Why Didn’t your House Sell the First Time?

Days on Market: 173. Look, it’s time to stop trying. Not gonna happen. This house is not going to sell as it sits without doing something different. And before you think it hasn’t happened to me, it has …

Realtors work hard to get a house sold. It’s how we get paid, after all. I don’t want to see a house sit on the market and drag a sale on for months. The longer it sits, the more frustrated you are, the more frustrated I am.

So why does it happen all the time? It can be a mix of things, many of which can be remedied with time, money, or the right people seeing the listing. I liken it to fishing – when I’m fishing for muskie I’m using much different bait then when I’m fishing for trout, and my technique is different, too. Every home doesn’t work for every buyer – so why do the same thing for every property?

So why won’t it sell? The biggest reason is that it’s priced wrong. Sometimes I misread the market, or I get too aggressive with my recommendation and list it too high.  It could be that the seller or their agent are caught up in the emotional value of the home, or the competitiveness of “Our house has a hot tub, so we’ve got to get more than Joe down the street” (No offense to Joe down the street). Regardless the reason, it doesn’t matter what I think the house is worth, or what the seller thinks it’s worth – it’s worth what a BUYER thinks it’s worth.

For an agent, pricing right comes with experience. Past sales can help, but that’s looking backwards – we need to look at the present and the future, as well, and interpret a big jumble of data that includes location, value, time of year, and so much more. A high-end kitchen in a working-class neighborhood might not up the value like a new roof–so plan accordingly and work with what will sell.

If it’s priced well, getting attention, but still not bringing in offers, you might start to consider major flaws. Try looking at your home objectively, through the eyes of a buyer. What would a buyer say about your home? Maybe bring a trusted friend through, someone you know will give you honest feedback … maybe Joe down the street? 🙂 Does the basement smell damp–or worse–leak from every wall when it rains? That’s a problem, and we know to look for it. I love to have my clients look at houses in the rain. It truly pays to know what you’re getting yourself into or maybe to simply walk away from. Maybe there’s too much clutter, and they can’t visualize how to use the spaces. Or perhaps you haven’t followed Jeremy’s patented Rule of 1/3s, and the Three Ls – Lights on, Lids down, and Leave!

Say your house has a big flaw–wet basement, old roof, outdated-everything, it’s not the end of the world. If the problem can be fixed, consider doing so if it will get the house sold. If not, well, we revert back to pricing. Most flaws that keep offers from coming to table can be fixed, but buyers will look for houses without them or choose the ones that accurately reflect the reduced value. It’s important to decide where you fall, accept it, and act accordingly

Maybe your house is priced right, built well, and maintained but still sitting on the market; it could be that we just missed the right time of the year. But don’t fret – just as there are more buyers looking in the spring and summer, there’s likely more competition, as well! And in the fall and winter, when there’s less competition among sellers? There are fewer buyers, but they’re typically more serious. Remember, fish still bite year round, they just look for different bait.

Maybe you’re already faced with your house sitting on the market and not knowing what to do. If so, give me a shout. I might be able to help, but even if I’m not, I’m happy to point you in the right direction. There’s a buyer for every house.

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