Having a listing that won't sell is one of the most frustrating situations for a realtor. For most of us, we already know what homes are going to be tough to sell, and if we are worth our salt in our profession, we are honest with our clients and tell them up front. Sometimes, the market trend pricing changes, too, and we cannot always predict that. Our frustration is nothing compared to the seller's head-pounding discontent each time he or she hears, "Sorry, no interest." That being said, it takes two to make a thing go right, right? Well, in this case, it takes about six things to go right so that we get to put that pretty little "SOLD" sign on your placard. If your house has been sitting a while, you may want to consider these few things:
The number one reason a house won't sell is price. Not everyone likes to hear it, but it's the truth. Let's face it, you've thought it, heard it, seen it, etc. "Let's put it a little higher to create 'wiggle room'." That typically only works in a seller's market, and quite frankly, most folks today are pretty savvy. They know what things cost, they know who lived there before you did, and heck, many of them know which dentist the previous owners used because their Aunt Susie who lived down the street uses the same dentist. We are living in an age of big technology and a little patience. If you really want to sell your home, price it fairly.
Supply exceeds demand. Simply stated this means there are a lot of homes on the market to choose from. It can be due to the increased production of new homes coupled with rising interest rates; therefore, buyers have the ball in their court...Or should we say, Goldilocks is in charge and it better be just right, or she moves on to the next bowl of porridge in a condo down south.
The Seller is Not Flexible
Ahhh, this is tough. It's not easy to sell your home; memories, conditions, timing, we know how hard it can be. As realtors, we deal with this stuff daily, but you as a seller often have rarely experienced this kind of crazy. Sometimes you just want to be left alone, timing doesn't suit, or the weather is bad and you don't want somebody traipsing through your house. We get it. But if you are constantly being obstinate, finding every reason not to be available to show the home, then there is a problem. Or you maybe just don't want to accept that you priced the home too high. If the market sales are showing you that you are in buyer's market, consider sitting down with your agent and discussing your options. After all, we are trying to sell houses, not just list them, and a home sitting on the market too long gives buyer's creepy thoughts. Keep it fresh and real.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about this. If your home is in a poor location, you may need to settle on a price that is less than you know it's worth. Flood zone properties are the first properties that come to mind here. The best we can do is give all the attention to the strong points of the home and never be dishonest about how much water the house gets or has ever had. There are many people who don't mind the flood zone and will be happy to peruse quality, well-cared-for homes in this area.
If your home is in need of obvious repair, the buyer is going to see that. In a buyer's market with plenty of competition, you need to up the ante and polish the problem areas. This may entail changing the neon green paint in the kids' bedroom, removing the shag carpeting and revealing the wooden floors (by the way, statistically, buyers love seeing the bare wooden floors, EVEN if unfinished. The first question my peeps ask if they see carpet, "I wonder if there's a wood floor under there?") Go ahead, have a carpet ripping party! Patch holes, clean carpets, fix spouting, tidy the yard, mend fences, you get the drill. Declutter as much as possible. The buyer needs to be able to see themselves in the home and that's not always possible if every square inch of the property is filled with your "stuff."
This is by far the hardest thing to tell a seller, but it needs to be said. If all the feedback tells me that your home smells like cat urine or dogs, then it's my job to tell you. There are some reasonable ways to approach this, but ultimately, if you are a pet lover like many of us, the smell is going to be there unless you do some drastic changes. Ripping up the carpet and using throw rugs is a very big change that helps. Burning scented wax in burners, baking cookies before a showing, sprinkling essential oils in doorways, and lighting candles are easy ways to cover animal smells. Washing curtains or throw blankets will help as well. Cigarette smoke is pretty much going to kill the deal for non-smoking people. You need to know that going in. Are you willing to repaint and not smoke in the home during the time on the market? If yes, then you just increased your potential buyers in the pool. It's really about how motivated you are to sell.
Rebecca Noviello~ The Market Real Estate Group