if you’ve been asking yourself “why won’t my house sell”? I’m here to offer you some practical guidance as to why.
Selling your home is a huge event, both emotionally and financially. The frustration of a home sitting on the market for months at a time can be unsettling and stressful.
If we haven’t met yet, my name is Janice Thomas and I’m a realtor in the state of Utah. I understand the nuances of the real estate market and fully empathize with your frustration.
In this article, I’ll discuss 6 of the most common reasons your house may be sitting on the market longer than others, and provide actionable steps you can implement to find the right buyer at the right price, and at the right time.
"Why Won't My House Sell" ?
6 reasons with Solutions
Why it Overpricing happens
One reason your house may not be selling is because it’s priced too high. The asking price of your home is usually the first thing prospective buyers notice. Overpricing remains one of the most common reasons homes stay stagnant on the market. This has been especially true in the years following the pandemic of 2020 and 2021. During those years, interest rates were at historic lows, prompting a frenzy in the real estate market. Home sellers were receiving sky-high offers as a large buyer pool, eager to capitalize on the low rates, drove up home prices. However, the market has shifted significantly. Now in 2023, interest rates have more than doubled, narrowing the buyer pool and putting a damper on the once-sizzling market. If you’ve set your asking price to match the heyday of 2021, you’re likely to find that today’s more cautious buyers are unwilling to meet those expectations.
How to Mitigate Overpricing
A. Set a Realistic Price
Given the current market conditions, it’s essential to set a realistic asking price that aligns with the value of your home. One actionable step is to become a “shopper” in your own neighborhood. Understand that prospective buyers interested in your area are likely comparing your home with similar homes currently on the market and not the homes that sold in the distant past. To price your property competitively, you need to know recent sales and also what you’re up against in terms of active listings. Walk through some open houses in your city and neighborhood, study online listings, and get a feel for how similar homes are priced in your immediate area.
B. Seek professional Help
A good real estate agent can provide a comparative market analysis to help you understand how similar homes are priced in today’s market. This is a free service and can offer insights into how interest rates and other factors are affecting the local market. Setting the right list price from the outset increases your chances of attracting the right buyer quicker, rather than having your home sit on the market due to an inflated price.
2. Poor Presentation
A. Why Poor Presentation Happens
Another reason you’re house won’t sell may be poor presentation. Maybe you’ve been busy or lack the time to prepare your home to sell. While that’s understandable, you can’t expect your house to sell for top dollar if hasn’t been adequately prepared to sell.
Have you ever run across an old and dirty piece of furniture on the street with a “free” sign on it? Chances are you didn’t find it apealing nor did you stop to load it in your car (if you did-you’re my kind of people!). Take the same piece of furniture, clean it up nicely, stage it with some nice toss pillows and a fleece throw. Now it’s ready to compete and sell online alongside other nice couches.
First impressions can go a long way in the real estate market. If your home is in poor condition or lacks curb appeal it is likely to deter potential buyers from even setting foot inside. In a digital age where listing photos can make or break interest, a home that doesn’t present well in photos is at a big disadvantage.
However, if your home is in good condition it is likely to attract a better selling price compared to those that are not well-maintained. It is pertinent to point out that as a seller, you are within your right to refuse to prepare your home or make any repairs. If you choose to leave your home as is, be sure the price reflects the condition of the home. There are plenty of buyers who look for fixer-uppers priced under market value.
How to Mitigate Poor Presentation
if you want to maximize the chances your home will sell for top dollar, here are some suggestions:
A. Improve Curb Appeal
Improving your home’s curb appeal is often the first step toward making a good first impression. Simple touches like a fresh coat of paint, well-maintained landscaping, or even just some potted plants by the front door can make a big difference.
B. Remove Some Furniture
When it comes to furniture, less is more. I’ve seen many homes that are filled with large furniture pieces, giving the impression of a cramped space and a smaller house. An open space with some key furniture pieces allows shoppers to see the potential of the space and imagine themselves living in it.
C. Hire Professional Help
3. Inadequate Marketing
Why Inadequate Marketing Happens
You can put a For Sale sign on your lawn and list it on the Multiple Service (MLS). However, if the home isn’t adequately market it may not reach the right buyers. This is another common reason why you may be asking yourself “why wont my house sell”?
In a time where everyone is connected digitally, failing to effectively market your home could mean it goes unnoticed by a large portion of prospective buyers. Some sellers underestimate the power of a well-thought-out marketing strategy, relying solely on open houses or basic online listings. While these are good starting points, they barely scratch the surface of what’s possible and necessary in today’s competitive real estate market.
How to Mitigate Inadequate marketing
A. Tweak your marketing Strategy
An effective marketing strategy is more than just adding a link to social media or hosting an open house; it’s about a coordinated effort to showcase your property (as well as the lifestyle of your city and neighborhood) to the right buyer at the right time. Social media platforms can be powerful tools for getting the word out, especially through targeted paid advertising. Using high-quality images from your professional real estate photographer along with key details about your home’s best features, can make your posts shareable and engaging.
B. Identify Your Ideal Buyer
One of the first steps to effective marketing is to identify your target market. Are you selling an older home that might appeal to renovators? Or a turnkey property that’s perfect for young families? Knowing your audience helps in crafting a marketing message that resonates. This is particularly helpful if you’re using paid social media advertising.
C. Consider the Season
Consider the time of year. Seasonal fluctuations can impact buyer behavior, so adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. For example, highlighting a beautiful garden might be a selling point in the spring but less so in the winter.
D. Hire Professional Help
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good real estate agent in this process. A local agent should have an established marketing strategy, including connections with buyer’s agents and a strong online presence. Their services should include effective ways to market your home, from targeted email campaigns to featured listings on social media as well as popular real estate websites.
3. Unfavorable Market Conditions
Why Unfavorable Market Conditions Happen
Sometimes the reason homes don’t sell has to do with the market conditions. The real estate market is influenced by a multitude of factors that are often out of your control. Interest rates, economic downturns, or even a large number of similar properties for sale in the area can turn a seller’s market into a buyer’s market in a short period. In such scenarios, even well-priced and well-presented homes can stay on the market for a long time.
How to Mitigate Unfavorable Market conditions
A. Be Patient and seek to understand the market
Understanding the current market conditions is the first step in deciding the best course of action. While you can’t predict the market, control interest rates or the broader economy, you can adjust your selling strategy to better align with current trends. A good real estate agent can offer you invaluable insights into the local market, including the types of homes that are moving quickly and the kinds that aren’t.
B. feature the best and most unique parts of your home
If you find that the market is saturated with similar homes, focus on what sets your property apart and market those unique features aggressively. Whether it’s a newly renovated kitchen, a convenient location, or a beautiful garden, or a pool; highlighting these unique selling points can make your home stand out in a crowded market.
C. Consider your Timing
Timing can also be crucial. If possible, consider selling your home during a period when market conditions are more favorable. Spring and summer are busier seasons. This might mean delaying your sale or, conversely, speeding up your timeline to take advantage of a hot market.
D. Offer Buyer Incentives
Flexibility can be your friend. Offering various incentives to buyers such as closing costs or downpayment assistance can broaden the pool of potential buyers and speed up the sale process.
E. Consider a Price Reduction
This one is always tough but you need to be ready if the market calls for it. Regularly review comparable listings (sold and active) and be willing to adjust your listing price accordingly. If the market conditions dictate, be prepared to make price reductions to attract more buyers. While no one wants to lower the price of their home, understanding the current market value and being willing to adjust can go a long way in securing a sale.
5. Emotional Attachment
Why Emotional Attachment Happens
Selling a home is not just a financial decision; it’s an emotional one too. You’ve probably lived in your home for years, building memories and deep emotional ties. Unfortunately, this attachment can cloud your judgment and keep your home from selling quickly and for top dollar. Emotional attachment to your home may keep you from setting a realistic asking price or even negotiating terms. You might have ill feelings about the feedback you receive about your home or you may want to have a say in who buys home and what they do with it. It’s hard not to take things personally. So much so, that you might reject reasonable offers or refuse to make necessary improvements. So, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if your emotions could be the reason your home isn’t selling as quickly as other comparable homes on the market.
How to Mitigate Emotional Attachment
A. Recognize and Depersonalize
B. Listen to Buyer Feedback
Take feedback from open houses and buyer’s agents seriously, even if it hurts a little. The goal is to sell your home, and that may require making concessions you hadn’t initially considered. Pricing your home to compete with similar properties in the area can go a long way in securing a sale. Another effective technique is to become emotionally invested in your next home or your future plans. This shifts your emotional focus away from the home you’re selling, making it easier to negotiate more objectively.
6. Choosing The Wrong Agent
Why it Happens
Choosing the wrong listing agent is another reason why a home may stay on the market longer than necessary. An ineffective agent may lack the expertise, marketing skills, or motivation to actively promote your property. In a field where experience and network matter, an agent who doesn’t understand the local market or employ an effective marketing strategy can be a huge detriment to your home sale.
How to Mitigate Choosing the Wrong agent
If you’ve done everything you can on your part to sell your home and you suspect that your agent might be the reason your home isn’t selling, the first thing to do is to review the terms of your listing contract. How long are you committed to this agent?, What are the conditions for terminating the agreement? Once you have this information, you can decide on your next steps. Keep in mind that hiring a new agent won’t necessarily magically sell your home if one or more of the issues already mentioned were not properly addressed.
A. Talk to Your Agent and Bring up your concerns
Before firing your current agent, consider having an open and honest conversation about your concerns. Good communication can go a long way in solving problems and improving the marketing efforts for your home. If the agent is willing to adapt and improve, you might give them a second chance.
B. Hire a New Agent
If there’s no improvement after a reasonable period, it might be time to find a new agent. When selecting a new one, look for an experienced, local agent who specializes in your type of home and neighborhood. Check reviews, and interview multiple agents to find someone who understands your needs and the current market conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions during the interview process. Inquire about their marketing strategy, communication style, and track record. An agent should be willing and able to explain clearly how they plan to market your home, including utilizing professional real estate photography, video footage, social media marketing, and connections with other buyer’s agents.
C. You get what you pay for
While I understand you want to save money and net as much as possible out of your house, keep in mind that the cheapest agent is not always the best option.
A more expensive agent often brings more services, better marketing, and a larger network, which can result in a faster sale at a better price. A discount brokerage works with large volumes and may have less time for you and your transaction than a traditional brokerage.