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Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011   /   by Ira Miskin

Why Isn’t My House Selling?

In today’s roiling housing market there are a lot of reasons why a home isn’t selling. Many are actually true! But when you boil down all the theories about why a home isn’t selling it comes down to just three fundamental elements: Marketing, Presentation and Price.

There are two ways to market a home, “passive selling” and “active, innovative marketing.” Passive selling is placing a sign in the yard, listing the home in the multiple listings, offering the home on the office tour, occasionally running an open house and waiting for an offer to come in. All too often that is the level of service provided. Advertising and marketing is expensive. These days if your home is advertised at all it may be incorporated into a broker’s ad featuring five or ten or twenty homes in a single ad. A confident full service Realtor will go way beyond that level of service. Their marketing strategy will be active, innovative marketing. They will sell your home’s benefits, not its features. They will target market to Buyers looking for the benefits your home has to offer. “Walking distance to schools.” “Large, private, level, fenced rear yard.” “Quiet, low traffic cul-de-sac home site.” “Awesome lake views.” Buyers are looking for homes that fit their needs, wants and wishes. Print ads are great. But how about the Internet with distribution to high traffic real estate portals that syndicate your home’s listing to dozens, sometimes hundreds of real estate sites nationwide?

Great presentation of your home is vital to a sale. Did your Realtor spend the time walking through your home with a checklist of items that make homes saleable? A home should be clean, neat and uncluttered. Small details that Buyers always notice like carpet stains, fingerprints on walls, household cooking odors, cracked switch plates, dark colors in key rooms like the dining room, family room or master bedroom, unkempt shrubbery and uncut lawns… the list of easy to fix and usually inexpensive repairs that make a home attractive, bright, welcoming easy to view. The exact things Buyers react positively to. Did your Realtor take you to other homes for sale in the area that are similar to yours and show you what the competition looks like? How about a home in your sub division that sold in less than a month? What made that home so attractive to the Buyer?

The old saw: “price fixes everything” is true. Make a home price cheap enough and someone will buy it. But that’s not the point of understanding price. Great marketing will get Buyers to preview an internet feature but price gets them to preview the home. The Buyer is looking at value vs. price. If the home has the features they are seeking – number of bedrooms, bath rooms, location, style – and the benefits of the home are appealing, does the home’s price equate in their mind’s eye with their perception of the home’s value? On the selling side you as well as your Realtor want to sell the home for the highest attainable price. Does the price your home is offered for meet the value expectations of the Buyers seeking homes like yours? In this or any market there is often a discernable difference between what you want to receive for your home and what the market is willing to pay. Has your Realtor done a thorough Market Analysis and developed an achievable pricing strategy? Were you shown, with statistics to back it up, what the market is saying your home – “in show quality condition” is actually worth? Chances are it may conflict with what you want or “need” to net from the sale of your home. Did your Realtor give you a preliminary market analysis to see what your home’s completion is, even before you met?

These are not easy time for Sellers. When you chose a Realtor, be sure they understand the three key reasons why homes do, or don’t sell: Marketing, Presentation and Price.

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