Four Reasons Why That House Didn’t Sell

Four Reasons Why That House Didn’t Sell

Boy, are you lucky you are not the seller of that house.  You know the one—it’s been sitting on the market for so long that you forgot what it looks like without the For Sale sign in front of it.  They decreased the price several times, there are people stopping by to look at it, but the stubborn For Sale sign remains.  You feel bad watching the poor Realtor holding it open every Saturday to no avail. What gives?  Well, it could be:


Its Price

There are soooo many reasons why setting the listing price too high is a bad idea. Fewer buyers will even want to look at the home.  Fewer Realtors will bother showing it.  Buyers who can afford the higher price will want a bigger, better home.  Buyers who would want that home will not be able to afford its price.  An overpriced home almost always ends up sitting on the market for too long, the seller needlessly ends up paying months of additional mortgage payments, and then is usually forced to sell the home for less than its fair market value. Why, oh, why then overprice it?  Different sellers have different reasons, but they ultimately have one thing in common: they are counting that a clueless buyer will show up and pay what is asked.  Fortunately for the buyer, there is the Internet.  And there are the buyer’s agents.  Today’s homebuyers are more informed than ever before, so sellers who overprice their homes should brace for a long, long time on the market.

Its Location

There should be no surprise here—the location of a home is extremely important. And when I say location, I don’t mean only the part of town that the home is in, but its immediate surroundings as well.  If the neighboring properties are unkept, with overgrown lawns and peeling paint, your home’s appeal will decrease as well. Unfortunately, there is little to be done about the home’s location (unless the home has wheels), so usually the only remedy is to price it properly.  Remember, there’s a buyer for every home, if the price is right.

Its Condition

There once was a time when people actually had free time.  It seems that we didn’t work quite as much as today, moms didn’t have to schlep kids from one afterschool activity to another all the time, and days just seemed to have more hours.  So it was no wonder that there were families who bought fixer-uppers, and working in their free time little by little, remodeled the ugly ducklings into beautiful swans. But today’s buyers are different.  People are so busy that very few have time (or desire) to do this.  The only folks actively looking for fixer-uppers are investors searching for bargains.  Regular buyers are looking for homes that are in sparkling condition and ready to move into. What usually gets sellers in trouble here is not that they don’t want to prepare their home for sale properly, but when you live in a home for a long time it becomes hard to be objective about its condition.  In other words, what a longtime occupant of the home considers a perfectly acceptable condition may not be acceptable to someone seeing it for the first time.  This is why it’s a good idea to have a neutral third party look at the home first and suggest improvements before it goes up for sale.  I, for example, offer this type of service for free to homeowners in our area.  Checklist in hand, I walk through each room and recommend cost-effective improvements that can maximize the home’s value and minimize the time on the market. Everyone thinking of selling soon should have a similar “checkup” performed.

Its Marketing

Have you heard of the 3-P marketing strategy?  Put the sign in the yard, Place the listing in the MLS, and then Pray. As you can imagine, in our noisy world this marketing “plan” is not enough to attract enough qualified buyers.  This is why sharp listing agents will have aggressive marketing plans that will include a number of different methods of advertising, such as the MLS, the Internet, newspaper ads, open houses, broker open houses, local mailings, brochures, networking with other agents, working with relocation services, etc.  The more exposure the home gets, the better.  Wise sellers discuss the agent’s marketing plan before listing the house, and hopefully get it in writing. The bottom line is—there’s a buyer for every home.  If a home is not selling, an honest re-evaluation of its price, location, condition and marketing should reveal the underlying cause and enable the seller to take corrective action.