Selling a house in today’s market can be a gamble. You may sell within 30 days or wait a year to close. You may get your asking price right away or have several rounds of counter-offers before an agreement is reached. If you put your house up for sale months ago and have had no solid offers, it’s likely that there is something wrong with either the house or your strategy. If you want to discern why the property isn’t selling and correct the issue, here are five aspects you need to consider.
YOUR ONLINE LISTING IS HORRIBLE
Most real estate agents use the web to advertise homes for sale, which can draw interest from potential buyers near and far. However, the listing can also do your home a disservice if the room sizes are wrong, critical information is omitted, the description is lacking, or the photos are poorly lit and unflattering. Check the online listing for accuracy and ensure that any photos are attractive and well shot. Have your agent correct the ad and post better photos. If neither of you are good with photography, consider hiring a professional.
YOU’VE OUTPACED THE NEIGHBORHOOD
If yours is the only house for blocks with a 25-foot in-ground pool, a $30,000 stainless steel kitchen, or a guest house out back, you are likely not going to get a quick, fair offer. You might need to lower your asking price or wait for the right buyer to come along. An over-renovated house that is far nicer than everything else on the block will be quite attractive to a few buyers, but finding them can be an unfortunate waiting game. Make sure the upgrades feature prominently in your listing, so potential buyers can see right away why your home is worth far more than others in the same area.
YOUR HOME IS A TIME WARP
Unless you have a careful and intentional retro style, a dated house can languish on the market for years. The groovy wallpaper in the den and the deep-pile shag carpet in the family room need to be removed, the gold-trimmed bathroom should be renovated, and the avocado or goldenrod appliances must be replaced, as do the psychedelic beaded curtains and ancient jalousie windows. Older homes do have their own charm, but signs of decades past just point to a slipshod owner and deferred maintenance. You may want to hire an interior designer to point out the worst offenders and help you fix them. Bringing your house into the correct century will certainly improve its worth and decrease your sale time.
YOUR NEIGHBORS ARE CREEPY OR SEEMINGLY ABSENT
Almost every neighborhood has that one shut-in that always peeks out of their drapes or only comes out at night. The same can be said for the house that appears abandoned and buttoned up but has at least one occupant inside. If one of your neighbors is slightly creepy or doesn’t make many appearances, you can consider adding a fence or a few trees to block the view and draw potential buyers’ eyes toward features in your own yard, such as a gorgeous water feature or colorful flower bed. If you’re not confident in your own green thumb, hire a landscaper to help you.
YOUR HOME SMELLS
This is one problem that no real estate agent or potential buyer will tell you about, and it can cost you plenty of sales. You may not be able to smell the mold in the basement, the stale air in the upstairs bedrooms, the cigarette smoke in the den, or the used litter box tucked into the back closet, but anyone entering your home likely can. Ask an honest friend or family member to visit you and tell you what your house smells like, then fix the source of it. Don’t try to cover it up with air fresheners or by baking cookies before a showing, as the smells will mingle and be even more unpleasant. Hire professional cleaners, if necessary, to get rid of the stench.
Selling your house is time-consuming enough as it is without additional challenges. Carefully look over your property to see if any of these issues are causing it to sit on the market, then take action to get it handled. Spending some time and money to correct these problems can net you big rewards on closing day.