You have done your research; have signed a listing agreement with a Realtor; the “For Sale” sign has been installed in your yard or has been placed in your condo’s window and your Realtor has listed the house for sale on the local MLS for a while now… yet your house remains unsold three-four months later. You haven’t even had any real interest in the form of an offer. I’m pretty sure that by now you have been asking your Realtor why your house is still on the market and has generated no offers.
Before you start blaming your agent for not doing his/her job, here are some real answers to why your house will not sell:
You are not serious about selling – If some sellers who are just testing the market take the “For Sale” signs off their yard, real estate inventory would be at its normal levels today. In this market, instead of trying to see what your house is worth, you would be better off to wait for a less competitive market when you could see a more realistic value.
Asking price is too high – A home priced at its current market value is half sold. No matter the amount of full color ads, fancy flyers, multiple photos, virtual tours, broker open houses, newspaper, magazine and TV ads or Saint Joseph statues buried in the back yard will compensate for wrongly having listed your house at a higher than the market price.
You are not listening to your agent – Attorneys do not represent themselves and doctors do not self-diagnose. Professionals know better to always use other professionals. If your agent is a full time career professional, he/she usually knows what’s best for you. Listen very carefully.
You micromanage the marketing of your house – Just because you sold lemonade as a kid, clothing at Macy’s while in college or cars after college does not qualify you to second guess your agent. If you obtained a real estate license three years ago when homes were selling before the “For Sale” sign was installed, just tell your children about the “good old days” while having hot chocolate by the fireplace on a “cold” California night. You ought to share your concerns and your timeline with your agent, but please leave the details to the professionals.
You don’t stage the house – Someday shag multi-colored, sculptured carpeting will come back. Whitewashed cabinets, Navajo white walls, linoleum flooring, southwest décor, lots of personal photos and Elvis paintings on black velvet should be removed. And, oh by the way loose those Elvis sideburns.
You let dogs run loose – Recently, I entered a house and two small frisky, friendly dogs ran to sniff me. Until that day I didn’t realize that dogs enjoyed chewing on loafers or that they like to attach on legs.
You talk to the buyer prospects Yes I know, life can get lonely sometimes. Why not follow the buyers around and ask them where they grew up? Or what they do for living and how much money they make. Do they have a loan pre-approval letter from a lender? Why don’t you just tell them about that vacant rental that is available next door? Hey, you never know, maybe they would be available to babysit Junior next weekend!
You try to sell personal items to buyer prospects – Maybe the buyers who come to see you house want to buy that green patio furniture along with the matching umbrella, that recently bought lawnmower or that life size statue of Elvis. Hey, you only have a couple more boxes of those Girl Scout cookies left. Why not ask them for a donation to the Humane Society or to buy a ticket for your church’s annual golf event? Remember the saying, “loose lips sink ships?”
That smell – No, I’m not talking about the 70s hit from Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’m sure that your next dream home doesn’t smell of pet odors, baby diapers, curry powder, garlic, fried fish, incense or cigarettes. The buyers must be confusing the castle of their dreams with a track home.
You avoid buyer feedback – What do buyers know anyway? Imagine the fact they don’t appreciate my barbed wire fence, doors and windows with heavy security bars, my airport runway views, the light view from the power plant next door, the railroad tremors and my pet snakes.