8 Critical Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling
Your home has been a great place. You’ve built your life there, shared many fond memories with loved ones, and now it’s time for new adventures. However, after listing your home for sale, prospective buyers might be scarce, and you could be asking yourself the question, “Why isn’t my house selling?” Our guide can help you answer that question by diving into common reasons why you have a house not selling, and can give you pointers on what you can change.
With some insider knowledge, you can make easy fixes that will increase buyer interest. Don’t worry — the inquiries will start coming in no time!
Why isn’t my house selling?
Homeowners who have properties that have been on the market for awhile often ask, “My house isn’t selling, what can I do?” To help you find answers, we asked experts to provide insight into some of the common hurdles homeowners encounter when trying to sell their homes and ways to solve them. Here’s what our experts have to say: You’re trying to go the “for sale by owner” route Veronica Sniscak, a realtor and partner at Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity, says some homeowners try selling the house themselves, which can come with some hurdles. “Dealing directly with a seller can be uncomfortable,” Sniscak says, “and at times, sellers don’t know how to properly handle such a complex transaction.” She says FSBO sellers can also overprice their homes: “[Sellers take] the commission into account that they would pay a listing agent, when in reality, the home should be priced lower to account for that, based on comparable sales with realtors.” Overall, if you’re inexperienced in selling your home, it makes sense to hire a realtor who has expertise and experience to do the heavy lifting. They will also have a sense of comparable properties in your area, so you can have a realistic view of how your home should be priced.
1. You’re trying to go the “for sale by owner” route
Veronica Sniscak, a realtor and partner at Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity, says some homeowners try selling the house themselves, which can come with some hurdles.
“Dealing directly with a seller can be uncomfortable,” Sniscak says, “and at times, sellers don’t know how to properly handle such a complex transaction.”
She says FSBO sellers can also overprice their homes:
“[Sellers take] the commission into account that they would pay a listing agent, when in reality, the home should be priced lower to account for that, based on comparable sales with realtors.”
Overall, if you’re inexperienced in selling your home, it makes sense to hire a realtor who has expertise and experience to do the heavy lifting. They will also have a sense of comparable properties in your area, so you can have a realistic view of how your home should be priced.
2. Your real estate agent might have been dishonest with their experience
Even though it’s always a good idea to consult the pros, make sure you find an experienced agent. If they’re new, you might find them struggling to learn on the job. Or, the real estate agent might have the experience, but it doesn’t mean they have a strong proven sales record.
If your house won’t sell, Sniscak suggests interviewing multiple professionals to compare offerings, experience, and personality. And don’t forget to ask for their stats on recent sales!
Need help finding a trustworthy and expert real estate agent? Read our guide on how to find a seller’s agent in five simple steps!
3. You didn’t stage your home
Sellers asking, “Why won’t my house sell?” might have forgotten a key factor: presentation. When setting up open houses, it’s important to stage your home, so customers can visualize living there.
Similarly to finding a good real estate agent, Sniscak says it’s also essential to find an expert stager.
“You need a pro to help you make the home look as good as possible,” she says. “This can be achieved with things already in the home, or if it’s already vacant, hire a staging company to bring in furniture.”
Sniscak says you should place your furniture in a way to maximize the space in that area. If furniture placement makes it difficult to walk around a living room or bedroom, then it can be a big turn off for buyers, who’ll view them home as small and cluttered.
You should also take a walk through your house and look at the paint colors. While hot pink might look good in a teen girl’s room, if another family plans to use it for an office, then a neutral color might be a better fit.
4. Your home smells like your home
Sure, you’re used to your dog’s smell, but that could be a huge problem for another buyer who doesn’t have a dog or, worse yet, has canine allergies. At the same time, you don’t want to Febreze bomb the place either, as the artificial smell will make the home seem cheaper. Before showing your home, do a deep clean.
“Make sure the home is spotless,” Sniscak says. “Not just the normal stuff, but baseboards, ceiling corners, HVAC vents and returns, grout on the tile floors, and even the garage.”
One effective way to remove pet or old smells is to steam clean your carpet. Not only could it remove unsightly stains, but it also freshens the smell in your home, adding to its appeal.
5. Your house might not be move-in ready
Ryan Fitzgerald, the owner of Uphomes, says buyers want a house they can move into immediately and be happy in.
“If your home is trashed, or in need of serious improvements, it will deter many of the people who aren’t ready to make the repairs themselves,” Fitzgerald says.
If this is the reason why no one is buying your home, you’ll want to consider doing some work or hiring a contractor to fix major issues. While this might take some time and extra expense, it’ll go a long way to making your home more favorable to prospective buyers.
6. Your home’s location isn’t attractive to buyers
Location is one of the most important factors influencing a person’s decision to buy. However, while you cannot change your home’s location, you can do other things to help people forget it’s next to an interstate or isn’t close to grocery stores or shopping centers.
“There are two things you can change about an area desirability issue: the price and the condition,” Fitzgerald says. Set a price that entices buyers and ensures the condition of the house is pristine. In addition, a savvy realtor will schedule showings when busy commuters aren’t whizzing by and highlight the peaceful, natural settings in rural areas.
7. Your selling price is unrealistic
The answer might be simple: Money. Overpricing is often the number one reason why homes don’t sell, according to Fitzgerald. This is why it’s vital realtors help sellers temper expectations.
“Realtors who allow their sellers to control price expectations are doing them a disservice,” he says. “When your home sits on the market, you devalue your house.”
One way to figure out the right price point is to compare the marketability of the home to similar units in the area. See how much these homes sell for and if they have the comparables your home has such as a fenced-in yard, finished basement, etc. This can help you ballpark your home’s market value.
Even if you lower the price after 60 days, people may assume something is wrong with it, or it priced out prospective buyers early on. Heed your Realtor’s advice, and Fitzgerald says you’ll not only end up selling, but you’ll more than likely enjoy multiple offers over list price.
8. The timing is wrong
Maybe you can’t get out of town soon enough, and you decided to list your home during a down market where homes aren’t budging. Fitzgerald suggests to wait it out and rent out your house if you must.
“The best times to sell a house are when there’s limited inventory,” he says. “Certain times of the year are better than others, and not every year is going to be the same.” Be sure to discuss timing with an agent who’s active with buyers and knows what the demand is like.
What to do when your house won’t sell:
You might have tried some of these suggestions but still haven’t had any success. Sometimes, it helps to think outside the box, so here are other solutions to try when you’re stuck with a house not selling:
- Change real estate agents: A new agent might offer you fresh perspectives. Make sure to ask around and compare multiple agents to find someone with experience getting houses sold.
- Improve your home’s curb appeal: A fresh coat of paint, new shrubs, a vibrant flower box, or just a great looking lawn helps prospective buyers see themselves living there.
- Discover the problem: If prospective buyers visit your home, but you don’t have offers, your home is too expensive. Conversely, if your home isn’t receiving many looks during an open house, you need to market more effectively — this is where an agent’s expertise can help.
- Your work might help: If you’re relocating for work, some companies might offer to buy your home to make the transition smoother. When working with human resources of your new company, ask them if they offer any assistance in this regard.
- Start fresh later: If you haven’t had any momentum and can afford to wait to sell later, then it’s ideal to do so. The longer a property sits on the market, the less appealing it becomes to buyers.
The bottom line
There are many reasons why your home isn’t selling. By using this guide, you can spot common hurdles homeowners have to overcome, as well as tips for finding the right agent. And by implementing these suggestions, you can improve your home’s marketability.
Frequently asked questions
How do I get rid of a house that won’t sell?
You can hire another real estate agent to provide a fresh perspective on ways to market it, lower the price of your home, or have someone rent it in the meantime.
What happens if my home won’t sell?
You’ll have to make a decision whether to take it off the market and try again later, lower the price to sell it now, or find renters to occupy the house until the timing is better.
What’s the biggest reason my house fails to sell?
Your home’s selling price is far too high. That’s why it’s imperative to consult with a real estate agent who can help you see what other similar homes in your area sell for, so you have a more realistic expectation of its market value.
Sean Jackson contributed to this article.