You have a fabulous home in a great location, yet it’s been sitting on the market for months with little or no interest. What can you do?
Real estate is a fickle business with markets fluctuating according to season, the economy and supply and demand. The general market aside, there could be other reasons your great home isn’t selling.
One of the top reasons great homes don’t sell is because they are overpriced. Setting a sale price for your home is tricky business. You want to get the maximum possible return on the sale without alienating potential buyers with a too-high price. Many home sellers also mistakenly think padding the price of their home gives them an opportunity to negotiate down toward a more reasonable selling price. While this may seem logical, your initial high price may be driving away potential buyers put off by your over-valuation of your home. They may think your home is simply out of their price range, or that you are being greedy or unreasonable in your thinking.
It is important to price your house according to the market in which it is located. For example, a house located near schools and other amenities may sell for more than an identical house situated in a remote area with few amenities. Additionally, if there are a lot of houses for sale in your neighbourhood, it becomes a buyers’ market and you may not be able to secure the price you think you should get if your neighbors are willing to go lower. Finally, there are trade-offs when selling your house: a lower price usually means a larger market of potential buyers and a faster sale while a higher price means a smaller market of potential buyers and a slower sale. If you are determined to get a certain price for your home, you must be prepared to wait to get it.
Another reason your house may not be selling is exposure. Are you trying to sell it yourself? If so, it may be difficult to arrange showings around your work and family schedule, therefore limiting the potential for a sale. Listing your house with a realtor may give you the exposure boost you need to sell your home. Not only does a realtor have more flexibility in showing your home, he or she will also advertise the house and list it on the widely used MLS (Multiple Listing Service) website.
Even if your house is listed with a realtor, it may not be attracting buyers because of a poor photo on the MLS listing, advertising or feature sheets. Many potential buyers will dismiss a home as a possibility based on the impression made by the photo they see.
Other issues to consider include:
Is your house clean and neat? This is vital to making a strong impression on potential buyers. Clutter is not desirable, so take time to sift through your belongings and get rid of the stuff you don’t need or want. Throw out the junk and donate the rest of your unwanted possessions to charity. Even after going through your things, you may have too much stuff in plain view. Organize your closets and cabinets to fit more in, and if there is still too much, buy some plastic containers and store the stuff you don’t use very often in the tubs, which you can stack neatly in the basement. This may be inconvenient, but it will improve the look of your home.
Curb appeal: does your home look neat and welcoming from the street? It is in good repair? Just like with photographs, your home is judged on its appearance from the street. Increase your chance of a buyer being interested by spending a few minutes ensuring your house looks great.
Dated décor can reduce the appeal of your home. Replace old flooring, apply new paint, and add a slip cover to your or unstylish furniture. Changing the hardware in your kitchen is a great way to modernize its look without spending a lot of money. If you have old, stained or smelly carpet, it should be removed. In fact, this may be a bonus as you could uncover lovely hardwood underneath the carpet.
Odor control. We may love our pets, but not everyone does. Make sure kitty’s litter box is fresh (and out of the way!), and that hair and musty pet blankets are out of sight. As mentioned above, smelly carpet isn’t appealing. If your pet has soiled the carpet, it should be professionally cleaned or removed.
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