Your Listing Agent told you the market is hot, prices are soaring, and your home will (likely) sell in under 30 days. None of this seems to be true in your situation.
On the flip side, Buyer Agents are telling their clients that inventory is great, prices are fair, and sellers are motivated. That’s not what’s going on here, either.
There’s a major disconnect here between buyer and seller but it’s a common undertone in anything that involves negotiations. As a seller, you want to get top dollar for your home. Buyers, on the other hand, wants to make sure they’re getting a fair deal.
If your house has been on the market for awhile and you’re not getting offers, here are five big reasons why buyers might not want to buy your house.
#1 Price doesn’t match the home’s value
#2 Dated exterior and/or interior
#3 Lack of cleanliness
#4 No agent follow-throught or follow-up
#5 Lack of or poor attempt at marketing
Each explanation below includes confessions from homebuyers in today’s market about what they’re looking for and what they wish they could tell the seller personally.
#1 Your home is overpriced, no matter what your agent told you.
There’s no doubt you probably listed a few thousand dollars higher than what your Realtor told you that you could get for your home. A buyer expects wiggle room for negotiations. But, if your house has been on the market for over 30 days, this is a pretty big indication that buyers aren’t seeing the value. It’s probably time for a price reduction.
“If I see a home that’s been on the market for more than a month and the price hasn’t been reduced in awhile or ever, to me that says the seller isn’t really interested in selling their home. If it’s been longer than 60 days since a price reduction, I don’t even want to see it let alone make an offer. Buyers are motivated and are looking for motivated sellers. Pre-approvals are only valid for so long and we’re not going to waste our time fighting a seller to recognize a fair price for their home. We’re going to move on to the next one.”
A price drop of $100 or $1,000 tells a buyer one of two things — you “need” that amount for whatever reason or it can suggest that you might be a stingy seller who isn’t going to be worth dealing with. Both of these can be a major turn off to a buyer.
A price drop of $5,000 or $10,000 every four to six weeks tells a buyer that you “need” to sell and are open to a fair offer.
Out of the two scenarios, you can expect more offers after a price drop with the latter. Remember, buyers want to buy your house. The more motivated you are, so is the buyer.
#2 Your style is well-suited to your tastes, but buyers are keeping a tab of how much it’s going to cost to change things.
Buyers are looking at your home as a blank canvas to paint the portrait of their ideal home. The wallpaper or paint you chose to suit your style and the complementary carpet can be a huge turnoff to your potential buyers, especially if the theme is several years outdated.
“My husband says to me all the time that ‘paint and carpet are nothing’ but it’s not nothing… it’s two to 10 thousand dollars depending on what it is and how much of the house needs to be redone.”
At the same time, buyers don’t expect you to modernize and upgrade the home before you sell. Keep this in mind when you get an offer that feels low to you — a buyer has factored in how much they’ll need to do before they can move a single piece of furniture inside. Don’t be insulted and keep this in mind — your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
#3 Dirt, dust, and stains are a turn off, especially in today’s market.
Perfectly turnkey homes are few and far between. Even the word “turnkey” is subjective. Remember the second concept— buyers look at your home as a blank canvas. Wipe the walls down, shampoo your carpets, sweep your flooring.
“There’s a ‘wow’ moment sometimes when walking through a house, especially if it’s not a short sale or foreclosure, to see dirty walls and carpet, dust and cobwebs, piles of ‘things’ in the back corner of a yard or garage. How can the seller expect top dollar for a dirty house? It gives the impression of not being well-kept and makes me question if the major things like electrical and plumbing were also not maintained.”
The more “work” a buyer sees before they can move in, the less interested they are in making an offer.
#4 Your home isn’t being marketed to your ideal buyer.
There’s a common phrase in any sales organization — the fortune is in the follow-up. If you’ve recently had an open house and didn’t receive any offers, ask your agent if he or she got any feedback from visitors.
“We’ve been to at least 10 open houses in the past three weeks. Not once has an agent followed up with us via email, text, or a phone call of whether or not we were interested in putting an offer in, or to even discuss our thoughts of the home. A lot of the time the agent greeted us when we got there and thanked us when we left. No questions for us and no explanations of why the home and neighborhood are great.”
Ask what’s being done to sell your home beyond getting it in the MLS. If the agent can’t answer this question or fumbles with the response, the answer is probably “not much.” Be diligent in working with your agent. The more motivated you are, the more motivated your agent will be, and the more motivated your buyer will be.
#5 A picture is worth a thousands words.
“Nothing disqualifies a house faster than a listing with few pictures, dark or low resolution images, and worst of all, vertical cell phone pics. The house has to look like it’s worth my time to call my agent, schedule a viewing, and then take the time to see it.”
Tip: Don’t take your own photos unless you can objectively take great pictures.
Your agent likely knows a professional photographer who will take photos for a reasonable fee or even free.
Additionally, a couple, if not all three sites, allow you to “claim” your home and write about what you love about this house, the neighborhood, the community.
This is the ideal place for you to tell a prospective buyer that you replaced the roof three years ago and installed energy efficient appliances last year. Or that you raised your kids here and the schools are wonderful. Use the space to tell buyers what the pictures don’t show.
The last piece of advice home buyers wish they could offer to home sellers is to look at your house from the buyer’s perspective. It’s likely that you’re selling your home and will be purchasing a different house. Take the specifics of how you’re shopping for your next home and apply those concepts to the house you’re selling.
Based on the five points above, would you want to buy your house?