.  :-)

Jul 10, 2019 10:24 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Alan... I have had to bring buyers and sellers in to reality a lot lately. The one item I think sellers feel they will lose on is the appraisal, but many times a buyer will pay over appraisal ... but a little less and P&S, which is a win.

Jul 08, 2019 08:03 AM
Alan May

we've been very fortunate, regarding appraisals, lately.

Jul 10, 2019 10:25 AM
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

Great tips Alan... thx for sharing!

Jul 09, 2019 10:16 AM
Alan May

You're welcome, Ricardo.

Jul 10, 2019 10:25 AM
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Great list of reasons that potential sellers should read over!

Jul 09, 2019 02:18 PM
Alan May

I think so, too.

Jul 10, 2019 10:25 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Smart post!  There can be several reasons a home doesn't sell all at the same time, and you've listed them all!  It pains me sometimes to see homes like this, sitting and not selling. 

Jul 09, 2019 06:29 PM
Alan May

I'm sure there are some I've missed.

Jul 10, 2019 10:25 AM