Why Isn't My House Selling

Houses that would have sold in a day or two have been sitting on the market, sellers are reducing prices, and with the shortage of available homes, people are wondering, “Why?”

It starts with realistic expectations. The average days on market is longer this year than last, and many houses are selling below the asking price. So be aware of the current situation, and be prepared.

If your house isn’t selling and you aren’t getting offers, look at the price. How does it compare to other houses in your price range? Does it need touch-up paint or repair? Are the furnishings dated? What would you need to do to your house to bring it to the standard of the others in your range? You may think “it’s just a coat of paint” but the buyers think money, time, and effort, and that has a price. So be sure your house is either in great condition and staged, or priced at the low end of the range taking into account the cost of repairs plus effort.

Second, examine the marketing. National companies provide much greater exposure for their listings than regional brokerages. With nearly 90% of the buyers starting their search on the internet, and many from other states searching before they have even visited here, it is imperative that your house is featured on as many websites as possible, like the company site, Realtor, Homes, Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, MSN, WSJ, SF Gate, etc. Your agent should be able to tell you how many hits your house has had to make sure you are reaching the right market. You should be able to easily find your own house by searching online. An address-specific URL is less important, because buyers don’t look for houses that way. They need to find it on the general sites. If you can’t find it on those sites, your exposure must be adjusted.

Third, how is it being presented? Did the agent take the photos or a professional? Were they taken at the best time of day to make your house appear light and sunny, with lights on and windows sparkling? How do your online photos compare with your competition? Do the words match the photos? I’ve seen many descriptions brag about the wonderful views only to see one picture of the sky taken through a tiny window. The selected photos need to show the best features of your house; they don’t need to show every feature.

Open Houses are also important. Many buyers now prefer to look at houses on their own. And they also drive through neighborhoods they are interested in first. If you have no sign, and no open houses, those buyers won’t call their agent, and your house won’t be seen. You lose buyers if you don’t let them in.

If your house is difficult to show, the buyers will go elsewhere. Relocation buyers may have a week or less to see homes. If your house isn’t on lockbox show-able with an hour or 2 notice, you will likely miss those buyers.

In sum, your house must be priced right to appeal to the broadest number of buyers, and you need to be sure that every buyer is being reached with the marketing and that they can get in to see the house. Then you won’t be wondering why it isn’t selling, you’ll be hanging up the “Sold” sign.