Selling a home can be an incredibly stressful time for homeowners. Packing, moving, finding a new property – the thought of these can be daunting! The stress only continues to mount when a person lists their property and days, weeks and months go by without an offer.
There are endless reasons why a particular home might not sell, but usually it boils down to one of six reasons:
1. The price is too high. They say given the right price, people will buy and sell just about anything (property included)! And sure enough, the #1 reason properties sit on the market is because they’ve been priced too high. It’s important to hire an agent that does extensive background research to understand the local market and nearby comps to make sure that your property is listed at a competitive price from the outset.
2. Sloppy presentation on MLS. Most real estate listings are advertised to other agents and customers via an online system called MLS. Photos and other information provide prospective buyers with a snapshot of your property and usually inform whether they’ll want to go see your home in person. If your MLS listing lacks photos (or if the photos are blurry and posted sideways!) and if you don’t list all of the home’s wonderful attributes, you won’t catch as much attention. An MLS listing is the single most important marketing tool to sell your home—so take the listing seriously and present your property professionally, thoroughly and elegantly.
3. Curb appeal isn’t so appealing. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the home’s exterior because first impressions are everything! Many buyers won’t even bother stepping foot inside if they’re turned off by what they see outside. If your house is sitting on the market, take a step back (literally) and consider your curb appeal. Low-cost investments like mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, repaving the driveway and painting the front porch can add tremendous value and will set the stage for when buyers head inside.
4. Lack of home staging. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in your home, but it’s tough to do so if your home is cluttered or feels outdated. Start by packing up all of your personal belongings and putting away any pictures of friends and family. Keep rooms simple: add a coat of fresh paint and stage each room with modern furnishings to help them visualize life in what now feels like a clean and modern home.
5. Unwilling to negotiate. Sellers who have received offers but still haven’t made it through to closing might be setting unrealistic expectations or refusing to cooperate. Maybe you aren’t willing to come down on price, for instance, but would be willing to offer the buyer other concessions like putting money toward their closing costs or replacing outdated windows. Buying and selling real estate often comes down to the art of negotiation: find common ground to reach an amicable deal that still works for both you and the buyer.
6. Broader market conditions. If you’ve made it to this last point and thought, “but the reasons above don’t apply to me!,” it could be because of the broader market conditions. Real estate is highly cyclical: as we saw during the economic downturn in 2008, even the most aggressive sellers had trouble finding buyers. Today, market conditions have improved to what many consider to be a seller’s market. Similarly, real estate is seasonal. More homes tend to sell in spring and summer than fall or winter. If you’re having trouble selling your home, consider the broader conditions. In a buyer’s market and during off-seasons, reasons #1-5 above become all the more important to consider.