Homeside: Your Modern Mortgage Blog

8 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

Posted by Mikey Rox on September 12, 2015

You’re ready to pack your stuff, buy a new house, and start the next chapter in your life, but there’s just one problem — you can’t sell your current home.

Maybe you thought it would only take a few weeks to find a buyer. So you’re dumbfounded when weeks turn into months, and it doesn’t help that there’s a “for sale” sign in your yard serving as a constant reminder that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

It’s easy to blame low traffic on the housing market. But if your local market is poppin’ and similar properties are being snatched up left and right, the problem isn’t the market — it’s your property. The sooner you wake up and smell the coffee, the sooner you can find a buyer and move on with your life.

Can’t put your finger on the exact problem? Here are eight possible reasons why your home isn’t selling.

1. You Think You Have What It Takes

The idea of paying a realtor 6% commission can make you cringe, especially when you need as much profit as possible for a down payment on your next home. Just know that FSBO’s aren’t the right choice for every seller.

It takes time to market a property. If you don't know anything about real estate or your local market, you might price the house too high or underestimate the importance of making your home accessible. The reality is, you might have better luck with an agent, although you’ll walk away with less cash.

A real estate agent can check the local comps and choose the best listing price. And since some realtors work full-time, they can show your property at different times of the day and on weekends for maximum exposure. If you're selling the property yourself and you work full-time, you may only be available at certain times, which can cause you to miss out on showings.

2. You Don’t Want to Reduce the Price

Yes, you take great pride in your home, and maybe you put a lot of time and money into its upkeep. So you think your house is worth a certain amount. Unfortunately, what you think your home is worth might be unrealistic based on the area. 

Your mouth might drop if you want to sell the house for $250,000, yet your realtor recommends an asking price of $230,000. It can feel as if you're giving your house away, but your agent knows the market better than you. You can ignore his advice and choose a higher price tag, but the property isn’t going to sell as long as there are similar properties with lower prices.

3. You Haven’t De-personalized the Space

This might seem like a minor thing, but it’s a big deal to buyers. As they walk through your home, they want to picture themselves living there and hosting family gatherings or game nights with their friends. This is hard to do when there’s too much of “you” in the home.

You might be able to speed this entire process by de-personalizing the home. Remove family photos, knick-knacks or souvenirs, and high school or college diplomas. Also, make sure your decor is neutral and less reflective of your personal style. You might love country decor, but this won’t impress a buyer who prefers modern designs.

5. You Need Better Photos

Some homebuyers begin their search online by visiting different real estate sites and earmarking properties they want to tour. A picture can speak a thousand words; and a good photo online can be the difference between a buyer scheduling an appointment to see your house and clicking away.

If your online photos don’t present the house in the best light, buyers will look away without giving your property a second thought. Ideally, you want professional photos. But if you have to take the pictures yourself, make sure there’s enough light and remove clutter. Don’t keep a lot of personal items on your tables or kitchen counters, and put oversized furniture in storage to maximize the space.

6. You’re Not Offering Anything

The local housing market might be competitive, but you can build interest by offering incentives. Depending on what you can afford, offer to pay all or a portion of the buyer’s closing cost, or offer other incentives like a $2,000 credit as decorating allowance or a one-year home warranty.

7. The House Needs Work

Don’t think a buyer won’t notice an old water stain on the ceiling or badly stained carpet. You don't have to update every single room, but if your house needs obvious work, it's worth investing the time and money in improving its appearance. And since it’s easy to overlook flaws in our own houses, get a second pair of eyes. Ask your realtor or friend for their thoughts on the home’s condition.

Some buyers don’t want to spend a lot of time renovating a house, and some first-time homebuyers don’t have money to spend on upgrades and repairs. They want to unpack and settle in. The less work they have to put into a property, the better.

8. You Hang Around for Showings

You know your house better than anyone. So you’re the best person to answer questions about the property, right? This might be true, but sticking around for showings can be the kiss of death when you’re trying to quickly sell a home.

Potential buyers want to give the house a good look, and they can’t do this with you looking over their shoulders. You want them to feel as comfortable as possible so they can walk in your closets, open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, measure the rooms, etc. Trust that your realtor knows how to do his or her job, and exit the house before a scheduled showing.

Did you have a hard time selling your house? What did you change to improve your listing? Let me know in the comments below.

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