You’ve placed your house for sale at the right time, but you haven’t had the interest you were expecting. Maybe your house has been on the market for a few months already, or maybe you’re on a tight timeline and you need your house to sell fast. As the days draw out, you’re probably wondering, “why isn’t my house selling?”
Here are a few of the reasons your house might not be selling. Take a hard look at your home, what you and your realtor have already done to sell your house, and ways you might be able to improve.
Why Isn’t My House Selling? 7 Possible Reasons
1. Unflattering Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words—so what are your pictures saying about your house? Since so many home searches start online today, unflattering pictures can go a long way towards explaining why your house isn’t selling. Consider the following as you look at your home pictures.
- How many photos do you have? You don’t need photos from every angle in the house, but the pictures should effectively show each room, the yard, exterior, and the most prominent features.
- Are the pictures dim? Lighting is one of the most essential elements of a good photo, and this is even more important for photos around your home. Open the windows, turn on overhead lights and consider pulling in lamps from another room while you take your pictures.
- How are the angles? Make sure you can see the room’s best features. Consider taking multiple pictures of one room so you can show all its highlights.
- What camera did you use? Don’t leave your home’s first impression up to a cellphone shot. Work with a friend, talk to your Realtor, or reach out to a freelance photographer to get better quality photos.
2. You’re Not Listed in Multiple Places
If you’re selling your home with a Realtor, you’ll be listed in the Multiple Listings Service (MLS). Most home-finding websites like Home Finder Pro, Trulia, Zillow and RedFin get their listing information from the MLS. However, only licensed real estate agents can add listings to the MLS. If you’re selling your house yourself and you want your listings on popular sites, you’ll have to add them yourself.
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If you are working with a real estate agent and you don’t see your home on popular listing sites, ask your agent if or when they have listed your house on the MLS. Keep in mind that it may take some time for the websites to find your listing and post it. If you don’t see your house listed after a few days, ask your agent why. This is how millions of people begin their home search, so listing your house on these sites is a priority.
3. The Presentation Isn’t Right
Home staging has surprising high ROI. A staged home sells for an estimated 17% more, and sells 87% faster. There are a variety of factors that make this work, and there are multiple ways to do it. You don’t have to redesign your entire home to make the presentation high-quality. Even if you have already moved out, you can add a few subtle elements to make your buyer feel like they’re already home.
The right presentation should show that your home is...
- Clean: There’s no clutter, dishes, knick-knacks, toys or other items distracting the buyer. The home looks clean and well-maintained, giving the buyer confidence in the home’s condition.
- Chic: A stylish presentation makes the home look modern, which inspires more confidence in the home’s condition.
- Has potential: Furniture placement and decor should make rooms look larger and spotlight the home’s best features.
Here are a few of the ways that you can present your home in the best light, whether you have a large budget to work with or a small one.
- Professional staging: A professional has the experience and expertise to know exactly what will look best, where to place it, and why.
- Stage it yourself: Try to make the space as open as possible, with modern, but neutral decor. Put extra furniture and other items in storage.
- Cleaning up: Maybe rearranging furniture and decor won’t work for you, but a thorough cleaning and packing up or putting away clutter can make a big difference.
- Already moved out: Consider leaving a few items behind that you can easily move later, like end tables, chairs, or wall art. Or, consider staging just one room, ideally the room buyers first walk into.
4. There’s No Curb Appeal
If you’re wondering why your house isn’t selling, maybe it isn’t the inside of the house that’s the problem. Many buyers will drive by a house to look at the neighborhood and the exterior before they even decide to schedule a viewing. This means a lack of curb appeal can turn off some buyers before they even contact you. If your yard is overgrown or there’s clutter laying around, buyers will take it as an indication of bad maintenance on the rest of the home.
Remember that a large part of a home purchase is based on a gut feeling. Whether consciously or unconsciously, buyers ask themselves, does the space feel like home? Much of this starts with a first impression, which will set the stage for the rest of the viewing. Here’s a few things you can do to make your first impression a good one.
- Flowers: Use potted flowers or flower beds in front of the house to give the home a cheery feel. Use matching or complementary colors for a cohesive look, and be careful not to overdo it.
- Wreath: Add a seasonally-appropriate wreath to the door as a subtle welcome.
- Tidy grass: Make sure your grass is trimmed and clutter-free.
- Trim bushes: Trim bushes into squares or circles for neatness.
- Remove weeds: Get rid of weeds, dead plants, or other unkempt distractions.
- Repair problems: Fix any obvious problems with the exterior, such as dented rain gutters, flaws in the siding or peeling porch paint.
5. There’s Something Suspicious
A single suspicious element can turn buyers away. Sometimes, these are not symptoms of bigger problems, but buyers may not know that. If you have some of these problems, or other noticeable flaws, see what you can do to fix them.
- Water in the basement: All basements will have some moisture, but if you have standing water or weeping walls, it’s a bad sign for buyers.
- Water damage: Water damage on the walls or ceiling can indicate expensive problems that most buyers don’t want to tackle. Deal with the water problem and replace or paint over the damage.
- Bad smell: Besides creating a bad first impression, a foul odor can indicate problems for buyers, including pests, mold, or faulty sewer lines. Instead of covering up a bad smell, which might only worsen a buyer’s suspicions, find the source and fix it.
6. Your Home is Non-Standard
Maybe your house isn’t selling simply because it’s unlike others in the area. If your home is half the size or twice the size of others in the area, you have an open floor plan when others don’t, or you have other unique features about your home, it may take longer to sell. Unique features aren’t necessarily problems, but they may require finding the right buyer. In this case, be patient and try to find your ideal buyers. Ask yourself what attracted you to the house and why. See if you can place fliers or notices in places where your ideal buyer might spend time.
7. The Price Is Too High
The final and, in many cases, the biggest reason why your house isn’t selling is the price. If the price is simply too high for the area or for the updates you have, it will be slow to sell. Talk to your real estate agent about your home value and the price. Consider how much you can realistically accept. It’s best to drop the price only once, so be sure to select an amount that makes sense.
It can be difficult to know exactly why your house isn’t selling, but one or more of these problems may be to blame. Talk to your real estate agent, friends, family and neighbors about your house, and see what concerns they might have, or what improvements you might make. With the right strategy, you can still sell your house within your timeline.
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