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
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
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.