There are a few realities sellers must look at when listing their home. Number one- we are still in a buyer’s market. Number two-today’s homebuyer is more discerning than ever. Number three- a realtor can provide invaluable insight and negotiating skill to help you sell. Even if you’ve got these three items covered, there could still be some vital errors you are making that just aren’t helping your home sell. Check out 10 reasons why your home won’t sell from William Tierney, a sales associate in our Scituate, MA office.
Recently I have been out speaking with numerous sellers through out the South Shore discussing the home sale process. Inevitably, the discussion of why one’s home could have a difficult time on the market becomes a part of the conversation. Here are my top ten reasons homes will not find a buyer.
1. Poor Photography
It should not come as any surprise that nearly 90 something percent of home buyers start their home search online. Since such a large percentage of buyers begin the home search process online, why would one try to entice a potential buyer to be interested in your home with poor photography? The small, grainy, unclear, poorly lit photos of your home don’t exactly scream, “Let’s go see this home!” When was the last time you were excited to see a property where you had trouble discerning the details of what was in the photo. Photography is your online image, you first impression. The photos of your home need to be stunning, and nothing short of that if you intend to generate interest in your property.
2. Not Easily Accessible
Even the best real estate professionals cannot sell a home they cannot show. It is imperative that sellers be flexible with the sometimes intrusive process of showings. We are currently in the middle of a buyers’ market, so when your agent wants to show your home, you really need to oblige the request. It is very hard to sell a home to a buyer who cannot see the home. It is a shame to spend time and resources marketing a property so that the phone will ring with a qualified buyer interested in seeing a home, only to find out that the seller cannot accommodate the showing. Your home will not sell if it cannot be shown.
3. Curb Appeal
First impressions are very important. How many times have you that in life? Well, the same goes for your home. When a potential buyer arrives at your home for the first time, be it a showing, or a simple “drive by”, what does this buyer see? Is your home shown in its best form? Regardless of the time of year, the yard needs to manicured, the leaves cleaned up, the mulch freshened up, the ornaments properly placed, and the outdoor furniture arranged neatly. It is easy for the curb appeal to signal disarray, and this is an immediate turn off. It becomes harder to sell your home when starting from a negative impression.
4. Nose Appeal
There is no larger turn off than odor. I have been teased incessantly by my peers about baking cookies at an Open House. While I have never actually baked cookies, the concept of a pleasant scent upon the initial steps in the door has never been lost on me. A fresh clean smell to a home goes further than people care to believe. It is hard for a buyer to see themselves living in a home the stinks of pet odor, or is musty, or even worse, the smell of mold. When selling your home, be very cognizant of the things that can give your home a lack of nose appeal. Before a showing, be sure to take out the trash, think about what your cooking the night before a showing. Fish, garlic, and other strongly scented foods can give your home the wrong initial first impression in the form of a not so pleasant scent. The same goes for the pets.
5. Poor Home Maintenance
First impressions again. I fear I sound repetitive. Imagine a buyer walking up your driveway only to be greeted with peeling paint, debris dangling from the gutter, and the walkway to your front door has a tripping hazard. Inside you are greeted with loose tiles on the kitchen floor, door knobs that don’t function, and lights that don’t work because the bulbs simply need to be changed. A lack of attention to some of your homes details are easy for a seller to over look, but to a buyer these little things can be a glaring ad that states the home as been neglected. And with neglect as the first impression it makes one wonder what else is wrong with this house? This is not the thought pattern a buyer should be thinking while viewing your home. Sellers need to pay attention to the details so that home shows that it very much loved and cared for.
6. A Poorly Cleaned Home
Dust bunnies are not a good impression for a home. A home that is not totally spotless will turn away more buyers than I have room to write about. Dirty kitchens and bathrooms do little help a potential buyer to envision themselves living in your home. Not to mention that a poorly cleaned home can have the previously mentioned nose factor, it can also say poorly maintained. The “Wow Factor” goes up exponentially with home that is showroom clean. I am talking well dusted, with the glass on the windows spot free, and the kick-knacks properly placed. Not a spec of dust anywhere. A well cleaned home and be one of the simplest, cost effective things, a seller can do to help sell the home. Dust bunnies are neither cute, nor a strong selling factor.
Clutter is every real estate professionals enemy. Clutter says too small in that there is no room to put things away. Clutter shows a lack of cleanliness, and lack of upkeep. Too much stuff strewn around a room can be confusing to the eye, leaving a room to be too busy. If a buyer’s eye gets too caught up on what is in the room, they lose sight of the room itself. Further the buyer looses the ability to envision their things in said room. Box it up, put it way, start packing early, but the clutter needs to go, if you want show your home in its best fashion.
8. Wild Colors
A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in a home. A fresh paint job really makes a room, and a home, looked well cared for by its owner(s). But the paint color needs to be neutral. I have often said, “Day Glow Orange looks good in the Home Depot logo, but not in your living room.” Strong and bright colors nearly always elicit comments from buyers, and are rarely are these positive comments. These colors also detract from the home in that they become an item that needs to be addressed to the buyer. Or said differently, color can always be changed, but a cost. And when buyers see another cost over and above the purchase price, this can be detrimental the sales process. Many buyers will gravitate towards them home that needs the least work post closing.
Location is a key factor in the pricing of a home. Too many sellers overlook, or over value, the location of their home. While some locations are very sought after, there are those that are not so desired. Either way, placing too much emphasis on a prime location in pricing is just as dangerous as over looking a home with a lesser location. A choice location can add something to the value of a home, but in most instances this valuation is not significant. Conversely, a poorly located home really needs to factor location into its pricing. Location can be a killer for the sales process of a home. Over-weighting a good location can be as equally dampening to the ability to sell a home as under weighting a poorly located home.
10. Your Home is Over-Priced
Price is the number one reason a home will not sell. With today’s buyer able to complete extensive online research about homes and the comparable competing homes for sale, it becomes even harder, if not impossible, to sell a home at an inflated price. A home that is overpriced by a wide margin will get quickly overlooked. And an overlooked home, gets less traffic. And a home that does not get traffic, does not sell. Price is the issue in the absence of value. If your home’s price does not present itself in a value frame of light, it will not get attention, and may not sell in today’s market.