Why Didn't Your Home Sell? 

There are many reasons why great homes do not sell quickly. The bad news is that if you are reading this you probably have tried to sell your home recently with no success. With the recent slow down in the real estate market selling a home has become very difficult. The days of listing your home with a broker and getting multiple offers within hours or days are over. We probably won't see a market like that again for several years.

The good news is that properties are still selling in this area. One quick look at the tax records or local MLS and you will see thousands of recent sales. To successfully sell your property you need to figure out what was wrong.


There are typically 6 reasons why a home does not sell:

1. Absence of a pro-active marketing plan

Make sure the Realtor you hire has a proven marketing plan. Most buyers work with a Realtor so it is imperative that your agent is actively marketing your home to other agents as well as buyers. A good agent should provide you with periodic marketing reports to demonstrate what marketing activities they are using. They should also provide you with feedback from other agents and potential buyers to help improve the salability of your home.

2. Representation lacking skill and experience

Choosing the right Realtor to represent you can make all the difference in the world. Hiring an agent just because they are a friend or relative, or because they tell you they can get you more money for your home, could actually end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run. In the industry we call this "buying the listing". An agent will tell the seller a high sales price to get the listing.  After the seller has listed the property the Realtor will periodically chip away at the seller trying to get them to lower the price to a realistic level over the coming weeks. This is not a good way to conduct business. Sellers have the most leverage when it is initially placed on the market. This is the best time to sell the property.

It’s important to make sure that you hire a professional who will be open and honest with you about the sale of your home. They should provide you with a detailed market analysis and help you select appropriate pricing.They should also be willing to point out potential sale killers and provide you with tips and advice on how to overcome them.

3. Difficult access to property

You need to make sure that your home is easily accessible to Realtors and buyers. If there are plenty of homes like yours on the market and they are easy to access Realtors will skip showing your home if it is too much trouble. Using a lockbox will allow agents to show your home while you are away. Typically a Realtor who wants to show your home will call the listing agents office to schedule an appointment. This way a record is kept of who entered the property. Also, the electronic lock boxes keep a record of who accessed your home so your agent can contact them for feedback. It is likely that your home will be skipped if you make it difficult to show.

4. Strengths of property location not emphasized

Real estate is all about location, and some locations are clearly better than others. Obviously, if your location is outstanding it is easier to sell your home.  The real challenge in selling a home is when your location is not good. For example, if your home is on a busy street you can use hedging or a wall around the property to block unwanted views and reduce noise. If you have a nice view make sure it is unobstructed and add a sitting area to capitalize on the views.

5. Overlooking inexpensive cosmetic improvements

You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression. The condition of your home directly affects its marketability. Little things like a dirty walls or walls in need of paint, soiled carpeting, dirty floors, leaky faucets, unusual paint colors or pet odors can be more than enough to scare buyers away. It’s important to make sure that your home is in tip-top condition inside and out before putting it on the market.

Have you ever walked into a home builders model? The home is clean, walls are painted nicely, not too much furniture, no clutter and very bright with natural light. Try to get your property to look like a model home.  

6. Pricing

This is the easiest problem to fix but the hardest for sellers to accept. If offers are coming in way lower than your asking price, or just not coming in at all, it may be time to re-examine your pricing. There may have been a time, not too long ago, when homes could be overpriced and buyers would be in a bidding war over them, but that time has past. Get those days out of your head. We are in a different market now. The market has changed, there are more homes on the market, and buyers have more choices.

If possible, find the most recent sales in your area. The value of your home is somewhat determined by your location and the value of the homes around you.  If there have been 3 similar homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood it is fairly easy to figure out the value of your home. If 3 similar homes have recently sold for $400,000, $425,000 and $418,000 there is pretty good chance your homes value is somewhere around this price. Forget the fact that a home sold last year for $480,000. That was last year not this year.

The problems with overpricing:

  • Your house will not appraise properly for a successful sale.
  • Buyers are typically educated about the real estate market and will usually find out what has recently sold in your area
  • No one will even look at your property if is it too over priced.
  • You will lose the excitement that a new listing generates. Realtors are working with buyers who have seen what is currently on the market and are waiting for something new to be listed. Therefore, the most activity will take place in the first 30 days of a listing. Your home will probably receive its highest and best offers during this time. After that initial period, the only people to look at your home will be new buyers entering the marketplace or bottom feeders.
  • You will lose the most qualified prospects. Buyers won’t be able to make an offer because they probably won’t see your property. They will view the properties that are priced within their purchase power range, knowing that they cannot afford anything above their price range.
  • Overpricing helps sell your competition. If you overprice your home you are only making your competition look better.
  • Your home may become stale. Buyers may wonder why it has been on the market so long or if something is wrong with the property, even after you lower the price. You may even have to settle for less than market value. A house takes on a reputation surprisingly fast, so don’t wear out your welcome on the market.
  • You lose a strong negotiation position when your house is on the market a long time: Prospects will not rush to make an offer on an overpriced property, and you may feel compelled to accept less when they finally do.

We hope you found this information helpful. The author of this article is a Realtor friend  in Sarasota, Florida. I recommend you visit his site if you are in the market for Sarasota Real Estate.