Selling Your House or Condo?
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 tweak one of these conditions (quite often its price). In a strong buyers market, you may need to address several of these shortcomings.
Throughout the process, make sure you discuss your options and buyers' feedback with your real estate agent. So let's take a look at the five reasons why your home might fail to sell.
1. Wrong Asking Price
A home's listing or asking price is often the most important reason it might fail to sell. Think about it: Even in economic downtimes 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.
2. Selling Your Home "As-Is"
The condition in which your home is seen by potential buyers is a major factor in its 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
- Replace old-fashioned lights with new halogen or LED fixtures.
- Replace worn and torn carpeting.
- Paint scuffed-up walls, and use modern colors.
- Declutter! Remove and store excess items.
- Remove pets before showing your home.
- 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 their buyers the best deal possible. If you (as the home seller) are on your own, who is looking out for your best interest?
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 them 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 descriptions 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 through 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 and 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.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 bokauffmann