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Why Is My Home Not Selling

Why isn't your home selling? Your real estate agent should be able to tell you what the average time is to sell a home in your neighborhood, and it does vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.  However, there are many things that you can do to give your home the best opportunity to sell before others in your neighborhood.

It all starts with your real estate agent.  Here are a few warning signs you should be aware of when interviewing and choosing a real estate agent. 

1.  Your agent should be willing to tell you things that need to be done to your house or to hire a designer to tell you what you should do to get your home ready.  We will deal with some of that later.  Don't be insulted, remember this is a Business transaction so try to get your emotions out of it.

2.  Your agent should not be willing to take the first price that you want to price your home at.  They should be able to back up the price with current comps from your neighborhood.  Be very wary because over pricing your home can cause your home to sit on the market for a very long time and cause you to take a steep discount in order to sell your home.  The first 3 - 6 weeks are critical to selling your home and if you over price for that window of time you could be in for a long wait.  Also the agent will then beat you up for price reductions  and you will end up where the correct agent told you to sell your home at.

3.  Beware of the agent who wants to take a long listing agreement.  That is a sign of an agent who is willing to give you a price that will take a long time to sell and also of an agent who will not be honest about the things that need to be done to your house in order to give you the best chance to sell your home.  (In contrast I take a 90 day listing period - to motivate me to sell a home as fast as I can - and if need be and sellers are happy with me we extend the listing period)

Other reasons homes do not sell:

1.  Clutter and Clean up - Our market statistics have shown that homes that are clean and decluttered will sell an average of 30% faster.  I think this is an understatement, especially with the  current state of our market.  With so many houses on the market (a high inventory) there are too many choices and a clean decluttered home will show much better and allow buyers to dream about how they could live in the home.

    So first off remove all pictures and magnets from your refrigerator.  Remove everything you can from kitchen counter tops except a bowl of fresh fruit and a couple other items.  Go through your house and remove clutter from mantel pieces, book shelves, dressers, and other flat surfaces.  Take down some pictures if you have a ton of family pictures.  These steps will make your home look more spacious and allow buyers to see how they could live in the house and not feel like they are intruding on someone else's house.  If you need help hire a designer or work with an agent who will bring a designer into the house for you.

2. Updating - 90% of buyers want to buy a house that they can move into without having to do a thing.  You may have ideas since you've lived in the house about upgrades that could make the house much better.  Most buyers do not have the ability to look past what is in the house.  Think about what you will be looking for in a new home (granite, wood or tile flooring, new appliances).  Spending a couple thousand dollars could net you ten to fifteen thousand after its all said and done.
    What does this mean for you?  First off fix all those little items that need to be fixed and you've been putting off for years.  These small items will glare out to your buyers and their agents.  If you've got a blue tub and pink tile or linoleum in your bathroom it could be time for an upgrade.  For a few thousand dollars you could make that bathroom a stand out room and increase the price you can get for your home.  Talk to your Realtor because you don't want to over improve for your neighborhood.  Some key words in advertising have been proven to sell and it shows what people want.  Granite, Corian, Maple, and State of The Art.  Our Stats show that the Kitchen and Master bath are usually the most important rooms in the house, so if you are working with a limited budget, start with improving these rooms.

3.  Marketing your home - Statistics show the 82% of buyers are looking on the Internet before they talk to a Realtor, mortgage broker, or anyone else about buying a home.  Research also shows the importance of photos.  Homes with 6 or more photos online will be viewed 20 times more than those with less than 6.  Virtual tours give even more visibility and then your listing becomes a showcase or featured listing and  adds significant value for you.  Make sure your real estate agent does all those things. 

Real estate sales is a numbers game, the more people you get to look at your home the higher chance you have of your home being sold.  That means Open Houses, Broker Opens, and showing to every possible person no matter how inconvenient to you. 

Also, make sure you have great flyers in your home.  If a buyer looks at 8 homes in a day and is going back through all the flyers late that night, you want yours to stand out from the crowd.  Do bullet points instead of paragraphs.  Short, sweet, and to the point is what keeps people's attention, not long, drawn-out paragraphs.

These few but very important things will make a big difference to you as you put your home up for sale.  Just remember this is a business transaction, you are packaging a product for someone to buy.  Think about it this way and keep your emotions out of it.

By Diane Tuman

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  • Last edited October 12 2012
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