Having Trouble Selling Your Home? Here are 7 Things That Might Be Hindering You
You are asking too much for it.
Any real estate professional or expert in the field anywhere will tell you – the number one reason houses don’t sell is the price. Many times sellers believe their home to be valued at a certain price either because of what they paid for it, or what another house in their neighborhood has sold for, or perhaps from an online real estate database estimate (for example, Zillow’s “Zestimate”) or pure and simple determination that they want x-amount for the sale of their home. Not to suggest that none of these factors could play a part in accurately determining the true value, however it’s imperative to remain unbiased. What you paid for it 15 years ago has absolutely nothing to do with what it might sell for now, because the market is always changing. An accurate valuation is determined not only by the market, but by the specific condition of your home (has it been well maintained, have you made any changes or additions, what specific features does your home include that would appeal to buyers, etc. etc.). As someone once so wisely stated, the true value of a home is whatever someone is willing to pay for it (and not what you’re willing to sell it for).
Your house has seen better days.
This doesn’t mean your house is a total dump. It just means that maybe there are some things that could use some attention that to a buyer would be a red flag. You might think, “Well it could be a great fixer-upper for the do-it-yourself types”, but let’s be realistic. Nowadays, most people live very busy lives, and while some enjoy a DIY style of living, the majority of buyers are looking for a place that’s “move-in ready” – a place that they can unload all their stuff and get on with the business of living their lives sans extra house-maintaining hassle. Don’t let this be a deterrent however. Sometimes all that’s needed is a good cleaning, or some landscaping to improve the curb appeal. Maybe change out some old fixtures like an ancient toilet, or give the grout in your bathrooms a good cleaning. If your house does have some major issues, those things should be dealt with (for example, a roof one storm away from caving in should be handled immediately!) but often times, some simple “sprucing up” changes the entire look and feel of a once “dumpy” home.
Your house isn't run-down, but it looks like it might be.
Water damage is a huge turn off to folks shopping for a new home, but if the leak that caused the water damage was repaired 10 years ago, make sure you take care of those left over stains! Little indicators of problems from the past will only look like problems period to the buyer.
There's too much "you" in the house.
One of the primary focuses of a home stager (someone who “stages” the house for showing readiness) is to remove those things that personalize a house to the current owners. The reason for this is that buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the home, and items like family photos, specifically-themed décor and so on can make it difficult for them to envision their own family or style in the home. To facilitate that process, try to remove as much of “you” from the house as possible – take down the bowling trophies and hunting treasures, pack away the wall collage of baby photos, take down the themed wallpaper or paint over the lime green paint and replace it with neutral tones that can work with all types of décor. As much as you can, create a space that offers potential buyers a blank canvas with which to imagine their lives within it.
You have too many limitations.
A common deterrent to a successful sale is the home not being easily accessible for viewing. Perhaps you are trying to sell the home without the help of an agent, or you live in another town. Maybe you want to always be present for every showing, but you’re only available during a couple hours out of the day. The reality is, if it’s incredibly difficult for buyers to schedule a showing, the house is going to be equally as difficult to sell. The best option is to list with a professional and let them handle all the leg work. It’s much less hassle for you and when you hire the right agent, they come with the expertise to sell your home in less time and for a better net take home for you! In addition, having your home available for showing as much as possible (and especially when you’re not there) makes for more showing opportunities which means a higher chance of the right buyer coming along.
Sometimes, the only reason a house isn’t getting any attention is that the pictures being used to advertise it don’t do it any justice. Low quality, unprofessional photos can make a house look small, dingy, and just generally unappealing. A good listing agent knows that the best marketing starts with professional photos.
Another marketing faux pas is the description – certain terms are a big turn off in the real estate world, but too many people don’t know what those terms are or that their property could be getting overlooked because the description sounds either too good to be true, or like you’re too anxious to get rid of the property (which signals to the outsider that maybe there’s something wrong with this property). Again, using a professional agent can really alleviate the stress of having to be a marketing wiz for a field that you don’t know much about aside from having bought a house yourself.
Your house is poorly located or poorly planned.
This is a tough issue, because there’s not much you can do to change the location or the layout of the house (that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg). However, if you’re able to be mindful of these issues, and you focus on those things which you CAN change (sprucing up the house and/or yard, applying a fresh coat of paint, hiring a professional to up your marketing game, etc.), you will find yourself in a better position to match your home with the right buyer.