In a healthy housing market, a listed home can take anywhere between one week and two to three months to sell. However, if you find that months are going by with few or no offers, it may be time to ask yourself, “Why is my house not selling?”
Of course, some factors will always be out of your hands. You have no control of things like market downturns, for example, or the appearance of the neighborhood, or even some of the structural/architectural oddities that might make your home not a right fit for everyone. Even a long string of inclement weather can sometimes reduce the number of showings. However, everyone has “blind spots,” which means there could be a turn-off lurking somewhere in your presentation that might turn the tide if you change it. If your home stays on the market longer than it should, here are 10 possible reasons why you are not getting offers.
1. Your asking price is too high
In a market where prices are on the rise, it is a common mistake for sellers to be too ambitious with their asking price. You might well assume an interested buyer might make you an acceptable lower offer, but if the start of negotiations is too high, it can be a turn-off. Do you research and make sure your asking price is comparable to the value of similar homes in your neighborhood — otherwise, you may be waiting until the market catches up to your ambition before you sell.
2. Your home needs too many updates
Not everyone wants a “fixer-upper,” and when they do, they want to pay a lower price for it. This goes hand in hand with the first point. If you forego the new carpet, new coat of paint or new appliances to save costs, expect to take less for your home. If you do not do any updates at all, you may be narrowing your pool of buyers only to those who like being overwhelmed with repairs.
3. Your home is too personalized
The objective in showing your home is for buyers to be able to envision themselves living in it. You might love the teal paint you chose for your master bedroom, and your daughter might love the hot pink color scheme in hers; but those colors may be a turn-off for others. Yes, of course they can paint over it, but if visitors see a long to-do list before they ever make an offer, the offer might never come.
4. Your home is cluttered and/or dirty
Cleanliness matters. If you skipped having the floors and carpets professionally cleaned, if you leave that stack of mail on your catch-all counter, or if you have moving boxes everywhere, these can all be psychological turn-offs.
5. There is not enough light
If your home feels dark or dimly lit, it will be more difficult to sell — period. Open the curtains and blinds; let in as much natural light as possible. For rooms with fewer windows, use strategic lighting to make these rooms feel as warm and airy as possible. Avoid fluorescent lighting.
6. There is an unwanted smell
It is remarkable how much of an effect odor has on our psyche as humans. Your nose may be acclimated to the odors in your home, but your potential buyers will not have that advantage. Make sure your home is properly deodorized, and use lightly scented candles to create a more inviting scent without overdoing it.
7. You have too much furniture
When visitors are unable to move freely through the rooms in your home, it sends a subtle negative vibe. Try walking through the traffic areas of your home to see how many times you have to change directions to walk through it. If necessary, try putting the extra sofa or chairs into storage.
8. You have a lot of personal items on display
Remember, the idea is to enable potential buyers to envision your home as their home. When your family photos are on every wall and cluttering the mantle, you are sending a strong message that this is your home, and they are just visiting. They will get the message.
9. You are present for the showing
You may think you are being helpful by being on hand to answer questions during a showing, but in fact you could be making visitors feel uncomfortable, subtly suggesting that you do not trust them in your home or would rather they not be there. Buyers also like to check closets and storage, and they are less likely to do so with you hovering over their shoulder.
10. Your photos are low-quality
This might seem like a minor point, but it can have a major impact. If your listing photos are blurry, dimly lit or just not very attractive, many qualified buyers will just go on to the next listing. Have some professional photos taken of your home and put them in your listing; you might be surprised how many more showings you get.
At Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, we are committed to doing everything in our power to help you sell your home at a fair price in a reasonable amount of time. To learn more about how to make your home more attractive to buyers, give us a call at 404.237.5000.