Real estate experts say that if your home doesn't get some serious offers within 30 days, you need to figure out the problem. If you don't, you could end up selling your house for less than you want. After 120 days, the price drops even lower. If you're having trouble selling your home, the problem might be one of these issues.
Even in a seller's market, an unrealistic price can keep buyers away. Everyone wants to feel like they're getting a good deal. There are lots of online tools available you can use to check the price of homes in your neighborhood. You can even check your own property value online. Remember, this information is out there for sellers, too. Be sure to price your property within a normal range for your area so it reflects the actual value.
You can still start on the high end, but if your listed home hasn't received an offer in a month, try lowering the price by two to three percent. This may seem like a large amount, and it is, but you need to make a big move in order to get some buyers for your home right away. The longer a house is on the market, the more leverage buyers have to make lower offers.
With a significant price drop, you can start attracting buyers from a different income bracket. Opening the door up to a lot of new shoppers could change everything.
We listed it first because price is one of the biggest reasons homes don't sell, but if you're not short on time, try some other ways to increase your home's value and get more potential buyers in the door. If your other options don't meet with success, you'll have to seriously consider lowering the price.
If you've had some showings and you're not getting offers, your staging could be an issue. Luckily, small changes can really make a difference.
Clean the windows to let in more light. If you have heavy window treatments, replace them with lightweight sheers instead. This allows more natural light into the home, which will immediately make it feel more welcoming.
Declutter the house if you still have items there. Do whatever you can to get stuff out of the house. You want big, clean closets and wide open spaces. People won't be drawn to a house that feels closed in and cluttered. Let them see it open and empty so they can imagine it how they want it, forgetting that soon they will have their own clutter shoved into every available space!
Add more lights—the more light, the better. If needed, re-paint rooms in a white or light neutral shade. Paint is affordable and makes things look bright and well-lit. Lots of light will make a big impression on the minds of homebuyers.
You should also have some furnishings in place. A TV on the wall, a couch in the living room, a kitchen table, a bed—these things can make all the difference. Try to get the big pieces in the home to show and add a few strategic touches, such as a throw pillow. Keep it simple, though. The less mess, the better.
Remove family photos, knickknacks, and little personal odds and ends. Your home is a showplace until it sells. Buyers don't want to think about a home's previous owners. They want to see themselves in a new home. It's a small price for you to pay for a bigger offer, right?
3. Curb Appeal
Your home needs to be appealing and pretty from the moment potential buyers drive up to it. You may balk at the cost of re-doing the entire front yard to get more buyers, but you can significantly improve this area for very little cost. You can add thousands of dollars to your home's value simply by giving it more curb appeal.
Plant some flowers. Get a pressure washer and clean the front of the house and the walkways. Clean everything, trim hedges, mow the grass, and rip out old plants and broken garden borders. Clean the mailbox and add new house numbers. Hang a bird feeder for that homey touch.
How important is curb appeal? Landscaping can increase your home's value by 10 percent. In other words, it's pretty darn important. Plus, people are much more likely to look at the rest of the house if they like the front.
4. Outdated Listing
Home shoppers look at the photos before anything else. Make sure yours are appealing so you can grab their attention right away.
Smartphones take extremely high-quality photos these days and you can use apps to further glam up the photos. Tweak the contrast, and turn the colors up a little. Give those photos the same little extra "oomph" that you use for social media. It could make all the difference and get more people to your home, which is exactly what you need.
Make sure you're getting the best angles and that what you're taking pictures of is cleaned and neat and nice-looking. Make the beds up. Vacuum the carpet. Mop the floors. Polish wooden floors. Shampoo carpets. Wipe down all the walls. Clean up the front and backyard areas and photograph these spaces as well.
Be as descriptive and creative in your home listing as you can. Anything that makes your listing stand out is desirable. Point out nearby features, unique elements, and anything that was done by hand. Use buzzy words like "artisanal" and "bespoke" if you can find a natural way to integrate them. It helps to know what kind of style you have.
5. Not Online
Once, people looked for available homes in magazines. These days, you might literally have someone ask you "what's a magazine?" Well, practically. The point is, you've got to list that house online. More and more people are using the internet, and only the internet, to do their home shopping.
List your home online in as many places as you can find. You can even list your home on some social media sites, which really increases the exposure. And if there isn't a way to market your home through the site, just do some social media posts about it on your own and encourage friends to share it. Remember to include all those beautiful photos of your home.
The internet is an amazing tool when you want to sell something, and that includes your home. You can reach a huge number of buyers this way and potentially sell your home much more quickly than you expected. Take advantage of the free advertising opportunities afforded by online forums and groups.
6. Dusty Decor
Make your home more appealing with some quick fixes and affordable changes. Freshen up all the trim paint. Put bright white lights in the lighting fixtures. Replace outdated cabinet hardware and drawer pulls. Replace the faceplates on light switches and outlet covers.
Look around for other inexpensive but impactful changes you can make, such as replacing register covers or switching in new doorknobs. Cleaning light fixtures and light fixture covers can make a big difference. How does the showerhead look?
Clean old plumbing and electrical fixtures. Shining up a little metal here and there makes a big impression and adds a little sparkle. A good cleaning can really increase the "wow" factor. Wipe down all the cabinets and clean the closets, the doors, and everything else you can find.
Think about replacing towel racks, toilet paper holders, bathroom soap dispensers, and other little items like this. Buying a matched set of bathroom and kitchen items like this is a relatively small investment that could come back to you if you sell your home.
7. Bad Market
Some factors are absolutely out of your control, and that includes market timing. Not many people go home shopping in December, for example.
Sometimes, the market is terrible for an overarching reason. Consider what's happening with the economy and with the world overall when you're thinking of selling. If there's too much going on out there, try waiting to list your home until spring. This is the most popular time to shop for houses so it's the best time to list.
8. Problem Area
There's an old episode of the Dick van Dyke show where they're home shopping and they encounter a home with a huge rock in the basement. Your home might have a unique feature that's throwing buyers off. Maybe you're near a busy road or a set of train tracks. Your backyard might be oddly-shaped.
Homes that have some sort of problem are simply going to take longer to sell in most cases. If there's nothing you can do about your basement rock or train tracks, you might have to find that one right buyer. Market your home more aggressively, find more places to list it online, and keep attracting buyers until the right one eventually comes along.
9. Outdated Design
Excessively old-school design elements can be a turnoff to some people. Shiny pastel tiles in the bathroom, wallpaper borders in every room, ancient cabinets in the kitchen, or avocado green counters can discourage buyers. Wood and stone tend to be more appealing, but this is an area where you should use your judgment.
Anything that's super outdated or damaged can be a challenge, especially if they're structural design elements that will require renovation. If you can't make these upgrades, you've got to consider lowering the price to reflect the work buyers will expect to put in.
Extra Tricks That Make Your Home More Likely to Sell
If all else fails, resort to some good old-fashioned trickery. Stage everything as nicely as you can, then introduce some extra elements to provide positive cues.
Add a flower full of vases. Pop some chocolate chip cookies in the oven and get those baking, then turn off the oven. Just let that smell waft its way throughout the house. Now, turn a heart-warming, classic film on one of the TVs. Mute the TV so the sound won’t get in the way.
What comes to mind when you think of feel-good movies? Put something you love from your childhood on the screen and just let it play. People who go to your open house will see these images and remember good feelings of warmth and joy…feelings they'll now associate with your house!
These little gestures help create a vibe. You know your home is amazing. Now help potential buyers see that too.