Why Isn't My House Selling In A Sellers Real Estate Market?
Many cities across the country are experiencing the hottest real estate market in years as the pandemic, low-interest rates, and tight housing inventory have created the perfect storm! We have all heard the stories about friends who put their house on the market and sold it in less than a week for thousands of dollars over asking.
So you decided to list your house to take advantage of this unprecedented market, and you got a ton of traffic. It is showing and showing, and showing some more, but you have not received a single offer. That means it is time to make some changes, especially if it has been on the market for 30 days or more.
The fact is, even in this market, some homes linger on the market for weeks or months, while the house next door might go under contract in days.
In a hot market, the rule is, if you have not gotten a contract after six showings, it is time to reassess. The answer almost always comes back to one of two variables: price and/or condition (although marketing can also play a role.) However, there can also be other factors to consider.
In this post, we will look at ten reasons that your house might not be selling, even in a hot real estate market.
First, Address the Basics
The factors that move real estate are price, condition, and marketing. As a general rule, if your home is not selling, it is probably how the property is priced or the way it is exposed.
Today, marketing should embrace a combination of traditional marketing like listing on the MLS and print advertising and digital efforts like email marketing, web-based marketing, and social media, among other digital tactics.
When it comes to real estate marketing, professional photography and easily accessible information can certainly help. But it also relies on your real estate agent knowing your neighborhood and the local market.
Today, eighty-four percent of all homes are on a lockbox, and most prospective buyers never meet the listing agent. A few years ago, the selling agent would meet you at the property, making sure the drapes were open, and the house looked bright and inviting before anyone walked in. Today, not so much.
Along with marketing, price is also crucial. Many sellers in a market like this will price their property based on what they want to get rather than what comparable homes in the area are selling for. You need to price your property based on facts, not fantasy. Buyers today are savvy and have access to a ton of information. They are educated and have access to websites, apps, and online home valuation tools, so they know what a home is worth before they step through the door.
While a home that is not updated will sell, the price needs to reflect the condition. If it is priced anticipating that it will need updating, buyers will not be scared away. Even in a seller's market, the basics apply. Removing clutter, sprucing up your curb appeal, opening the blinds, having an active agent, and using professional images in your marketing will help it sell faster.
While the basics are often the place to start, there are other reasons that your house may not be selling in a hot market.
10 Possible Reasons Your Home Is Not Selling
Price, condition, and marketing are excellent places to start if your property is not selling. However, sometimes there are other factors to consider. Here are ten reasons why your home may not be selling even in a hot real estate market.
1. You're Overconfident
Just because we are in a hot real estate market does not mean that your house will get snapped up for a premium, no matter its condition. Of course, it might, but you should not count on it.
Be realistic from day one. Although you may love your house, it may sit on the market for quite a while, no matter the market. Start with the basics and position your property well.
2. Your Home is Uninsurable
This is especially true in some states like Florida, where you can't get homeowner's insurance without inspecting the electrical, plumbing, roof, and cooling systems. Even in other states, companies can refuse to insure a home that does not meet basic standards. This can reduce your pool of buyers to those that can afford to pay cash and renovate to meet the insurance requirements.
3. Lenders Will Not Lend on the Home
The Federal Housing Authority has tightened the standards a home must meet before they approve a mortgage. Other lenders may set guidelines for the condition of roofs, electrical systems, or other components. If parts of the home are in poor condition, a lender may not be willing to lend.
4. There is a Problem with the Title
Title problems can spook buyers. For example:
- Conveyance without a recorded deed. (this can sometimes happen when transferred between family members)
- A paid-off mortgage that is still showing as a valid lien.
- A mechanics lien that a subcontractor filed for work done on the house.
Contact the title company before listing to make sure everything is in order. If not, ask them what needs to be done to prepare for selling your home, then do it!
5. Your Agent Just Does Not Seem to Care
Sometimes there is nothing wrong at all; your home is priced right and well-maintained. Maybe your agent is turning off prospective buyers. Some agents have no personality, and some are just plain burnt out. Find an agent who you find pleasant and interesting. Chances are, so will potential buyers. But, remember to dismiss your current agent before signing on with the new one.
6. The House Smells Bad
There is a saying among agents... "If I can smell it, I can't sell it." The remedy might be a simple as burning a scented candle or baking cookies during showings. But if there is a persistent odor, like mold or mildew, pet urine, or cigarette smoke, address it immediately!
7. Your Appliances Are Outdated
Stainless is in. Old yellow refrigerators are out! Potential buyers will realize that they can replace the refrigerator, but if your appliances all look like they were new in the 70s, buyers might wonder what else is old and on its last legs, like the HVAC or water heater!
8. Your Staging is Bad
It might not seem important, the buyer is buying a house, not your furniture, but staging matters more than you think! Staging helps potential buyers recognize the possibilities and put themselves in the home. They do not want to see your choices in art, or worse, a big empty u. The fact is, a tastefully staged home will sell for 1% to 5% more than a vacant or unstaged home. And they sell faster too!
9. You Have A Specific Problem to Address
Even if showings do not result in a sale, they can provide critical data. Buyer feedback is essential. Have your agent conclude their home tour with questions like "what's wrong with this home?" or "what would need to change to make you want to buy this home?" If you get the same answer from multiple people, you know you have a problem. Once you have identified a problem, address it. For example, if multiple buyers are concerned about fitting a king-sized bed in the master, update your staging to illustrate the solution.
10. You Are Getting Bad Advice
Just about everything in this post could have been prevented by working with an experienced REALTOR®. They should help you with staging, pricing, marketing, and curb appeal, as well as collecting data from showings and adjusting their game plan to reflect new information.
Unfortunately, working with the wrong agent can cost you. You may end up taking a lot less for your home, or it may stay on the market for months. The good news is, with the right adjustments to your home's price, listing, staging, or condition, it will eventually sell. There really is a buyer for every home!