Why Isn't My House Selling?

Why Isn’t My House Selling? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong

After having a home sit on the market for a while with no offers, it’s common for sellers to begin asking “Why isn’t my house selling?” The truth is it could be one thing or a combination of things that are sending buyers in the other direction. Here is a list of things you may be doing wrong. Fix these issues and you’ll be much more likely to make it to the closing table.

It’s Overpriced

You can sell any house, in any condition, if the price is right. A fixer-upper needing $100,000 in renovations and repairs will sell if it’s priced accordingly. What about that home with the front porch view of the local power plant? It will sell too if it’s priced right. Seriously! The key is your home must be priced appropriately based on what comparable homes are selling for.

Don’t try to test the market by asking for more than your home’s market value, thinking you can always drop the price later and still get top dollar for your home. The greatest amount of buyer traffic and interest will occur during your home’s first 30 days on the market. That is why it’s so important to come out of the gate priced correctly.

If your home is overpriced, you’ll miss that window of opportunity and the days on market will begin to tick away. The longer your home sits on the market, the greater the risk of WWWTH. That’s when buyers begin to think “What’s wrong with that house?” When that happens, the chances of selling for top dollar are slim to none.

Solution: Work with a reputable real estate agent to determine the right list price. Your agent should prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for your home. This report will show what comparable homes have recently sold for in your neighborhood and how those homes stack up against yours. Your agent will use this information to estimate what your home will likely sell for under current market conditions. Remember, neither you nor your agent determine your home’s value. The market does.

Neither you nor your agent determine your home's value. The market does.Click To Tweet

It Needs Work

Most buyers are looking for homes that require little to no work. Although some buyers may be willing to take on a renovation, they will also expect your price to be discounted accordingly. If you want to get top dollar for your house, it will need to be updated and in move-in ready condition.

Solution: Take care of any repairs that are needed before putting your home on the market. Your agent can show you homes that have sold recently for top dollar. To sell your home for the most money, it will need to be comparable to those. If it’s not, you will need to discount your price.

Listing Photos are Bad

Today, 90% of buyers begin their home search online. First impressions are critical. With the click of a button, they can like your listing and save it as one of their favorites or they can dislike your listing and hide it from their search results. Listings with bad photos just won’t make the cut.

Solution: There’s a lot that goes into getting good listing photos. The best advice is to hire a professional real estate photographer to take photos of your home. You should also consider using a home staging company to stage your home. A well-staged home with professional photographs will stand out from the other listings online, leading to more views and more showings.

Buyers Can’t See It

Have you placed restrictions on what days or times your home is available to be shown? Do you require a lengthy notice beforehand? If so, you may be making it too difficult for buyers to come and look at your house.

Solution: Allow buyers to see your home on their schedule. Keep your house clean and clutter-free so it can be shown with little notice. It may be inconvenient for you but you can’t expect to get offers if buyers can’t see your home. Also, make sure you leave the property when your home is being shown. Buyers feel uncomfortable when sellers are present during a showing.

It Looks Old

If your home looks like it’s a time capsule from the ’70s, buyers may be getting turned off. Today’s buyers are looking for stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors, not harvest gold and shag. If your home hasn’t had any updates in the past decade, it may need some sprucing up to appeal to more buyers.

Solution: First off, give your house a good deep cleaning. Just because your house is old, it doesn’t mean it can’t be clean. A fresh coat of paint on the walls can make your home look newer as well. Use a neutral color such as beige or gray to appeal to most buyers. If you can only update one room, focus on the kitchen. If you aren’t able to do any updates, you’ll need to adjust your listing price. Buyers won’t pay top dollar for an outdated home.

Today's home buyers are looking for stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors, not harvest gold and shag.Click To Tweet

It Looks Too Much Like You

Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in your house. It’s difficult to do that when they are constantly seeing your things when walking through your home. If your home is giving buyers constant reminders that another family lives there, it could be making it more difficult to sell.

Solution: De-personalize your house by storing away family photos and personal items. Do the same with collectibles, sports memorabilia, and hunting trophies. These things may have special meaning to you but this isn’t about you. It’s about helping your buyer imagine their family living in your home. Have you ever toured a model home? That’s what you want your home to look like…like it’s just waiting for the buyer move in.

It’s Cluttered

Buyers want lots of space. Cluttered homes appear smaller than they really are and make buyers feel there isn’t enough room. If your home is cluttered, it could be causing buyers to cross your home off their list.

Solution: Buyers want lots of space, both for living and for storage. Empty out the clutter in your closets, garage, and basement. Having available storage space will make buyers feel like your home has room for all their stuff. Remove unnecessary furniture pieces to create the appearance of a larger living space. A crowded family room with a sofa, love seat, and recliner can look much more spacious by simply removing one of the items and rearranging. Consider renting a local storage unit to store items you want to keep.

It’s Dark

Good light is something nearly all buyers are looking for. If your house is dark and gloomy, that could be a reason it hasn’t sold yet. A bright, cheerful house will appeal to more buyers, and more buyers means you’ll be less likely to be asking “Why isn’t my house selling?”

Solution: Open up the drapes and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Trim back any trees or shrubs that are blocking the windows. Change out dark lamp shades for lighter ones and replace burnt out light bulbs. Dark rooms can also be lightened up by repainting with a light neutral color.

It Lacks Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is what buyers see from the street. Just like listing photos are the first impressions buyers have of your home online, your home’s curb appeal is the first impression buyers get when driving by your home in person. Homes that have little curb appeal are less likely to attract potential buyers.

Solution: Spruce up your entry. Add a fresh coat of paint to your porch and power wash your sidewalks. Consider repainting your front door with a bright color so it will “pop” from the street. Adding potted plants with vibrant colors and a new door mat will also increase your home’s curb appeal.

To sell your home for top dollar, you've got to have great curb appeal. It can make or break the sale of your home.Click To Tweet

It’s in a Poor Location

You’ve heard it before. The three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location. If your home is in a less than desirable location or if there is something nearby that is negatively affecting your home’s value, that could be a reason your home hasn’t sold.

Solution: Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to help your home sell when it’s in a poor location. You can work with your agent when developing the description that will appear on your listing. Since you know your neighborhood best, you can point out all the positives of living there. This can include things like community amenities and nearby recreation areas. Having this information in the listing may help potential buyers look past the negatives and focus on the good things about your neighborhood.

Most likely though, selling a home in a poor location will require a discounted price. As mentioned earlier, even that home across the street from the power plant will sell if it’s priced accordingly.

You Hired the Wrong Agent

Your home may not be selling because your agent took the listing even though they knew your home was unlikely to sell at your desired asking price. Why? Because they wanted to get a sign in the yard. Why? Because the yard sign is free advertisement for the agent. Even if your home never sells, the agent will likely get new clients not only from potential buyers, but from other homeowners in your neighborhood who are planning to sell soon.

Solution: If an agent seems like they will agree to whatever you say regarding price, consider looking elsewhere. A good listing agent will present you with local market data, recommend an appropriate listing price based on that data, and then defend their recommendation. When faced with a seller who insists on an unreasonable asking price for their home, they should decline the listing rather than take a listing they know won’t sell. The best listing agents are in the business of selling homes, not simply listing them.

Another reason your agent may be the problem is inadequate marketing skills. Some agents will simply put a sign in your yard, place your home on the local MLS, then sit back and hope it sells. That might have worked years ago but it doesn’t cut it today. Today’s buyers begin their home search online. If your home isn’t visible on the internet, it’s unlikely to sell. You need a listing agent who understands how to market your home so buyers can easily find it online.

Solution: Hire an agent with experience in internet and social media marketing. A tech-savvy listing agent will make sure your listing appears on the top home search websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. They should also have their own website with a local home search, have an active blog, and be found on popular social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

A tech-savvy real estate agent will make sure your home appears on websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

It’s unlikely your home sale is suffering from all of these problems, but having just one of them could prevent your house from selling. Price and condition are the two most common reasons a house doesn’t sell so address those first, then move through the rest of the list. Fix any issues your house has and you’ll likely find yourself shouting “SOLD” soon!

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Shawn Swisher

Shawn is an Affiliate Broker with Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you need help buying or selling a home in Knoxville or the surrounding area, just ask Shawn!
Shawn Swisher
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