So, your home did not sell, the listing has expired and now you are wondering, “Where do I go from here?” Well, unfortunately it is a fact that I am asked this question far too often. Personally, I enjoy working with home sellers whose home didn’t sell the first time. This opportunity gives me a chance to prove to the seller that not all agents are created equal. A compassionate and open real estate agent will listen to you and help to guide you in the right direction in terms of decision making. However, it can sometimes also be the opposite – yes, sellers can be somewhat difficult to guide, but it boils down to the reality – we are people working with people and if you are not being heard or you are not being treated the way a client should be, things generally will fall apart. Your goals as a home seller and the goals of your agent must be made clear and on the same page. Usually, it always is the same story either the agent didn’t perform well or the sale of the home was not a priority of the agent. Although there is a large number of “professionals” that probably should hit the books again, there is still hope!
My belief is knowledge is power and this holds true for my clients. At all times you need to be in the loop and if you feel that things are not going the way that they should be or could be, you need to be heard. Perhaps a new plan must be devised or some improvements to the home must be made. At any rate, these conversations must be had and if they weren’t, all we can do is move forward. As a real estate professional, my business is built on my goals which are buying and selling homes and providing my clients with top-notch level service. It takes a lot of work – work that I am not afraid to put in or admit to, but most of all it takes dedication and persistence on my part to market your home and get it sold. I would bet that by now you realize that my goals and yours are one in the same.
10 Reasons Homes Don’t Sell
Normally, homes that do not sell the first time have many things in common that set their fate right out of the gate. Here I will lay out the real reasons that homes do not sell the first time. My objective is not to bash or single out any agent or agency. The information below is based on factual data, real world examples and experiences that I have encountered. The reason behind this information is to educate consumers to make better choices, which like previously mentioned, is my number one objective when working with a client.
- Was your home marketed to a large audience? To the right audience? Go ahead, open up Google and search your address. Next, count how many websites your home was available to other than the websites of local real estate agencies (which pull that data automatically from the Multiple Listing Service or MLS). If you only come up with 2 (the big two), that isn’t “marketing”. When a home is listed for sale it needs to be put in front of a variety of audiences on multiple platforms, not just listed in the MLS with a sign planted in the front lawn.
- Was your home priced right? Even though you may feel that every dime spent on the bamboo wood flooring that you installed should yield a full ROI doesn’t mean that it will. Every home is unique and putting a value on it can be challenging, but an accurate and fair price is imperative if you are a motivated seller with goals to accomplish. Almost all homes that sit on the market for over 100 days with little to no activity end up expiring and not selling because the price was not accurate or competitive.
- Did your home have the best photos possible to accompany the listing? The photos taken of your home at the time of listing are crucial because this is going to be the very first impression that prospective buyers get online. Photos can always be updated, and they should be especially if you listed during winter and you are trying to get it sold during the spring months. Photos lacking life will make the home feel uninviting – even if you have amazing landscaping, if it is dormant you cannot see its beauty. Today the home search begins online and visuals sell. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey of home buyers, 89% of buyers found photos to be useful in selecting the homes that they toured and bought.
- Was your home described accurately in the listing? At the time when a listing is taken, all pertinent information must be accurately included. It is very common that basic information such as number of bedrooms or bathrooms is incorrect! To take it a bit deeper, the square footage is a reflection of how much house your home is and whether it can support a growing family or a newly married couple. If your home was not measured to show the sizes of each room, or the number of rooms was incorrectly entered (yes, I am serious – I have seen it many times) you will completely miss an entire audience when they are shopping for homes.
- Is a buyer able to imagine themselves living in the home? Rarely do the seller and buyer have the same tastes for home decor. Even further, it is difficult to imagine yourself (as a buyer) living in a new home if you can’t picture your family living there. Since you are planning to move, save yourself some time and start packing some of the family photos and keepsakes. Years of accumulation can be kept neatly throughout your home while you are living there, but it is worth the effort – however weird it may feel – to remove some items while you are attempting to sell your home. It will help the prospective buyer psychologically envision their family in the home because as buyers walk through and check out the home, they are trying to picture which child will be in which room and how their belongings will work with the new layout.
- Was the interior bright and clean-looking? If your walls haven’t seen fresh paint in recent years, it is highly recommended that you break out the paint brush and pick some neutral colors. Light and neutral colors (white, off-white and light tans) will brighten up a space and make it appear larger opposed to dark colors or too many colors. Also, if there are any imperfections in the drywall, a quick fix is to use an eggshell finish when selecting the paint.
- Did you choose the right agent? (See my article on Different Types of Agents for Sellers) It is important to understand in what capacity your agent will be working, but it is more important to know if the same agent that took your listing, who you also got to know, will be the same agent who holds Open Houses and does the marketing. Many agents today work in teams within their agency. The team will consist of agents who only perform a specific task, such as a buyers agent that only works with buyers or a listing agent whose only goal is to list houses. Administrative personnel will typically handle the mundane tasks that come with buying and selling real estate. Personally, I find the time to show my client’s home. If I list it, it is my baby. Sometimes I may request support within my agency for specific tasks, but everything from the listing to marketing to all representation of the client is handled by me.
- Was the curb appeal as good as it could be? Perhaps a simple revamping of the landscaping with some bright flowers, a trim of some shrubbery or removal of overgrowth add major attraction to your home in the eyes of buyers. Buyers today are as busy as you are. Not only will they be able to move into a freshly painted home, but to simply unpack and not worry about the outside right away is a major benefit. It is difficult during the colder months, but during the spring and summer it is important to maintain a lawn mowing schedule and keep the front of the house in a clean show-like condition. Also, could your gutters and siding use a pressure wash? This is a simple and inexpensive way to really brighten your home’s exterior and make it eye catching.
- Did your agent perform an open house? Open Houses not only attract tons of buyers via social media advertising (if this is done correctly), but the neighbors will know that your home is for sale and perhaps they know of someone looking to move into the neighborhood. (Did your agent even contact your neighbors to let them know your home was on the market?) Open Houses also give clients of a buyers agent the opportunity to check out homes on their own before having their agent set up an appointment. This is especially common when a potential buyer has taken a strong interest in your home and wants to fully understand the area before setting an appointment with an agent.
- Was your schedule getting in the way of showings? If your home was listed “by appointment only” and did not give reasonable instructions to show, this could be a major factor in why your home did not sell. Typically if a home is owner occupied, a listing will request a specific amount of time for notice to be given that a buyer wants to tour the home. However if your schedule makes it difficult for an agent to show it, then you are cutting your market down dramatically. Everyone is busy and it sometimes takes a lot of juggling to accommodate a last minute showing, but you also need to keep in mind that when a buyer is excited about your home, chances are they are excited about others – especially a first time home buyer. Making every effort to show the home in a timely manner will greatly increase your home’s ability to sell.
There could be other factors working against you and the sale of your home, but like I mentioned before each home is unique and must be showcased as such. By making a few simple changes that may not have been obvious or explained before could make all of the difference in getting to where you want to be. Everyday I help many home owners whose home did not sell and I would be honored to do the same for you. If you’d like to have a consultation to see how a strategic home selling plan can work for you, please Contact me or give me a call at 732-930-4290.