“The first thing to do is take a step back and analyze the situation”
You put your home up for sale and it simply didn’t sell. Undoubtedly, this has created a lot of stress, inconvenience and anxiety for you and your family. Perhaps you already bought another home. Maybe you needed this home sold because of a job change. Regardless of the reason, it’s certainly a burden!
What Should You Do?
The first thing to do is to take a step back and analyze the situation. Try to assess what factors led to your home not selling. Below are the top four reasons why homes tend to languish on the market:
1. Was The Property Overpriced?
Overpricing your property is usually the number one reason it did not sell. Assuming your neighbourhood or area has homes with similar features (number of bedrooms and baths, lot size, etc.) on the market for a lower price, buyers will naturally buy those properties first. The price of your property should be competitively priced with these other homes. That means if you want to sell your home, price the home at or slightly below the comparables. Your real estate agent will help you establish the best price based on the competition. The most important number to look at is what recent comparable homes around you have sold for. People will often think their home is worth more than it is because they are emotionally attached. Your home is only worth what home buyers are willing to pay for it. Again, pricing your property above comparable properties can easily cause it to languish. Read this report Importance of Pricing Correctly
Another problem with pricing higher than competitive properties, (unless it is a rising market) is the resulting price reductions. Most homeowners will reduce the price once they realize their home is priced higher than the competition. When your real estate agent enters the price reduction in the MLS® System, the property is probably at or near where it should have been priced in the first place. The problem now is you missed all the new buyers and the Realtors with buyers who had already seen everything in your area. The most interest your home will usually get is in the first 2 weeks it is on the market. Don't waste this optimum traffic time by overpricing your home and then chasing the market with price reductions. I have seen this happen where after reductions the home ends up selling for less than it would have, if it had been put on the market at the correct price in the first place, and it would have sold faster.
To overcome this situation, you are going to have to make sure your new, reduced price is extremely competitive. If your price reduction still leaves the asking price of your home higher than any comparable selling prices, your home will probably continue to languish. Your real estate agent will help you assess the competition and help you establish an asking price that will get the home sold. Remember it does not matter what homes around you are listed for, the number that matters is what they are selling for,
2. Condition Of Your Property
All of the cosmetic things, such as paint, landscaping, window coverings and flooring should be in good shape. The house should be spotlessly clean inside and out! It’s amazing how most buyers refuse to see “through” superficial, cosmetic shortcomings. To illustrate this point, most buyers can walk into a “perfect” home that is priced below market. However, if the house is cluttered, the carpet is worn, or the house has a strong pet odour, they move on to look at the next house. And making these cosmetic improvements costs little… mostly your time and some elbow grease! To get the house sold, make a small investment in:
- Landscaping: Make sure the lawn is in good shape and trees and shrubs neat and trimmed. Make sure gutters are clear. If you don’t have the time to do it, pay someone.
- The exterior of the home: Make sure there is no chipping paint, dirty windows, or clutter in the yard. Most importantly, remember that most buyers will notice the condition of the front door when they walk up to the home.
- Interior: Make sure the carpets are clean and attractive, the walls painted neutral (if it needs it) and clean (no smudges!), the kitchen clutter-free and the windows are spotless. Also, remove excess furniture (rule of thumb is put half the furniture in storage or the basement). Excess furniture makes rooms appear much smaller. Make sure all clothes are off the floor and organized in closets. And finally, make sure the smell of the home is appealing. You can check out my Preparing Your Home for Sale eBook below for some great tips.
3. How Was Your Property Marketed?
Another primary reason for homes languishing on the market is a simple lack of exposure. In a very hot market, a listing in the MLS system alone should generate an adequate number of buyers. However, if your market is anything less than red-hot, the amount of inventory will increase and your home needs a proven marketing plan.
Most buyers work with real estate agents, and most homes are sold by an agent other than the listing agent. A good real estate agent will make sure your property is exposed to the maximum number of agents and Buyers. Also, most active real estate agents have a strong network of other agents.
Make sure your home has proper internet exposure as well as MLS.ca. Well over 95% of buyers are starting their search for a home on the Internet!
4. Finally, and Most Importantly, Did You Hire The “Right” Real Estate Agent?
Like any profession, there are very effective and also ineffective agents. Many agents work hard and employ strong marketing strategies. Many agents have a strong network and access to buyers. Many agents work hard to get your home sold. However, many do not. Did your agent simply use the 3 P's strategy to try and sell your home?
Put the home on the MLS® system
Put a Sign in the yard
Pray it will sell
Or, did your agent have a proven marketing process to market your property? Did they promote your property on their Website, Blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other Social media? Did they hire a professional Photographer and supply High-Resolution Photos and create a virtual tour? With so many Buyers starting their search on the internet, this is where the paid advertising for your property needs to be, not the local newspaper.
Ask yourself, was your agent passionate about selling your property? If not, make sure you ask all the right questions if you relist with someone else.