12 Common Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling: Explanation Behind Stagnant Listings

12 Common Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling: Explanation Behind Stagnant Listings

  • Charles Jacob
  • 04/24/24

12 Common Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling: Explanation Behind Stagnant Listings

Selling your home can quickly turn into a seller's worst nightmare. You put it on the market with high hopes for a quick sale, but instead, you're met with silence—no offers and minimal showing requests. It's a frustrating situation that demands action, especially if your home has been languishing on the market for more than a month.

The longer your property sits unsold, the more skeptical potential buyers become. They may start to wonder if there's something wrong with your home, whether their suspicions are valid or not. That's why it's crucial not to delay in making changes to improve your chances of selling.

To help you identify why your home isn't attracting buyers and what you can do about it, here are 12 common reasons your house may be struggling to sell, along with actionable steps to get your sale back on track.

  1. Overpricing: A Common Pitfall

One of the most prevalent reasons why homes fail to sell is overpricing. According to a survey conducted by HomeLight, over half of real estate agents have encountered situations where buyers backed out of contracts due to remorse over inflated home values.

According to data from the National Association of Realtors, 22% of recent sellers closed on their home after one price reduction.

While online estimators can provide a starting point, it's essential to seek the opinion of a real estate agent, especially if you set the price yourself. Agents have access to valuable market information that can help pinpoint the right price range.

Additionally, pay attention to feedback from open houses and showings. If visitors express disappointment in your home's quality compared to its price, it's a clear indication that pricing might be an issue.

Solution: In most cases, a price drop is necessary. While it may seem daunting, price reductions are common and often crucial for attracting buyers. The key is to make a significant adjustment rather than small incremental drops.

Regina Madiera-Gorden suggests strategic reductions based on showing activity. For homes with frequent showings but no offers, a smaller markdown may suffice, while homes with minimal interest may require a more substantial adjustment.

Be mindful of online price filters, as buyers typically search within specific price ranges. Adjusting your price to align with these increments can increase your home's visibility to potential buyers.

  1. Timing Matters: Don't Miss the Market's Peak

Real estate markets may not be as volatile as stocks, but they can undergo subtle shifts that affect selling dynamics. According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights reports for Summer 2023, market rebalancing is leading to more frequent price reductions as sellers adapt to changing conditions and increased buyer leverage.

Christine Radford, a top real estate agent in Jacksonville, Georgia, emphasizes that properly priced homes are selling swiftly, while those overpriced or lacking in condition tend to linger on the market. With discerning buyers waiting for the perfect property, sellers need to stay vigilant.

For instance, Regina Madiera-Gorden encountered sellers who aimed to list their home at a higher price than a similar property down the street that sold quickly. However, market conditions had shifted by the time they listed, necessitating a price adjustment.

Solution: Stay informed about market trends and assess buyer options in real-time. Madiera-Gorden and her daughter often take sellers on tours of comparable properties, providing valuable insights into how their home stacks up and what improvements can enhance its appeal.

Depending on the competition, sellers may opt to upgrade their home to match market standards or adjust the price accordingly. For instance, if neighboring listings boast newer furnaces while yours is significantly older, installing a new one could be a wise investment to align with buyer expectations.

  1. Targeting Specific Issues

Every showing, even if it doesn't result in a sale, provides valuable insights. Real estate agent Simpkins emphasizes the importance of collecting showing feedback to pinpoint any issues with your home.

Key questions to ask include: "What aspects of this home do you find problematic?" and "What changes would make you consider buying this home?"

Consistent feedback from multiple buyers highlights areas that need attention.

Solution: Once you've identified a problem, take action to address it. For instance, if buyers complain about the lack of natural light, consider adding lighting fixtures, decluttering to create a more open feel, or investing in professional window cleaning.

Similarly, if buyers struggle to visualize solutions to specific layout challenges, such as TV placement or furniture arrangement, update your staging to provide clear solutions.

Addressing significant cosmetic flaws or costly repairs can also improve your home's appeal. For example, replacing a damaged kitchen countertop can enhance the overall impression of the space.

While some issues may be beyond your control, such as high homeowners' association dues or noisy surroundings, adjusting the price can offset these drawbacks and make your home more attractive to buyers. As Simpkins aptly puts it, "Price cures all."

  1. Dealing with Unsuitable Buyers

Imagine your home needs significant repairs, from an aging roof to water damage that's beyond your financial means to fix. Or perhaps you listed your home hastily due to pressing circumstances, such as needing cash urgently or dealing with a family member's health issues. However, you're finding that traditional buyers aren't moving as quickly as you need them to.

In such situations, sellers in need of a quick sale may find that an off-market transaction is a more viable option. Traditional buyers can be particular about a home's condition, as highlighted in a NAR Generational Trends Report on Buyers and Sellers, where only 27% of buyers compromised on a home's condition.

Solution: Consider selling your home to a real estate investor, house-buying company, or iBuyer instead. These direct buyers are often more open to purchasing homes that require some TLC and typically offer all-cash deals. The process is straightforward: you provide details about your home, the buyer presents a cash offer, and you decide whether to accept or decline.

If this approach appeals to you, consider requesting a cash offer through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. By bypassing the traditional market process, you can receive a cash offer within 24 hours and close the deal in as little as 10 days. This streamlined selling experience offers a low-stress alternative to lengthy transactions that involve financing.

   5. Dealing with an Unconventional Property

Unconventional homes, whether large, high-end, or uniquely designed, may require a bit more time to find the right buyer.

For instance, Simpkins encountered a client's home featuring two complete living spaces under one roof, complete with separate kitchens, living rooms, and primary bedrooms on different floors. Despite its distinctive layout, Simpkins adjusted her marketing strategy to highlight potential uses such as Airbnb rentals or live-in suites for relatives.

Solution: First and foremost, patience is key. Unconventional homes often appeal to a niche market, so finding the perfect buyer may take time.

Secondly, reflect on what initially attracted you to the property. There are likely other buyers who share similar tastes and preferences.

Ensure your marketing efforts showcase the property's unique features in a positive light to resonate with potential buyers who appreciate its charm.

Lastly, expand your reach by targeting the right audience. In addition to online platforms, consider advertising in niche real estate websites, local community groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor, and even print publications tailored to your target demographic. This broad approach increases the likelihood of connecting with buyers who will value your home's distinctive qualities.

6. Addressing Poor Staging or Lack Thereof

During showings, potential buyers should be able to envision themselves living in your home, but that can be difficult if they're navigating through clutter or feeling overwhelmed by personal items.

Unstaged homes often appear cramped, dark, and uninviting, making it harder for buyers to connect with the space. Research confirms that well-staged homes tend to sell for more money and in a shorter amount of time compared to those with poor staging.

Solution: Start by decluttering and packing away personal items like family photos to create a more neutral and spacious atmosphere. This will allow potential buyers to focus on the features of your home rather than being distracted by clutter.

Consider making minor upgrades and repairs to enhance the overall appeal of your home. While it's understandable that you may not want to invest in significant renovations before selling, even small improvements can have a big impact on the perceived value of your property.

If your home is still occupied, focus on staging key areas such as the living areas, kitchen, bathrooms, and primary suite. Partnering with a professional stager can help you maximize the potential of your home without incurring upfront costs, as staging fees are often collected out of escrow.

Remember, less is more when it comes to staging. The goal is to highlight your home's best features while minimizing distractions. Focus on creating a clean, neutral, and inviting environment that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.

7. Addressing Poor Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is crucial because it's the first impression buyers get of your home. If your exterior looks neglected or uninviting, potential buyers may not even make it to the front door.

Simple improvements like painting, pressure washing, landscaping, and adding some flowers can make a significant difference in attracting buyers and increasing the perceived value of your home.

A recent survey by NAR found that 92% of Realtors recommend enhancing a home's curb appeal before selling, highlighting its importance in the selling process.

Solution: Start by sprucing up your landscaping. Consider trimming overgrown bushes, planting colorful flowers, and keeping the lawn well-maintained to create an inviting exterior.

Additionally, address any issues with your home's facade, such as peeling paint or broken fixtures. These minor repairs can go a long way in improving the overall appearance of your home.

Whether you choose to tackle these improvements yourself or hire a professional, investing in your home's curb appeal can pay off in attracting more buyers and potentially increasing your sale price.

8. Improving Your Listing Photos

Once you've put effort into staging and enhancing your home's curb appeal, it's crucial to showcase it effectively through high-quality listing photos. Gone are the days when amateur smartphone snapshots suffice.

Investing in professional photography can make a significant difference in attracting potential buyers. Madison Lord emphasizes the importance of professional photos, videography, drone footage, and virtual tours for every client, regardless of the property's condition.

According to the National Association of Realtors' 2021 Generational Report, nine out of ten buyers consider professional listing photos the most valuable feature when browsing homes online.

Solution: If your current listing photos fall short of professional quality, consider replacing them with professionally shot images. Discuss with your agent the possibility of incorporating video listings or 3D walkthroughs to further enhance your listing's appeal.

While some agents may cover the cost of professional photography as part of their services, if it's not included or you're selling the property independently, investing in professional media can yield substantial returns.

9. Enhancing Your Listing Description

A mundane listing description like "Four-bedroom, two-bath duplex located on Uptown Street" might have sufficed in the past, but in today's market, it's essential to infuse your description with imagination and allure to captivate potential buyers.

Instead of simply listing facts, delve into the essence of your home. Is it a charming Victorian or a sleek contemporary? Does it boast an owner's suite or offer proximity to exciting amenities like parks, colleges, or vibrant nightlife?

Solution: Go beyond the physical attributes and paint a vivid picture of the lifestyle your home offers. Imagine you're writing a love letter to your home, highlighting the features that make it special and appealing.

Regina Madiera-Gorden emphasizes the importance of selling a lifestyle rather than just a house. While basic MLS stats provide essential details like bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, your listing description should focus on evoking emotion and showcasing the potential for a fulfilling life within the home.

Instead of reiterating numerical data, concentrate on crafting a narrative that resonates with potential buyers, illustrating how they can envision themselves thriving in the space and creating cherished memories.

10. Revamping Your Marketing Approach

Relying solely on traditional methods like print ads and yard signs may not be sufficient to generate excitement or attract the right buyers in today's digital age.

In the words of Madison Lord, buyers typically discover homes online and then share them with their agents. Therefore, it's crucial, particularly in the current COVID-affected environment, to establish a strong online presence across various platforms, including social media and third-party websites.

Solution: Engage the expertise of a reputable real estate agent in your area who can assess your property, identify opportunities, and devise a comprehensive marketing strategy tailored to your needs.

Additionally, leverage resources like HomeLight's Seller Resource Center, which offers tools and assessments to help you evaluate and optimize your marketing efforts effectively.

11. Receiving Sound Guidance Matters

A seasoned local agent could help you navigate through almost every challenge outlined in this list.

Your chosen real estate professional should collaborate with you on crucial aspects such as pricing, staging, and enhancing curb appeal. They should also spearhead the marketing initiatives and analyze feedback from showings to determine necessary adjustments.

An anecdote shared by Simpkins underscores the importance of heeding expert advice. She once advised a client to enhance their backyard's privacy by installing a bamboo fence and making other improvements. However, the seller opted for a different agent and subsequently faced challenges. After renting out the property, the tenant caused significant damage, leading to costly repairs. Regretting the decision, the seller sought Simpkins' representation, and upon implementing her recommendations, they received an offer within a week of relisting the property.

Solution: Ensure that you're collaborating with an agent who possesses expertise in your local market or the specific type of property you're selling. Advice from agents who are unfamiliar with your area or property type can be risky.

As Madison Lord highlights, agents from different areas may misjudge pricing or fail to properly highlight key features and neighborhood attributes. Choosing the wrong agent can result in accepting a lower offer or enduring prolonged listing periods.

HomeLight's data indicates that the top 5% of agents nationwide sell single-family homes faster and for up to 10% more than average agents. If you're uncertain about finding the right agent, HomeLight can provide recommendations for up to three qualified and top-performing agents in your area.

 12. Being Too Hands-On Can Hinder Your Sale

Sometimes, it's challenging to loosen your grip. Even if you're transitioning to your ideal home, the emotional attachment and memories tied to your current property hold significant value beyond just financial worth.

"Some sellers have a strong desire to micromanage the selling process," notes Madiera-Gorden. For instance, they may insist on being present at all showings, either themselves or through their agent.

However, the seller's constant presence can create discomfort. "Buyers feel watched, inhibiting their ability to explore the house freely and envision it as their own," explains Lord.

Solution: Releasing control requires a bit of determination and a treat at a cozy coffee shop or upscale wine bar.

"The transition is smoother when sellers hand over the reins and trust their real estate professional to manage the process," says Lord. "It tends to yield better results for everyone involved."

Header Image Source:housedigest.com
Credits: homelight.com


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