When Your Home Doesn't Sell

You’ve put your home on the market, hoping and expecting a quick sale. You’ve had a spate of showings, but no offers. You’ve held an open house -- or several -- and still no offers. Weeks pass. What little response there was seems to be dwindling with your hopes . . .Why? Why does a perfectly nice home not sell? Here are five reasons, any one, or any combination of which, may be at the root of the problem.

#1: Re-examine Your Market

The fact may be that the market is slow. There may not be many buyers out there looking for homes. Traditionally, there are fewer buyers active in Fall and Winter. Mortgage interest rate hikes may have narrowed the pool of potential buyers as well. There is little you can do in either case; but at least you know why things are slow.

On the other hand, buyers are more plentiful in Spring and Summer. You should be getting activity. The downside of being in the summer market, however, is that you will have plenty of competition from other home sellers. Be sure to check the competition. Ask yourself: "Is my home competitive with similar homes in the neighborhood?"

#2: Check the Condition of Your Property

Does your home have "curb appeal?" Does it invite people driving by to stop and look? If not, it may be that your home needs some sprucing up: lawns not only cut, but edged; shrubbery trimmed; gardens mulched; trees pruned; driveways sealed; and the like.

Once inside, does your home seem clean, well arranged and free of clutter? Are the closets organized? Nothing impresses buyers like spaciousness in a home. Overstuffed rooms, packed closets, basements and garages packed to the ceiling with "stuff" make poor impressions.

#3: Location, Location, Location

While every area has its advantages and disadvantages, there are especially sought-after areas. If you are not in one, you are going to have to work harder to sell your home by concentrating on the advantages of your area in all your advertising. The trick here is to do so without narrowing or limiting your market.

#4: Re-evaluate Your Marketing Plan

Is your home being property advertised in various kinds of publications? Is it being consistently advertised? Are your ads being re-written every week or do you see the same old ad in the paper every week? Ads, like bread, go stale quickly. Is your REALTOR® networking with other agents to re-examine the feedback he/she may have received from other REALTORS® who have shown the property? What did these clients say? More importantly, are you listening to what your REALTOR® relays to you, good and bad? Don’t dismiss your REALTOR®’s advice because their news is not what you want to hear. This is the market speaking . . .

#5: Price, Price, Price

If mortgage interest rates are good, the competition is no stiffer than normal, you are in a decent location, the property is prepared and your advertising is out there, well, it’s probably the price. Overpricing a home is the worst mistake home sellers make. It is also the most common.

There are some people who put a high price on their home just to see if they can make a windfall profit. They feel they can always reduce the price later. Unfortunately, this is poor marketing strategy. If a house remains on the market too long, both REALTORS® and buyers begin to ask what is wrong with it, aside from the price. It becomes shelf worn. Inevitably, when the price is lowered to what the market will bear, the house sells for less than it would have had it been properly priced at the very beginning. More often than not, when a property is overpriced to begin with, the home seller eventually ends up with less, the REALTOR® ends up frustrated, and only the buyer ends up smiling . . .

Pricing a home should be determined not by how much you want to realize from the sale of your home, but rather from a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA). Have your REALTOR® do a CMA, or redo one if it has been several months. If you are not competitively priced, adjust the price as quickly as you are able. Don’t wait!

And don’t blame your REALTOR® if you have not been listening to his/her advice about reducing the price earlier. As your agent, your REALTOR® wants to sell your home at the highest possible price. A REALTOR® has no reason whatsoever to under-price your home. His/her commission is based on a percentage of the sale price of your home. Less for you means less for your REALTOR® as well.

Working with a REALTOR® is the best way to ensure, given market conditions, the quickest possible sale of your home at the highest possible price. In a slow market, listen to your REALTOR®’s professional advice. That’s what you are paying him/her for. It will profit you in the end.