Home not selling? The top five reasons why not

You have tried most everything to sell your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home. But it is still waiting for the right buyer. In a good market there could be a few reasons why your home has not moved as quickly as you would have hoped. When you review the price and condition of your home, the listing agent’s recommendations, location, and marketing plan, you will move closer to getting your home sold.

1. Price

Prior to listing a home, it is a good idea to obtain a market evaluation (or CMA, comparable market analysis) from two or three REALTORS®. This should give you a professional opinion from three reliable sources.  [Read my blog article "What is a Market Evaluation?".  Call me for your free market evaluation.]

Sometimes a real estate agent may inflate the price, in hopes of getting the listing. This person could suggest that you will get $20,000 or even $30,000 more than the other agents. This is called “buying a listing.”

If one agent suggests a price that is significantly higher than the others, it could mean that this person is not your best choice. Each evaluation should be within a reasonable amount, compared to the others. The market does not lie. If you list your house at a value higher than the market value, you will have more difficulty selling it. Sometimes buyers perceive such a home as “market worn.” Your final selling price could be lower than if you had listed it correctly in the beginning.

Let's say your house is worth $300,000. You list it for $349,000. It is less likely buyers looking for $300,000 homes will view your home. It is not within their price range. Buyers looking for $300,000 homes will compare your homes to others that are truly in this price range. Houses priced correctly are more likely to sell. Sometimes, REALTORS® will show an overpriced home for comparison when they want to educate buyers on true market value.

2. Condition

A buyer does not see a home the same way a seller does. As many homeowners have grown accustomed to their home along with developing an emotional attachment, many items may be overlooked. What looks good to one person does not look the same to another – especially a buyer. Most buyers are looking for a near perfect home. This means clean, in good condition mechanically and structurally, and in a pleasing decorating style.

The ideal situation would be for the buyer to move into a home, without having to do any work, including cleaning the carpet. When buyers look at a home, they try to imagine themselves living in the home. If any work needs to be done they are less likely to make an offer, when compared to another home that is in model-home condition. At the same time, a buyer could make an offer less than the market value, to compensate for any required work. You could lose money by not having your home in top condition.

The paint inside and out should be in good condition. Everything should be kept perfectly straight and orderly. Sellers should walk through the house as if they are a potential buyer, being very critical and asking whether they would purchase a home in this condition.

Make sure you declutter.  If you are serious about moving, pack up any items you won't need to use in the next 6 months. If needed, rent a storage unit for a few months. Clutter makes a house feel small, and you never want your house to feel smaller than it actually is.

REALTORS® can assist you in this task. They can take an unbiased look at your home and suggest ways to improve your home and most importantly, increase your total profit. When your home is in its “best” condition, you are more likely to receive the best price. While it may seem a lot of work, repairing these items will benefit you in the pocketbook.  [Read my blog articles on home staging:  "Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering" and "Be Your Own Home Stager".  See also "Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?" ]

3. The listing agent

The reputation and ethics of your REALTOR® is especially important. He or she could create big problems if he or she is difficult to get along with. People do not like to work with someone who has a bad attitude or a condescending nature. REALTORS® who are rude or arrogant will have far fewer showings than cooperative and enthusiastic agents.

Before you hire an agent, be sure to check out his or her reputation. Ask for references. Phone the Real Estate Board. It is worth spending the time interviewing an agent to ensure you will get the results you are looking for from someone who is client-focused. Be sure to read the report, “26 Questions to Ask Your REALTOR®” included in the Getting Ready section.

4. Location

The third reason a house may not sell quickly in a good market is location. Undesirable schools, higher crime rate, untidy neighbours, busy roads and close proximity to noise, could contribute to a delay in selling. The only compensation available for the location factor is a lower price. An owner may have to reduce the price so the home compares to others in more desirable areas. Your REALTOR®, trained in these kinds of situations, can recommend a good strategy to overcome a bad location.  [See my blog article "Location, Location, Location: What Does It Mean in Real Estate?"]

5. Marketing plan

When the factors of price, condition, location and agent are correct, the other factor is marketing plan. It takes more than simply putting a sign on your lawn to sell a home, placing your home on the MLS® System, running an ad and then sitting back to wait for a buyer to arrive. If your REALTOR® is doing his job correctly, an aggressive marketing plan should accompany your listing agreement.  This may include specialty full-color highlight sheets, good photos of your house, and open houses if required. Your REALTOR® must make effective use of the latest technology, plus maximizing industry and professional contacts, to ensure your home is placed before the most buyers. When all the other factors are accurate, the only thing left in a good market is the marketing plan.

This also includes showings of your home, proper qualification of buyers, handling details of the sale, keeping you informed, and anything else that could affect the sale of your home. All of these details are important. They could affect your bottom line.

Details are important

There is however one thing you may not be able to overcome – a bad market. In this situation, there are many factors beyond your control. A good REALTOR®, however, can offer some ideas and suggestions when faced with one. For the most part bad markets are rare. In most cases, in a good market, when price, condition, your realtor, location and the marketing plan are established your home will sell quickly and at the best price.

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