The Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling and What You Can Do about It
Selling a home can be a daunting undertaking, and while you may be helpless to control the state of the market or the number of prospective buyers in your price range, here are a few ways to be proactive against some of sellers’ most common pitfalls:
Problem: Your home lacks curb appeal. The condition of your home inside and out is critically important to making a sale. If your home doesn’t show well, a potential buyer is going to head elsewhere. Most buyers are looking for a house they can move into without a ton of small repairs and cleanup.
What You Can Do: You’ve been meaning to fix that leaky faucet or repaint the fence in the front yard, so now is the time to do it! Of course, this should have been done when you decided to sell, but it’s never too late… De-clutter your rooms and store all personal effects. Consider investing in some new curtains, bath towels and throw rugs. To make sure that you nail that crucial curb appeal, spruce up your yard with new plantings, trim hedges and weed flowerbeds, and keep the lawn short and neat. Those minor repairs that you have been living with will add up in the eyes of a prospective buyer.
Problem: Location. Everyone’s heard that old maxim that real estate is all about “location, location, location!” But what do you do if you’re trying to sell a home on a busy street, or too close to a major highway?
What You Can Do: There are actually a few things you can do to increase your chances of a sale. If your home is on a busier street, highlight any benefits on the flip side—maybe your backyard is fenced in, your taxes are low or you can walk to a school nearby. Make sure you pay extra attention to those highlights. If you are in an area where your home is very close to a major highway, consider some type of privacy hedge or fencing. If you have older windows consider replacing them – the benefit will be two fold, you will have new windows as a selling feature and those new windows will provide a little more sound buffering inside the home. Last, consider selling at a time when the foliage is in full bloom to help naturally block sound or visual effects from nearby highways.
Problem: Your home is not easily accessible for showings. Are you getting a lot of showing requests that you are turning down? Many sellers make the mistake of not accommodating a buyer’s request for showings because requested showing times are an inconvenience to the seller.
What You Can Do: Try and remember that your home is a product for sale. Do whatever you can to cooperate with showing requests, even if they are last minute or on off hours. Make sure the house is always tidy while you are listed, so if you get a last minute showing you don’t have to run around spending hours cleaning. Do you have showing requests on a rainy Saturday? Take the kids to the museum. And if you get that 7pm showing request, take the family out for a bite to eat that night.
Problem: Your pet is an issue. Pet problems can go beyond the presence of an unfriendly pet barking or jumping on a potential buyer. Pet owners also need to go to extra lengths to make sure to remove pet hair, eliminate dander, and keep odor to a minimum.
What You Can Do: Yes, it’s extra effort, but you’ll reap the benefit of breaking out the lint brush, keeping the vacuum cleaner handy, and disinfecting areas where your pet has made a mess. Take your pets out of the house during showings or make sure they are crated. A potential buyer is there to view the home that is for sale, and should not have to worry what your pet is going to do.
Problem: Your agent is not aggressively marketing your property. Is your home listed in MLS and on public websites? Most buyers are shopping for a home online these days, so having an online presence is highly important. How well is your home being depicted in photographs and descriptions? Have you had enough open houses to showcase your home to the area brokers and to the public?
What You Can Do: First, consider the questions above and assess your answers. If you are dissatisfied with how your home is being marketed, you may need to sit down for a brainstorming session with your agent. Make your concerns and your wishes known.
Problem: Your agent is not familiar with your area. Did you list your home with an agent from outside of your area? Do they know much about your market, the comparables in your neighborhood and selling features of the community? Does your broker have to come from far away to simply show the house?
What You Can Do: Listing your home with a local agent is critical. If your agent knows little about the market, the comparables or the community how can they properly position your property for sale? They may be missing important selling features of your home, such as close proximity to a certain coveted school, or the selling price of a pending comparable. If they have to travel a long distance just to get to your property, over time they may lack motivation to show your home.
Do your research. Selling your home is a partnership between you and your real estate agent. Be an active participant. If you can contribute knowledge and strategy to the process of selling your house, you’re less likely to be tripped up by the common stumbling blocks that can prevent a sale.