Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling And What to Do About It
Facing the reality that your home isn’t selling as quickly as you’d hoped is undoubtedly a stressful situation. After the initial enthusiasm of listing your property, you might find yourself stuck in a puzzling lull. The showings are sparse, and offers are virtually nonexistent, compelling you to wonder: What’s preventing my house from selling?
This guide will shed light on prevalent reasons that cause homes to stagnate on the market and offer actionable solutions to get things moving again. Time is of the essence, especially if your property has been listed for over a month. The number of days your home spends on the market can significantly impact its desirability. The longer it sits, the more potential buyers may become skeptical, questioning if something is wrong with the property, even if their suspicions are unfounded.
High Price Tag: A Common Barrier to Sale
When a home languishes on the market, the asking price is often the culprit. Buyers are attuned to the issue of overpricing. Surveys involving experienced real estate agents reveal that most have witnessed buyers retracting offers, primarily due to concerns over the expensive home.
Determining the Right Price
Setting a price for your home is a nuanced task that involves multiple factors. To arrive at a realistic figure, you’ll want to assess recent property sales in your area meticulously. This will require you to adjust your home’s price based on unique features and conditions that differentiate it from comparable listings.
Online Valuation Tools: A Starting Point
Online tools can provide initial guidance. These platforms can quickly generate a rough valuation by inputting your home’s address and responding to basic questions about the property. However, this should be a starting point for pricing your home.
Consult with Real Estate Professionals
If you’ve tried to set the price independently, a real estate agent’s input can be invaluable for aligning your expectations with market realities. Most of a real estate agent’s work revolves around strategic pricing, supplemented by marketing and presentation. Real estate professionals have immediate access to a wide range of data, aiding them in fine-tuning the price for your home.
Feedback as a Gauge for Pricing
Open houses and private showings offer another avenue to assess if your home’s pricing aligns with buyer expectations. If visitors express disappointment regarding what your home offers relative to its price, it’s a clear sign that adjustments may be necessary.
Comparing with Local Listings
Finally, scrutinize how your home compares to other local listings. Suppose your property is priced higher than others offering superior features or has undergone more upgrades. In that case, this is a strong indicator that the asking price may need to be reconsidered.
Addressing Overpricing: Time for a Price Adjustment
According to data from the National Association of Realtors, most homes sell at their original asking price, but among those that don’t, 64% end up selling after just one price reduction. The degree of price adjustment can vary. If your home is drawing a lot of visits but hasn’t received any offers, a 1% reduction might be enough to draw the right buyer.
A more substantial 2% to 3% reduction may be needed if the property struggles to attract interest. When making these adjustments, it’s also wise to consider the browsing habits of online buyers, who often search in price increments of $25,000 to $50,000. Strategically reducing the price to fit into a new search bracket could expose your property to a new pool of potential buyers.
Missing the Market’s Peak: Adjustments Required for a Sluggish Market
Real estate may not be as unpredictable as the stock market, but shifts can subtly catch sellers off guard. As the housing market recalibrates, price reductions become more prevalent, allowing buyers greater negotiating power. An example can be drawn from a recent case where a seller aimed to list their home at a higher price than a similar nearby property, which had sold quickly for $20,000 above its asking price. However, the market had cooled significantly within four months since that sale, necessitating a price adjustment.
Strategies for Adapting to a Changing Market
The remedy to this situation involves staying attuned to current market trends and understanding what buyers seek. One approach involves real estate agents taking sellers on a virtual or physical tour of comparable homes. This educates sellers about where their home stands compared to others and offers insights into how to make their property more appealing. The competitive landscape dictates whether a seller should upgrade their home to meet market standards or adjust the price. For instance, if most homes have a relatively new furnace and yours is over a decade old, installing a new one could be wise. This allows sellers to align their expectations and strategies with real-time market conditions.
Specific Issues Require Targeted Solutions
Even when a home showing doesn’t result in an immediate sale, it offers invaluable information. Feedback collected from these showings can provide insights into what potential buyers like or dislike about the property. For instance, if your agent consistently hears that the home is too dark, that’s a signal for action.
Pinpointing and Addressing the Problem
Once you recognize a recurring issue, you can take steps to address it. If the common complaint is about the home being too dark, options could include adding more lighting, decluttering to improve natural light flow, or even hiring a professional to clean the windows for better light entry. When potential buyers find it difficult to visualize how they would use specific spaces — like where to hang a TV in a window-filled living room or fit a king-sized bed in a smaller main bedroom — updating the staging can help to provide those answers.
Major concerns like a damaged kitchen counter can usually be fixed with a reasonable investment. For example, replacing a defective countertop with a new slab of quartz for $2,000 could significantly enhance the home’s market appeal. However, some issues are beyond a seller’s control, such as high homeowners’ association dues or living on a street frequently congested due to nearby events. For these, transparency and setting the right expectations among potential buyers become the go-to strategies.
Mismatched Buyer Profile Calls for a Different Strategy
Suppose your home requires substantial repairs like an aging roof, potential asbestos in construction materials, or water damage in the basement. On top of that, you might be under time constraints due to financial needs or changes in a family member’s health. Traditional buyers, who often prefer move-in-ready homes, may not be the right fit for your property. For instance, according to a Coldwell Banker survey, most Americans, including 70% of millennials and 71% of Gen Xers, would rather opt for a smaller, ready-to-move-in home than invest in renovations.
Alternative Selling Methods as a Solution
Find yourself in a situation like this. Selling the property to specialized buyers such as real estate investors, house-buying companies, or iBuyers might be more beneficial. These entities are generally more open to purchasing homes that need work and frequently make all-cash offers. Typically, the process involves you sharing basic information about your property. The buyer then extends a cash offer, leaving you to decide whether to accept or decline.
Unconventional Properties Require Special Attention
It may take longer to sell if your home has unique characteristics—unusually large, architecturally distinct, or located in a non-traditional area. Consider a home with two complete living spaces under one roof, not segmented into separate apartments but having two kitchens, living rooms, and master bedrooms. In such cases, traditional marketing approaches may not be effective.
Targeted Marketing and Patience are Key
When dealing with unconventional homes, patience is usually required as you wait for the right buyer. Reflect on what initially attracted you to the property; others will likely find the same features appealing. Your marketing strategy should highlight these unique attributes to capture the attention of like-minded buyers.
Consider beyond conventional real estate websites to ensure your listing reaches the appropriate audience. Utilize social media platforms like Facebook groups, specialty websites tailored to unique homes, and local community apps like Nextdoor. Some sellers even find success through targeted mailing lists or niche print publications.
Ineffective or Non-Existent Staging Impedes Sales
When prospective buyers visit your home, they try to visualize themselves living in the space. This becomes difficult if the home is cluttered with personal belongings like children’s toys or overflowing bookshelves. Research supports the efficacy of home staging; a survey indicated that 67% of top agents believe staging can increase the home’s selling price by 1% to 5%, and 83% stated that staged homes sell more quickly.
The Solution: Professional Staging and Decluttering
Begin by preparing for your move in advance. Remove family photos, personal keepsakes, and non-essential items and place them in storage. This will open up the space and allow you and prospective buyers to focus on the home. Evaluate the visible areas—floors, walls, and shelves—to determine what needs painting or repairs. While it might seem counterintuitive to invest in a home you’re about to sell, small improvements often yield a significant return on investment.
Hiring a professional stager can amplify this effect. According to industry professionals, proper staging can double or triple your investment. If you’re still living in the home during the selling process, you don’t need to stage every room—focus on key areas like living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and the primary bedroom suite. Costs for staging a three-bedroom home typically range from $1,500 to $2,400, but this expense can often be deferred until the sale closes, as some staging companies collect their fee out of the escrow account.
Effective staging is not about adding more but optimizing what’s already there. Minimize distractions and maximize the home’s layout and design features.
Unappealing Curb Appeal Deters Buyers
Potential buyers might not even enter the front door if your home’s exterior isn’t inviting. An unkempt yard or a dilapidated facade can be immediate deal-breakers. Quantitatively, more than 75% of top real estate agents affirm that well-maintained exteriors can increase a home’s value by 1% to 10%. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal can significantly improve its marketability.
The Solution: Budget-Friendly Exterior Upgrades
Sprucing up the exterior of your home doesn’t have to be an arduous task or break the bank. You can undertake this project yourself or enlist the services of professional landscapers and contractors. Even minor changes like lawn mowing, planting flowers, and fixing weathered or broken elements can make a difference. Paint your front door a welcoming color. A vibrant or tastefully subdued hue can set the tone for the entire home, inviting buyers to see what else is available.
Subpar Listing Photos Negatively Impact Interest
With the home meticulously staged and the curb appeal enhanced, your listing photos must reflect the effort put into the property. Lackluster photos can drastically reduce the number of buyers interested. The NAR 2021 Generational report highlighted that 90% of buyers considered professional listing photos a top feature when searching for homes online.
The Solution: Upgrade to Professional Photography and Multimedia
If you’ve skimped on listing photos, it’s time to rectify that mistake. Coordinate with your real estate agent to add high-quality photos, videos, or 3-D walkthroughs to your listing. Many agents have relationships with professional photographers and typically include the cost of these services in their commission. If you’re listing the property yourself or your agent doesn’t offer this service, investing in professional photography could significantly boost your appeal. Given the importance of first impressions in the digital age, this investment will likely offer a high return.
Marketing Approaches May Need Refreshing
Suppose you’re leaning primarily on older methods like print advertisements and physical yard signs to sell your property. In that case, you might miss attracting many prospective buyers. As Lord points out, most buyers’ first interaction with a home is likely online, forwarding their findings to their real estate agent. This is especially true at a time when COVID-19 has accelerated the shift toward digital platforms.
The numbers back this up. More than a third of buyers find digital tools like photos, interactive maps, and virtual tours useful. 51% of modern buyers locate their future home on the Internet.
The Solution: Modernize Your Marketing Strategy
Consult a Skilled Real Estate Agent: Employ the expertise of a knowledgeable local agent. They can assess your property’s selling points and suggest innovative marketing techniques tailored to your home.
Harness the Power of Digital: Make sure your listing is on the MLS and prominently featured on major real estate websites and apps. These are the platforms most buyers consult first.
Social Media Savvy: Actively utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms are indispensable for reaching different buyer demographics and are particularly good for targeting people locally or considering relocation.
Virtual Engagement: Adopt virtual open houses, tours, and 3D walkthroughs. This approach enables you to reach buyers who cannot visit in person.
High-Quality Media: High-quality photographs and videos can significantly elevate your listing. Many agents will have contacts in this area and may even include this as part of their service.
Interactive Tools: Use interactive maps, neighborhood statistics, and floor plans to help buyers better understand the property and its surroundings.
By revamping your marketing strategy to include these elements, you’ll likely find that your property will attract more.