I can imagine what you’ve been saying to yourself: “It’s a seller’s market, so all I have to do is put my house on the market and it’ll sell.”
But now, many months later, it hasn’t sold. You’re feeling frustrated, or you’re feeling pressure because you’ve already bought another house and now you’re faced with two mortgages.
There could be many issues causing it to languish on the market, so today I’m sharing five of the most critical reasons your house isn’t selling.
Reason #1: Price – Yours is way too high.
You may think you can price your house as high as you like, especially in a seller’s market. But here’s the thing: Buyers have lots of information at their disposal these days, so if your price is too high, they’ll know it, and they won’t be willing to pay. It comes down to this: don’t let overconfidence get in the way of your sale.
Study your local market and consult with a real estate agent to come up with a more realistic price. And if after doing so you still think your price is ok, keep reading to see what else you can do to make your house more appealing.
Reason #2: Emptiness – Your house needs some furniture.
Vacant homes take longer to sell, even in a seller’s market. Why? Because the average person can’t connect with an empty house.
Nine out of ten people can only see what’s in front of them when they walk into a house—so they can’t visualize what your house has the “potential” to be. But what they can visualize is themselves living their dream lifestyle in your home if you’ve laid it out for them right before their eyes.
And here’s something else to consider: People are busy. Your potential buyers are likely cramming house tours into their already hectic schedules, so they don’t have time to figure out what to do with an empty space.
It’s an HGTV world out there, so if your house isn’t furnished, it won’t evoke the feeling of “home” that buyers are looking for or give them suggestions on how they can set up their own furniture.
The bottom line is this: If you’ve already moved out and your house is empty, it’s time to call a home stager to bring in the right furniture, artwork, and accessories to make your house look like the home of your buyers’ dreams.
Reason #3: Clutter – You’ve got way too much stuff.
I know what you’re thinking—you’re overwhelmed by your clutter, and that’s why you haven’t managed to clear it out. I totally understand, because most people never realize quite how much stuff they have until it’s time to sell their house.
But here’s the thing: Buyers can’t see past your clutter. They just can’t. They get so distracted by your stuff that they can’t see what's great about your home. All they see is a space that seems small, dirty, and short on storage space.
Since you’re going to be moving to a new home, take this opportunity to pre-pack a lot of the stuff you’re keeping. Once you’ve pre-packed, move those boxes and bins offsite if you can.
Ask a friend or family member to let you store things at their homes temporarily, or spring for an offsite rental unit. If neither option is feasible, then make sure you store your boxes very neatly in your garage, basement, or attic.
Reason #4: Showings – You’re doing them wrong.
The following things should never, ever be present when buyers come to your house for an open house or private showing: You, your pets, and odors.
Let’s start with you: Buyers can’t see themselves in your home if they see you there, so you need to leave, ok?
Now on to your pets. I know you love them, but some buyers hate them, have allergic sensitivities to them, get distracted by their barking or lurking—you get the point, right? Some buyers will even cut a tour short if your pets are there annoying them, so get Fido and Fifi outta there.
And finally, let’s deal with the odors. Here’s the truth: Air shouldn’t smell like anything. Period. It shouldn’t smell like the spices you cook with, cigarettes, pets— nothing.
And you know what else it shouldn’t smell like? All the stuff people use to cover up bad smells. That means no cookies baking in the oven (yep, I said it), no candles burning, and please, none of those plug-in or self-spraying air freshener things.
Buyers know you’re using those things to hide something, so instead of covering bad odors, get to the root of the problem and solve it.
Reason #5: Marketing – You need to step up your game.
It’s a new day in real estate marketing, so you’ve got to turn things up a few notches. That means your house needs professional staging, professional photographs, and top-notch marketing to make the best impression on buyers.
A home stager will strategically position everything inside and outside your home to maximize its appeal to the broadest pool of buyers. So at a minimum, get a consultation to find out what your house needs in order to show well.
After your home is staged, you need great photos. Excellent photos are critical because 95% of buyers use an online website to search for homes.* That’s basically everyone. So if your house doesn’t look good online, you’ll lose a lot of buyers right there and they’ll never come see your house in person.
It’s worth the investment to hire a professional photographer to capture expert shots of your home. Also, consider getting creative with drone technology to get even more dramatic photos and video footage.
And don’t forget about online marketing. You may not use social media much, but chances are, your buyers do, so don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.
If you have a real estate agent, they should be using their website and social media platforms to market your home. If you don’t have an agent, do some research on the best ways to market your house online and give them a try.
To get expert home staging in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, contact Jennifer today at Main Stage Home Staging & Organizing, (240) 324-8280, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jennifer Westbrook, Main Stage Home Staging & Organizing
*Nat’l Assn. of Realtors Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report