5 Reasons Why Your House or Condo Is Not Selling

Updated on May 11, 2016
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Bo Kauffmann is a real estate agent with REMAX in Winnipeg, MB Canada. He is an avid student of social media and internet marketing.

Any Home Can Be Sold, if....

I always say that any house or condo can be sold in ANY type of market, if some or all of the conditions below are remedied. How many of these obstacles need to be addressed depends on the strength of your current real estate market. For example, if your home fails to sell in a really HOT SELLERS market, you might only need to tweek one of these conditions (quite often its price). In a strong buyers market, you may need to address several of these short-comings. Thruout the process, make sure you discuss your options, and buyers feedbacks, with your real estate agent. So lets take a look at the 5 reasons why your home might fail to sell:

1) Price

The listing, or 'asking price' of a home is often the most important reason why it might fail to sell. Think about it: Even in economic down-times or hard-hit areas (think Detroit) homes WILL sell if the price is low enough. Now I'm not suggesting that sellers give their home away at any price, but finding a balance between top-dollar and selling in the shortest amount of time is one of the skills a professional real estate agent will bring to the table.

Should you ask a high price and then work your way down, or offer the home at a bargain price and hope for a 'bidding war'? These are questions to be discussed with your agent.

Bidding War!

Hint: If you are trying to create a multiple-bid situation for your home (Bidding War), make sure you have hired an experienced real estate agent, who can advise you in this tactic.

2) Selling Your Home "As-Is"

The condition in which your home is seen by potential buyers is a major factor in it's sell-ability. In a super-hot market, this factor can often be ignored by home sellers, since, in their eyes, 'everything sells anyway'. So while a poorly updated, unstaged, and even 'dirty' home might sell in a hot market, the fact remains that it will take a little longer, and eventually sell for less money.

As a home seller, you are well advised to fix anything that is obviously broken (replace lights, paint walls, replace worn carpeting), and declutter/stage the home BEFORE it goes on the market.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression, so getting it right the first time is important. Here is a quick list of some cheap, but effective fix-ups for your home:

Cheap but effective fix-ups

1) Replace old-fashioned lights with new halogen or LED fixtures

2) Replace worn and torn carpeting

3) Paint scuffed-up walls, and use modern colors

4) Declutter! Remove and store excess items.

5) Remove pets before showing your home

6) Use air-freshener, or bake some cookies or bread.

3) Trying to sell 'privately'

Want to save the commission? Who doesn't! But do you remember that old Fram Oil-Filter commercial: "Pay me now....or pay me later"? Selling your home privately may not cost you any commission....but it will cost you.


Either your home will take longer to sell, or it will sell for less money. One way or another, it will cost you. So selling privately is kind of like 'creative book-keeping'... you save money in the commission-column, but then make less money in the sold-column.

Why am I so sure: roughly 90% of buyers are looking for their next home with their own real estate agent. That agent is trained to get his buyers the best deal possible. If you (as the home seller) are on your own, who is looking out for your best interest?

Downsides of Selling Privately

4) Inadequate Marketing

In some hotter markets, this is often an issue. Sellers (and their agents) have become accustomed to the idea that everything sells, if it's listed on the MLS®. So that's all we need to do, right?


Not so fast: while studies have shown that somewhere around 97% of modern home buyers start their search on the internet, most of them do not limit their search to the MLS®. In fact, with new websites and marketing systems popping up weekly, buyers are searching everywhere, including social media sites (facebook, youtube) as well as search engines (google) and private sales sites normally reserved for yard-sales and used bikes (kijiji, craigslist etc).

Before you hire your real estate agent, ask him/her where they plan to market your property. Will they take first-rate pictures? Market it on social media sites? Do they even HAVE a website and social media profiles?

But the marketing failure does not stop there. Another version of 'Inadequate Marketing' is poor photos and description on the MLS®. Looking for a good laugh? Google the phrase "Poor Photos on the MLS" and see what pops up.

Everything from chalk-outlines of bodies on the living room floor, to bloody bathtubs, and reflections of half-naked owners seen in mirrors. Not how you would want your home portrayed on the internet!

5) Being 'under-foot' for the showings!

This mostly goes hand-in-hand with #3, trying to sell privately. Obviously as a private seller, you can't just turn your home over to any stranger who wants to come thru for a look. But some sellers are reluctant to leave the house even if the potential buyer is accompanied by a licensed and bonded real estate professional.

This is a mistake: The vast majority of buyers feel intimidated or too shy to really look around the home when the owner is right there with them. Buyers want the freedom to look around, open cupboards and closets, without being 'SOLD TO' at this early stage in their home-viewing.

So as the seller, LEAVE the house and allow the buyers (who are WITH a licensed agent) to look and examine the home freely and without pressure.

Which of these 5 factors do you feel is most important?

See results

© 2016 bokauffmann

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