Why isn’t my home selling? It’s a question that wracks the brains of many homeowners when their property sits on the market for longer than a month or two. Sometimes making one or two adjustments will fix your problem. Other times, you have to rethink your ideal buyer.
So your home isn’t selling and you think there’s something wrong. According to Realtor.com, the median home sells within 65 days. If your house has been on the market for much longer, it’s understandable if you’re worried.
In some cases, simple fixes could increase the visibility or salability of your home and allow you to sell to a traditional buyer. If these adjustments don’t work, it might be time to consider selling to an investor.
First, Don’t Freak Out
We get it, you’ve probably lived in and loved your home for many years, so the idea of selling it to an investor might give you pause. Maybe it’s the idea that they’ll change the fireplace where you took holiday photos which makes your stomach turn, or maybe it’s the chance that they’ll rent the house to people who’ll make your friends and neighbors’ lives miserable. Maybe you think residential real estate is the one area companies should stay out of.
These feelings are understandable. But if your home isn’t selling via traditional channels, you may need to consider either a traditional investor or one of the newer online options. (Read Pros and Cons of Selling Your House via Cash Offer.)
But first, let’s try to fix the minor problems.
Home Selling Tips: Why Isn’t My House Selling?
You’re selling in winter. If you’re selling your home during the winter, you’re selling at the wrong time — especially if you live in an area that gets inclement weather. But even if you’re in Florida or Southern California or some other place that gets 360 days of sun a year, winter is a bad time to try to sell your house.
In 2017, 38% of buyers had children under 18 at home, and what are those children doing during the winter months? They’re in school. And what are parents loathe to do during the school year? Anything that causes them more stress, work, or disrupts their children’s lives.
The Fix: Wait. If you can take your home off the market until late spring, you’ll have a much higher chance of selling it than you do right now. If you don’t have that flexibility, then you should consider finding an investor to buy your house. You might have to sell at below market value, but because investors usually buy with all cash, the sale could close as quickly as you can agree on a price. And that’s better than waiting for the weather to turn.
There’s a lot of competition. When there are a lot of homes for sale in your neighborhood, it’s difficult to make yours stand out. Buyers today want updated kitchens and bathrooms, as well as contemporary lighting fixtures and hardwood floors.
Tour the other homes for sale in your area to see what updates owners have made. Ask yourself, how does my home compare? Buyers usually look for homes in the same neighborhood so if your property isn’t as nice as the competition, you’ll have a hard time selling it
The Fix: Update your home. There are lots of fast and inexpensive ways to update your home, from adding a fresh coat of paint to installing a backsplash. But sometimes that might not cut it. Sometimes competing with the other homes would require a major renovation and you don’t have either the time or the money. If this is the case, you might want to consider selling your home to an investor. They usually buy properties as-is so even structural issues aren’t issues at all.
You can’t even get people in the door. If your home has been on the market for a while and you’ve had few, if any, showings, your problem could be marketing.
The Fix: Better marketing. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my agent motivated?
- Has my home been listed on the multiple listing services (MLS)?
- Does the listing have (lots of) great photos as well as a property description that showcases the best attributes of my home?
All of these are easy to fix. You can fire your agent and hire a new one, you can hire a professional photographer or take great photos yourself, you can write your own property description, and you can list your home on MLS yourself.
Most real estate agents recommend hosting open houses on non-holiday Sunday afternoons. If you haven’t held an open house, or haven’t held one at the recommended time, try it! Just make sure to advertise at least two weeks in advance.
If you fix your marketing and you still get no action after a few weeks, it might be time to consider an investor. You can even hire a real estate agent who specializes in investor transactions to guide you through the process.
Selling your home to an investor might not be your preferred option, but if your home has lingered on the market without so much as a nibble, you should consider it. Investors usually pay in cash, which speeds up the purchase process considerably, and most of the time they accept properties as-is. This means you don’t have to spend time and money you don’t have or might not recoup in the purchase price.
An investor will likely want to buy your home at a price below market value and while that might feel unfair, it also gives you the opportunity to move on.