6 Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Home Isn't Selling!!!
So, you're in agony because your home has languished on the market week after week. Here are six culprits that may be keeping buyers away in droves.
1. Is my home overpriced?
Optimistic home sellers love to parrot the old adage, "There's a buyer for every home." But they often leave off the qualifier: "at the buyer's price." The fact is that buyers, not sellers, ultimately determine the market value of a home. You can ask for the moon and set your listing price well above comparable properties in your neighborhood, but at some point it will be up to you, the seller, to accept what the market thinks your home is worth.
Overpricing is the most common reason homes don't sell. When you ask an unrealistic price, it sets in motion a process that often works against you. Here's why: Most real estate agents, and hence most qualified buyers, will see your new listing within 30 days. If it is overpriced by as little as 5%, it will be duly noted and interest in your property will cease, especially if you show no intention of coming off your asking price. Even if you manage to find a buyer at your inflated asking price, the property may not appraise at that figure and the financing will fall apart.
Your real estate agent may have approved or even suggested the inflated asking price to secure your listing. Conversely, other agents often use overpriced properties like yours to help sell their own listings. "If you have a house that really should be priced at $200,000 and you've got it listed at $260,000, you are trying to compete against homes that really are worth close to $300,000 and all of a sudden your home really is not competing well." Smart Sellers compete with what is available out there among homes similar to theirs. If your home remains on the market for too long, agents and buyers may begin to wonder if there’s other, perhaps more serious reasons why it isn't selling.
2. Does my home show well? (Back To Top)
Your home is competing against shiny new houses in those pristine subdivisions out in the suburbs with their attractive prices, incentives and community amenities. Face it: Even the best old house needs a little makeover if it hopes to attract a qualified buyer. The good news is most of the work will be cosmetic and relatively inexpensive: a new coat of paint, a few attractive window boxes, a thorough cleaning of the floors and carpets. A good real estate agent can advise you on where your time and money are best spent. Price and condition are two things that the seller can do something about. I always give clients my 'honey-do' list. I think paint is probably a seller's best friend because it makes things smell and look fresh. If it's time to paint, it's time to paint. It's the best return on your investment.
3. Is my home in a bad location? (Back To Top)
Nothing has a greater effect on your home's value than its location. Your humble abode might be worth a king's ransom were it located in Palm Beach or San Francisco. It might even jump thousands in value just two streets over in the next (and far superior) school district. If your home's location is less than desirable, your options are somewhat limited. A good real estate agent will do his best to help you accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative of your circumstances, say by using foliage to screen off offensive adjoining properties or dampen traffic noise. The best way to compensate for a poor location is to reduce your asking price or offer attractive incentives such as seller financing or a lease option with rent credit. The point here is that location, location rules in real estate.
4. Do I have a lousy Listing Agent? (Back To Top)
Yep, they do exist: There are agents who mislead, misfire and misbehave. Their bad advice can cost you plenty in time, money and the sheer hassle of keeping the place show-ready 24/7. These lousy agents will allow you to overprice your home ("Here's what I can get for you if you list with me!"), not market it properly, fail to screen for qualified buyers, be unresponsive to interest from other agents (if they sell their own listing, they don't have to split the commission) and keep you totally in the dark throughout the process. What's more, if your agent is abrasive, arrogant or otherwise difficult to work with, other agents may not want the hassle of showing any of their listings to prospective buyers.
5. Am I battling tough competition and/or market conditions? (Back To Top)
We've all heard the terms "A Buyer's market" and/or "A Seller's market." In real estate, market conditions are affected by any number of external forces, some of them predictable (the weather, sort of), some of them unpredictable (the local economy, interest rates, public optimism or pessimism). In a "hot" or seller's market, homes go fast. Inventory (homes on the market) may be low, meaning less competition for you. Chances are better that you will get your asking price in a hot market; in fact, it is not uncommon to even be offered more than your listing price.
But in a "cold" or buyer's market, sales are slow, inventories grow and buyers can find bargains, especially when they know most sellers are motivated (i.e., paying another mortgage, pre-foreclosure, divorce). If you're trying to sell in a cold market like the one we’re currently experiencing, you're not only competing against all that vacant new construction, but against 100’s of new foreclosures being marketed at bargain prices. In this case, be prepared to settle for less than top dollar, or wait until the pendulum swings once again in your favor.
6. Does my home have effective marketing? (Back To Top)
Gone are the days when an agent could simply place your home in the local multiple listing service (MLS), hold a halfhearted open house and wait for another agent to bring forth a buyer. Today's top performers launch a multilevel marketing plan that includes listing tours for area agents, local real estate publications and/or TV Ads, weekend open houses, and sending out listing brochures/fliers.
Computers and the Internet have also changed the face of real estate. According to the NAR, today more than one-third of all home buyers use the Internet for house hunting. The best real estate agents are the ones that are computer-savvy. They have their home listings in color on their laptops to show clients and communicate frequently via e-mail, a particular bonus when working with out-of-town buyers. Suffice it to say that if your real estate agent isn't listing your home online through their company’s website, their personal website, and other affiliate sites, as well as with the local MLS, you may not be getting the exposure necessary to find a buyer.
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