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7 Likely Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

1. The price is too high

When it comes to reasons a home isn’t selling, “If it’s not condition, it’s always price,” says Bill Byrd. “And in fact, it’s usually always price.”

Pricing a house too high is a common mistake: according to HomeLight’s Q4 2019 Top Agent Insights Report, nearly 50% of agents found that resisting the temptation to overprice is the biggest challenge sellers face.

Pricing a home for sale is tricky. There are a lot of ways to slice the data to determine your home’s fair market value. And while data, usually from sales of comparable homes in the area, is important, a top agent’s experience can be invaluable when building a pricing strategy.

“My job is to position my listings to where they sell in the first 30 days,” says Byrd.

How do you know if your home is priced too high? If you priced the home yourself, consult a real estate agent for advice. A top agent should be able to tell you at once if your asking price is too ambitious.

Another way is to listen to the feedback you’re getting from people at open houses and showings. You can even just browse local listings. If your home is priced higher than comparable properties in your area, your problem is probably price.

One strategy I use to help you understand what Buyers are willing to pay is I conduct a post viewing survey that simply asks, "What would you pay for this home?"

What’s the fix?

Time for a price drop. “I don’t think you should go more than three weeks without doing a price reduction,” says Byrd.

And while it’s no fun to realize your home isn’t worth what you thought it was, you’re not alone. In 2019, 40% of sellers reported reducing the asking price of their home at least once, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

So how much should you drop the price? “You don’t want to be the house that drops the price a thousand dollars every week,” says Byrd. “I’d say a significant price reduction will get the job done.”

2. Your home doesn’t fit the mold

The 30-day rule doesn’t apply to everybody, however, some properties have features that make it more difficult to find the right buyer.

“I either think you have a unique property, or a property that is relatively easy to sell,” explains Byrd. Unique properties—like very large homes, very high-end or expensive houses, homes in unusual areas, or just homes with odd or unusual features—take a little longer to match with a buyer, and that’s okay.

For example, Byrd explains, a recent client was trying to sell a $3 million home that had a long staircase and no opportunity for a lift or elevator. Every time we got close to a buyer, the female convinced the male buyer to walk away - no high-end buyer wants to carry groceries or trash up and down stairs in a high-end home. So, this narrowed the potential buyers, even though the home was amazing.

To sell such an unusual home, Byrd had to change strategy, finding ways to help buyers picture themselves in the space and suggesting possible upsides: this included full interior paint job, trendy paint accent on the exterior, moving out the home owner, staging the home and the backyard. In the end, a young couple with young children bought the home. They loved it so much, the family was willing to overlook the daily workout.

What’s the fix?

First of all, patience. If your home is unusual, you’re probably going to have to wait a little longer for the perfect buyer to show up. If you don't have time, you will need to compromise on price.

Second, make sure your marketing and advertising strategy is designed to appeal to the buyer you’re looking for. Cast the unusual features of the home in the most positive light, and try to get your listing in front of the right people.

Selling an unusual home might require listing the property in places other than the usual online real estate sites. If there’s a specialty website, mailing list, local app like Nextdoor, or even print publication that could reach specific potential buyers, make sure to use it.

Think about what appealed to you when you bought the home—there’s gotta be another buyer out there who feels the same way. And if your main motivating factor for buying an unusual house was a rock bottom price? Well, there you have it.

3. Your staging is bad

It might seem silly—the buyer isn’t shopping for furniture, after all—but staging matters. “There is a difference between staged homes and vacant homes,” says Byrd. “Typically, a staged home sells for more money and it does sell in a shorter amount of time.”

In fact, 67% of top agents surveyed by HomeLight agree staged homes will sell for at least 1%-5% more, and 83% report staged homes get snapped up by buyers faster than those left alone.

Why? “The more you can let them picture their own stuff there, the better,” says Byrd. Unstaged, or worse, badly staged homes can seem cluttered, dark, and small.

While vacant homes have the problem of potential buyers not being able to really envision the space’s potential, homes crammed with too much of the current owner’s stuff feel cramped and overwhelming.

Incorrect staging can fail to show off your home’s assets or even worse, highlight flaws you’re hoping to draw buyers’ attention away from.

And staging isn’t just about decluttering and bowls of fruit, it’s also about fixing up the little things that distract people from your awesome home. Most buyers have trouble seeing past cosmetic issues like scuffed paint, floors in need of refinishing, or outdated fixtures. Honestly, they are calculating how much it will cost to make the home what they want.

What’s the fix?

Make little upgrades, paint, fix anything that’s broken, clean up your yard, and do a brutal decluttering pass.

Consider hiring a stager to help you show your home at its best. If you’re working with a top agent, they almost certainly have someone whose eye they trust: use that resource.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to spend a lot of money fixing up a house you’re selling, but little upgrades will often bring a huge return on investment.

And packing up a bunch of your things and sending them to storage or living in a home with furniture that isn’t yours might sound unappealing, but you can sell your house faster and for more. Hey, nobody said selling a home for top dollar is easy!

4. Your curb appeal is no good

Curb appeal is like the staging of the outside part of your home. It’s an old real estate chestnut, but the first impression a buyer gets from your house is important.

An ugly yard or run-down facade will turn people off. The last thing you want someone thinking as they walk up to your door is “fixer-upper".

While it doesn’t necessarily make rational sense that a few flowers would translate to thousands of dollars in purchase price, a lot of home buying decisions are done at least partially subconsciously, or by “gut.” Staging and curb appeal are part of that.

Hard to believe? The numbers don’t lie. Over 75% of top real estate agents across the country say that well-landscaped homes are worth anywhere from 1% to 10% more than homes with no landscaping. These same agents say that boosting curb appeal is the no. 1 thing you can do to improve the marketability of your home.

What’s the fix?

Upgrade your landscaping, get your grass a brilliant green, plant a few flowers, and fix anything obviously broken on the front of your home.

A professional landscaper or stager can help advise you on the easiest ways to make your yard look great. And hey, why not paint your door a trendy color? The right shade could help make the sale.

5. Your listing photos aren’t professional quality

44% of buyers look online before doing anything else, and 87% of buyers found listing photos very useful, according to NAR. If your listing photos don’t show off how great your house is, nobody is going to come in person to see it.

These days, a few poorly-lit iPhone shots just aren’t going to cut it: professional listing photos ranked as the most valuable website feature among 9 in 10 buyers under age 55, according to NAR’s 2020 Generational Trends Report, while another study shows top-notch photos can help your home sell 32% faster.

What’s the fix?

Hire a professional to re-do your listing photos. This is something your agent should have arranged for you at the outset, and one of the things your commission is going to pay for.

If your realtor doesn’t provide a photographer, it’s worth it to find someone yourself. It’s another instance where a little investment on the front end will deliver huge returns.

6. You’ve got a specific problem to address

Even if a showing doesn’t provide you with a buyer, it gives you something important: data. “Showing feedback is extremely important,” says Byrd.

According to Byrd, the questions your agent should be asking at a showing are, “What’s wrong with this home? What would need to change to make you want to buy this home?” If you’re getting the same answer from multiple people, you know you have a problem.

What’s the fix?

Once you’ve identified that there’s an issue, you can work to mitigate it. If multiple people seeing your house say it’s too dark, add lighting, declutter, or have windows un-cleaned.

If buyers are having trouble envisioning something specific—where to hang a TV in a living room full of windows, or how to fit a king-sized bed in a smaller master bedroom—you can update your staging to illustrate a solution.

Unfortunately, some things can’t be changed. If the issue is that you’re located on a busy street or the neighborhood isn’t as picturesque as buyers were hoping? “Price cures all,” says Byrd.

7. You’re getting bad advice

Almost everything on this list could have been prevented by working with an experienced agent at the top of their game. Your realtor should help with pricing, staging, and curb appeal, and should be taking charge of marketing and responding to feedback from showings.

Byrd shares a story of a potential client whose backyard she felt wasn’t private enough. His suggestion was to put up a bamboo fence and make some changes to increase the privacy factor. The seller ended up going with another agent.

“The agent who received the listing put it on the market, six months went by, and the home didn’t sell. The homeowner decided to rent it, and the renter actually damaged the home. So it cost the seller quite a bit of money to get the house back into the proper condition even to get it back on the market,” Byrd says.

“The homeowner called me and said, ‘You know, I really appreciated what you told me last year, and I’m really sorry that I didn’t listen to you. I think one of the big mistakes we made was not doing something to the back yard.’”

Byrd brought in his landscaper to help the seller make the recommended changes to the backyard.

“Actually, we received an offer within a week of putting it on the market,” Byrd says. A costly mistake for that seller, but a happy ending.

What’s the fix?

Make sure you’re working with an agent who is an expert in your area or the kind of home you’re trying to sell.

“Unfortunately, when you list with the wrong agent,” says Byrd, “You either end up taking a lot less for the home, or staying in it for another six months or a year.”

The top 5% of agents sell single-family homes for up to 10% more than average and quickly: take Byrds’ average of selling homes 77% faster than his peers.

It’s not too late to get that home sold.

With the right adjustments to your home’s price, listing, staging, or condition, it will sell. There’s a buyer for every home.

If you’re tired of making tweaks to your home and listing, you could also request a cash offer to skip the staging and showings. (Honestly, not everyone has time for it, and that’s OK).

Looking for a speedy home sale? Sell your house fast, like, right now. I have a network of 945 investors who will grab a property at a deal any day of the week.

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