10 Reasons Your House Isn't Selling in Hot Market
Right now, the home market is at record highs, with mortgage rates at rock-bottom and demand through the roof. But sometimes, despite all of those things, a home just doesn’t seem to move. Why, when all the other houses are selling, does yours appear stuck? Here are ten reasons why your house is not selling in a hot market.
The Price is Too High (Or Too Low!)
Pricing is a tricky balancing act. Price it too low, and buyers might think there’s something wrong with it, as if desperate to get out of there. But price it too high, and they’ll see that it’s not worth the asking price.
When you’re looking to determine your home’s price, you need to go through four criteria: comps in your same neighborhood, an evaluation of the market, how much work went into the home, and the quality of the area. Your real estate agent should have the tools necessary to make the right decision, but sometimes they’re wrong (or you’re selling by yourself and made a mistake). It might be time to go back and look at your calculations and see if you’re at the right number.
It Doesn’t Have Curb Appeal
You know what they say about first impressions. The truth is that buyers will make judgments about your home within seconds of pulling up to the curb before they ever get in the front door. That’s why curb appeal is so important. If you have a little money to spend to make your home sell and can either renovate a bathroom or redo the exterior, the odds are good that it’s the exterior that will get you the most bang for your buck. If the paint is chipping, the siding is loose, a window is broken, or the yard overgrown, buyers may have decided against purchasing before they ever see that brand new bathroom.
Sometimes a house doesn’t sell because it’s kind of an oddball. This doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the house necessarily, just that it’s different. It could be a huge house in a neighborhood of small homes (or vice versa). It could be a very expensive house in an area of cheaper homes. It could be a perfectly normal house in a very unusual place. Or it could just be quirky, either in architecture, design, or interior. In these cases, there’s often not much you can do to fix the problem other than to wait for just the right buyer to come along. It can be tempting to just drop that price to a point where someone may overlook the quirks--and sometimes you need to--but often it’s just a matter of getting the right pair of eyes on the home, someone who will fit it like a glove.
It Needs Repairs
A home found in disrepair can be a big red flag for home buyers. If the house has visible problems, they will automatically wonder what hidden issues it has, too. And if it has hidden problems found during the inspection, you might get a lot of offers, but they back out before finalizing. You have to be honest: if your house needs repairs, you should fix what you can improve, and adjust the price as needed.
The Pictures Aren’t Great
Houses are selling so fast that they often get snapped up the moment their pictures show up online. But if yours isn’t among them, you might want to ask if the photographs are of the quality needed to get that home off the market. You don’t need Ansel Adams, but the more professional your pictures look, the better. Make sure that you’ve got well-framed photos that highlight all the good stuff, not the bad stuff (avoid showing your neighbor’s unsightly yard), and have enough pictures to give online lookers a complete view.
It Could Use Better Staging
As with curb appeal, there’s a ton to be said for the staging of the house. People want to be able to see themselves living there--not know that you, your kids, and your dogs are currently in the middle of a slumber party. If you have to live in the home while trying to sell it, it will be challenging to keep it clean for showings, but the better you can do, the more likely it is to sell. And there are endless lists of things you can do to make the staging better, from taking down personal photos to decorating more generically to rearranging the furniture. If you have questions about staging, ask your realtor or look online for tips because it matters.
The Appliances Are Old
As surprising as it might be, buyers put a lot of stock into a home’s appliances. They tend to judge the kitchen and the whole house by the age of the fridge and the stove. Part of this is unconscious--the house just seems out of style to them, or out of date--but part of it is that they wonder if the furnace is just as old as the microwave, or the air conditioner is as old as the freezer.
It’s Not Getting the Right Exposure
There’s a difference between a lot of exposure and the right exposure. You might have been in front of many eyes, but if you’re not in front of the right ones, you’re sunk. You want your house to get in front of those eyes, and you do that by targeting those ads. Use appropriately descriptive listings so that when people search for specifics, they find you. If you’re in a high-end area, you want to be on high-end websites. If the house is niche in some way--a massive garden or a garage that can fit eight cars--spread the word to gardeners and car enthusiasts.
It Smells Bad
As soon as someone walks in the door and takes that first inhale of air, you want the impression to be a good one. Some people use candles, other people bake bread, but the goal is to give off a pleasant aroma. This can be difficult if the house is old and has a history--if the owner was a smoker or had a lot of cats. Sometimes the answer is just an air freshener, but sometimes the answer is a deep clean and a then some.
You’ve Got the Wrong Realtor
A realtor is supposed to be on your team for this, all the way. They should be as motivated to get the house selling as you are. But if your realtor seems disinterested or gives you bad advice, maybe it’s time to find someone else. Don’t feel bad about this! You’ve got to sell your house, and the realtor works for you. You can rehire a new one at any time, and you should if they’re not doing their best work.