9 Reasons Why Homes Don't Sell & How to Avoid These Mistakes

1. Not using professional photos

Professional photos should be the norm, not the exception, in this industry. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Listings that are advertised with top-level professional photography sell for more money and in less time than listings that are not presented in their best light. The key to getting top dollar and selling quickly is differentiation. How do you differentiate?  The simplest answer: Better photos than your competitors. Top-notch photos = more page views on all media = more interested buyers = more showings = more offers = higher probability of a multiple offer scenario = more money.

2. Price

OK, it is a sellers market. Keep in mind that today's buyers are educated. Value is based on what other buyers have paid for similar products recently, and everyone has the same access to the information that you will use in your pricing strategy. Pricing significantly above the market (in fantasy land) will result in your house sitting on the market for an extended period of time. Don't just assume that offers come in at a certain percentage under list price and price accordingly.

3. Price bracketing errors

People search under certain search parameters when they search online. For example: Homes in Allentown, Pennsylvania priced between $350,000 and $400,000. If you are priced at $401,000, you won't show up in your prospective buyer’s search. A more common mistake is what I like to call "the one dollar mistake." A common search might be 4+ bedrooms, 3+ bathrooms, priced between 450K and 500K. Or maybe the same search but between the prices of 500K and 600K. If you price at $499,999, you showed up in only one of the two above searches. Maybe this price is at the low end of the buyer's search and maybe it is at the high end. If you price at $500,000, you show up in both. This is because searches include the low search field and the high search field. Pricing on the edge of any price bracket (5K, 10K, 25K, 50K, 100K, 1M) will allow the listing to show up in more search results. Analyze who your prospective buyer will be and how to effectively price bracket to reach the most people and get the highest price. 

4. Not doing your homework before putting the home on the market

Many real estate agents and most FSBO sellers fail to check to see if there are any open permits, violations, or additional liens on the property. Clouds on title should be found in advance and cured before marketing. If you don’t do all research in advance your deal can fall through at the 11th hour.  For some unfortunate sellers who wing things on marketing and with their escrow, the deal ends up falling apart at the last minute after they have already moved out of the house and arranged to buy a new home.  

Have your attorney or Realtor guide you in the right direction to do your due diligence on your home before putting it on the market.

5. Not prepping for market

Please, please, please prep your house for market BEFORE it goes on the market. This is required unless you want to price at a discount. If you are hiring a Realtor to sell your home, make sure that they coach you on what projects will have the highest return on investment and which small touches will differentiate your home from the competition. Many people choose to list their home “as-is.” Listing as-is should be an option that you choose, not just “the way” because your Realtor told you to get the house listed quickly. Differentiating your home is how you will get more buyers that saw your house online to want to schedule a showing. Small repairs to improve curb appeal and make your home show at a 10+ can be done cheaply. Others are not as inexpensive, but give huge returns on your investment. You don’t have to differentiate on price. If your house presents better than the competitors, you are more likely to see multiple offers.

6. Not staging to sell

Think about a home’s presentation through the eyes of a prospective buyer. For buyers, it is easier to visualize the property as a future home. Buyers are more willing to walk through the home that they viewed online after seeing photos of the space that shows oh so well. Focus on presentation will positively impact the value of the home if it is decorated to buyer tastes, and buyers will be more willing to overlook other property faults.

7. Realtor thinks he/she know how to market on social media, but actually has no clue

If I had to give you my best guess regarding how many Realtors or sellers know how to market on social media effectively, I would say less than 1 in 20 know what to do. The majority of agents have very few sales that they made from a direct social media advertisement.

Few actually boost their posts or ads (paid advertising). Most of them put too much information online, and the potential buyer has no reason to get more details from the Realtor. The strategy would be OK if the property sold itself, but hardly any properties sell themselves.

One of the most important things to do is not to give all of the information in the ad. Think of it like a movie preview that teases the buyer into contacting the agent for more details. 

The reason you want the customer to communicate with you is because you have a much better chance of answering questions and giving the benefits of this particular home. If your Realtor is a pro at social media advertising, he/she will know everything about who the most likely buyer to target.

An example would be to advertise to 35-44-year-old females in a section of town that often upgrades to move into your neighborhood. If you know exactly who the most qualified buyer is, the chance of getting a home sold is much greater. Bottom line, interview agents and brokers until one proves that he/she knows exactly what they are talking about. 

8. Hiring a family member or friend without interviewing other agents to see who is most qualified to do the job

More than ninety percent of all Realtors do the same thing - put up a FOR SALE sign, enter the home on the MLS, maybe promote the home on a bunch of websites because their broker has a Listhub account, hold an open house, advertise ineffectively on social media, and make a brochure for the home. And that is the best case. Most Realtors engage in PPP: Post on the MLS, Put a sign in the yard, and Pray.

In a seller's market, doing these things will likely get your home sold, but not for top dollar in the least amount of time. If the seller is lucky enough to sell the home using these techniques, the length of time for the sale will usually be much longer and the net proceeds will be lower.

Interview Realtors until an agent is found that has a marketing plan with proven results and testimonials for happy past clients.

9. Poor accessibility to view the home

If a buyer agent is scheduling four or five showings for his client in an afternoon and a home isn’t available to be seen with the others, the odds of that real estate agent to come back on another day just to see that home is highly unlikely.

Sellers should do what they can to make the house show-ready at all times and have a plan that allows the home to be viewed with just a little notice. Make sure that your agent has a system in place to coordinate showings. Ask if they use showing services or some kind of system greater than themselves so that if they are busy, as many Realtors are, there are no hold-ups in coordinating showings.

Bottom line folks: Interview agents to make sure they have a system to sell your house. Make sure they have a proven track record. And it always helps to make sure to see testimonials from past clients.

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