Updated: Feb 8, 2019
So you've had your home on the market for six months and it still hasn't sold. What went wrong? Surely the house isn't that bad. I mean you bought it right? We'll here are the most common reasons homes don't sell.
1 - Non professional photos
It amazes me how many times I see cell phone photos in listings. Think of your own behaviors when looking at homes online. How long do you look at a home before moving onto the next one? It is more than a few seconds? That is how long you have to get someone's attention. That just won't happen with anything other than a professional photo that looks bright and amazing.
2 - The wrong agent
Not all agents are the same. The 80/20 rule applies to everything, including the efficacy of real estate agents. Your chances are that 4 out of 5 agents are not nearly as good as that 5th one. A highly effective agent will have a proven track record of results, work primarily in your area, know the market of what is selling in your neighborhood, have comprehensive marketing plan, and a regular communication process they can show you at the listing appointment. Most agents put you on the MLS, put a sign in the yard and wait. Make sure your agent shows your their plan and has testimonials to verify it.
3 - Low curb appeal
The moment a buyer drives up to your home they decide whether or not they enjoy that experience. Before they even set foot in the home they are already biased, good or bad.
If your home hasn't sold or has sat for a long time, consider updating a few key areas. The very first thing is to make the front door crisp and inviting. Repaint the door if necessary. Make the trim sharp and high contrast, and of course clean everything around the door so it looks as new as possible. Pressure wash the walk up and the front of the house. Remove old screens that make a house look dreary and wash the windows. A little greenery can also go a long way to warm up an entrance. Next consider the landscaping. You don't have to go overkill, but trimming hedges and updating some flowers and mulch can make a house much more inviting.
4 - Too much stuff in the home
Buyers want to envision their own lives in your home. The more stuff you have in it, the harder it is for buyers to do that. Instead of seeing their lives, they see yours. It's critical to enable buyers to do this, and that means less is more.
Remove knickknacks and extra furniture. Rent some storage if you have to, or at the very least move it all into the garage so the home feels bigger, open, and ready for a new buyer.
5 - Not priced right
Everything can be fixed with price. It is still the number one reason homes don't sell. You can lower the price to make up for all of the work we just talked about. So to get the most for the home, make sure there is as little to do for the new buyer. If the home is over priced, it simply won't sell. Market's move weekly and sometimes daily. Be careful you are not chasing the market always just a little high for what the home should be priced.
Make sure you know if prices are trending higher or lower. Compare your home for the parts that buyers care about. You may have a big home, but with an upstairs master. If buyers are looking for downstairs master bedrooms, you will need to accommodate for that.
Seeing what goes pending every week in your neighborhood will be key to knowing what is working. Whenever another home near you sells, someone has likely seen your home and chosen the other one. A good agent will find out why so you can price accordingly.
Don't fight trends, use them.
Finally, how motivated are you to sell? If you have a price you simply won't go below that isn't in line with the market, you are just going to sit. Be realistic. If you are priced correctly, your home should sell in the average days on market for your neighborhood.
Get it sold
Your agent should be able to tell you how many homes are coming on the market and how many are selling in a month. This will tell you what percentage of homes sell each month. At the end of the day your home has to be in the top part of that percentage. Look at the home like a buyer and ask yourself if you would buy it again compared to what else you can buy. Make it look good, have the right value, and it will sell in the average time frame for your market.