Why Isn’t My House Selling? (14 Reasons & What to Do About Them)



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Once you've made up your mind to move somewhere new, it's hard to be patient while waiting for your current house to sell. It's incredibly frustrating when your home takes longer to sell than other properties in your area and might leave you wondering if it will be sitting on the market forever.

Fortunately, sometimes the reason a house isn't selling is a problem with a relatively simple fix. If you're having difficulty attracting buyers, consider whether any of the following issues apply to your home and adjust accordingly.

1. Your home is overpriced.

One of the most critical factors that go into buying a house is price, so it goes without saying that buyers will lose interest in a home that they think is priced too high. In fact, the asking price is the number one reason a house doesn't sell. It can be hard to determine a price that buyers are willing to pay without underselling your home. A skilled real estate agent can accurately analyze local market trends and help you find the perfect number.

It can be hard to sell a house for less than you think it's worth, but if buyers aren't biting, that's a clear sign that you need to go lower. And if you're lucky, asking for a little less might even get several buyers interested, resulting in a bidding war, and that raises your sale price.

2. Your listing photos are bad.

Almost every potential buyer will see your property online before visiting in person, and first impressions are crucial. Getting viewers invested enough to set up an appointment to see the property up close requires captivating photography of your home.

Consider hiring a professional photographer and a real estate editing service to make sure all your pictures fully represent the charm of your home before sharing them online. Also, keep in mind that the order in which your photos show up on a website is a key factor in capturing buyers' attention. The first few pictures to pop up are the ones that decide how long eyes stay glued to an online listing, so be sure to place your best photos front and center.

3. Your home doesn't show well.

Buyers want homes they can easily picture themselves living in, and staging can make or break their mental image of a property. It's essential to have enough furniture that your house feels like a home. Still, too much can create a cluttered feeling and make it hard for buyers to imagine the house decorated in their own style.

It often helps to clear your home of anything overly niche or personalized, like family photos or collectibles before a showing. Also, consider hiring a professional stager to help make your house look more appealing. Your agent likely knows someone who has the perfect eye for furniture arrangement and can set everything up in a way that gets buyers interested.

4. You're limiting or restricting showing times.

As with many other endeavors, success in selling a home is often a matter of being in the right place at the right time. A lack of accessible hours might be the only thing separating you from a buyer who falls completely in love with your home.

Unless it is unavoidable, you should never decline the opportunity to show your house to potential buyers. As annoying as it can be to stop whatever you're doing to clear out the house for a showing, flexibility is essential.

5. You're not leaving your home during showings or requiring the listing agent to be at all showings.

When selling a home, it's important to think of things from the buyer's perspective. Imagine yourself visiting a car dealership where the salesman follows you around as you look at every vehicle. You would probably feel uncomfortable and rushed in this situation. Recreating that experience in showings of your property will likely have the same effect on buyers.

During a showing, only potential buyers and their agents should be present. Giving buyers plenty of space to explore and communicate privately with their realtor will help them feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable imagining themselves settling into the property.

6. Your home is dated or has odd features that turn off buyers.

As stated above, buyers have difficulty picturing themselves living in overly stylized homes, and vintage decor definitely falls under that category. Homes that look dated also give off the feeling that they are in poorer shape, even if this is not actually the case.

Do some research on floor, wall, and furniture trends that make a home look old-fashioned and, if possible, rid your house of them to establish a more modern environment visitors can imagine a future living in.

7. Your home needs significant repairs.

If your home has noticeable flaws, the fact that it hasn't sold yet means you will either need to reduce the price or fix it up. If buyers were willing to overlook the property's issues, they would have placed an offer by now.

Sometimes, it isn't necessary to repair everything in need of fixing. You only need to focus on the most visible problems, like cracked walls and damaged appliances. When considering what to improve, it's also important to compare your home with other similar properties. If, for example, houses of comparable size in neighborhoods like yours all have well-maintained living rooms, you'll want to give your living room extra attention when making home improvements. If your home is in need of significant or extensive repairs, and you can't afford to do them, you can learn more about selling your home as-is here.

8. Your home smells odd.

Unpleasant aromas turn everyone off, and even if your house doesn't smell bad to you, you may have become ‘nose blind' after years of living there. Cigarette smoke produces an incredibly persistent odor that tends to send non-smokers running, so be sure to avoid smoking inside the house or garage to keep the air fresh and clean. Pets can also contribute a lot to a house's smell. If possible, you might want to have your dog or cat stay at a friend or family member's house during the days leading up to a showing.

Before showing your house, it helps to invite an honest friend over and ask them if they smell anything. If they answer affirmatively, experiment with simple fixes like air fresheners and candles and see if that fixes the problem. If the odor still remains, you might need to fix it with a deep cleaning like mold removal or carpet replacement.

9. You skimped on the curb appeal.

When it comes to buying a house, people absolutely do judge a book by its cover, and the higher the price tag, the more highly its exterior will be scrutinized. It's common for buyers to drive past homes that interest them to get a feel for the property and neighborhood. They'll only schedule an appointment to check out the inside of a house if they like the outside.

Some inexpensive steps you can take to ensure that your home has good curb appeal include frequently mowing the lawn, maintaining a neat garden, pressure washing the driveway, and repainting the front door.

10. Your agent isn't the best and/or your listing isn't being marketed well.

As with any profession, there are fantastic real estate agents, and there are not-so-great ones. For every agent who goes the extra mile to sell a house, there's one who relies on the ‘Three Ps': Place a sign in the yard, post the house for sale, and pray for an offer.

Even the friendliest agents might turn out to be lazy, and if you notice that they don't seem to be putting a lot of effort into the sale, it's time to find someone new. When searching for a reliable real estate agent, opt for one who is listed on MLS, Facebook, and various other real estate websites and social media. If you're in the Houston, Texas area and are looking for an amazing team of real estate agents, we recommend Roots & Wings Realty Group.

11. You have a good agent, but you're not listening to them.

Regardless of how well you did in high school biology, you'd be silly to ignore advice from your doctor. The same principle applies to real estate agents. No matter how much you think you know about selling a house, they're the professional, and they know more than you do; that's why you hired them instead of attempting to sell it on your own. Listen to their advice.

Also, avoid following tips from unqualified sources. Your friends and family may think they know what they're talking about when they offer you advice, but they could be leading you in the wrong direction entirely.

12. Your agent won't shell out for a showing service.

As stated previously, giving buyers plenty of opportunities to view your house significantly increases your chances of finding the perfect buyer. Agents who insist on doing all showings themselves tend to be less available, thus lowering your odds of selling.

Talk to your agent about hiring a showing service for more flexible hours, and if they aren't willing to spend the money, it might be worth looking for a new agent.

13. You have MLS listing detail errors.

Even the best agents aren't perfect, and mistakes happen. Your house may be listed as having the wrong square footage, number of bedrooms, or subdivision name. Buyers often filter their searches based on specific characteristics that they're looking for in a home, and these errors can prevent your property from showing up.

Check your MLS listing carefully to make sure all the details are correct. If you notice anything wrong, be sure to update the listing immediately.

14. You have meddlesome neighbors.

We once had a listing for a home we flipped where the neighbor came over every single time someone came to see the house. He would tell them all the things he thought were wrong with it and explain in great detail how much he disliked the old owners (the people we had bought the home from) and wanted new people to move in and maintain the property better. With a first impression like this, it should come as no surprise that people didn't want to buy the house.

Unfortunately, cases like this aren't uncommon. Even a friendlier, more well-intentioned neighbor who makes a guest appearance at a showing is likely to intimidate buyers. While it can be a difficult conversation to have, it's important to establish boundaries and politely inform your neighbors that no outsiders are allowed on the property during showings.

Still can't sell your home?

If you're still struggling to sell your property after addressing all these problems, AMI can buy your house, regardless of the condition it's in. Contact us today to receive a no-obligation cash offer within 24 hours and put the stress of selling out of your mind.

Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman is the owner of AMI House Buyers and a seasoned real estate investor with a heavy focus on the Houston & Katy, Texas areas. She has done numerous flips, has owned multiple rental properties, and is also a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas. She is heavily experienced in the areas of foreclosures, water damaged properties, burnouts, and inherited properties, and works with distressed homeowners in all types of situations to help them understand their options and find potential solutions.


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