Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable general contractors, we know the importance of selling a home quickly and at a good price – that’s why we invited Julia Weaver from Redfin (an online real estate brokerage) to discuss her take on why homeowners may be struggling to sell their homes.
Guest post by Julia Weaver:
In a perfect world, the home selling process would be straightforward and quick. You’d list your home for sale, schedule house tours, receive multiple offers, and sell your house fast and above list price. Unfortunately, selling your home isn’t always that simple and your home could end up sitting on the housing market longer than you anticipated.
As a seller, there are few things more frustrating than your home not selling and having no idea why. Let’s dive in and discuss six likely reasons your home isn’t selling, and address how to fix the problems.
1. Your Home Needs Improvements
Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities, including keeping your home and property in good condition. Sure, you might vacuum, dust, and mop regularly – but in today’s market, that sometimes isn’t enough. You may need to put a little time and money into your home so you can receive more offers and sell your house quickly. Furthermore, if you’ve had buyers interested in your home, but maintenance problems are encountered during the home inspection, you could end up losing the sale.
What’s the solution?
Before trying to sell your house, start researching what other similar homes are being sold for. Make sure to only compare homes in close proximity to yours. So, if you live in North Atlanta, GA, only compare your home to others in your neighborhood. If other sellers in your price range have new carpeting, a recently remodeled kitchen or bath, or new flooring throughout, they’ll likely outshine your listing.
Research your options and record which home upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck in your market. Hire a professional to avoid any costly DIY mistakes. They can save you time and money, and the end result will likely be just what you were hoping for. Ultimately, working with a professional will reduce your stress and increase your satisfaction with the project.
To avoid hidden problems that may be discovered during an inspection such as foundation damage, rodent activity, or a leaking roof, get a pre-inspection report before putting your home on the market. This will give you time to make the necessary repairs and get your home ready to sell so interested buyers don’t withdraw their offer after they see the inspection report.
2. Your Home is Priced too High
Pricing a house too high happens more often than you might think. Resisting the urge to overprice your home is never easy. The longer your home stays on the market, the more likely it is that you’ll need to drop the asking price. Typically, if a home sits on the market longer than other homes in your neighborhood, buyers will assume it’s because something is wrong with it.
What’s the solution?
Pricing your home can be complex with several different data points to take into account. Take a look at what similar homes in your area are listed for, research what homes have recently sold for in your neighborhood, and use an online calculator for a home value estimate. Your agent will also be able to work with you to identify the right price to sell your house competitively.
3. Your Home is Cluttered and Dirty
It happens to all of us. Your daily mess just becomes junk that you overlook day-by-day. But trust me – the piles of paper, boxes of toys, and mounds of clothes will definitely be noticed by potential buyers. Clutter will distract buyers from your home’s best features and will make the space appear smaller.
Life gets busy, and sometimes you just don’t have time to clean your home between work, picking the kids off from school, and dropping them off at soccer practice. But, deep cleaning your home is an essential step if you want to sell your house.
What’s the solution?
As you’re decluttering, be sure to pack away family photos, excess books, clothes, and knickknacks. Instead of stashing your stuff in closets, box up what you don’t need and consider renting a storage unit to clear out some of your belongings. You can also donate items or dump any damaged or broken belongings to avoid the same stuff piling up at your new home. You may want to work with a professional organizer. They will be able to help you make the process much easier and more efficient.
After you’ve decluttered, the next step is cleaning your house from top to bottom. Wipe and dust every surface, decoration, and window inside and out. Mop and vacuum carpets and floors. Pay attention to the smell of your home, and be sure to get a second opinion. Pets, kids, food, and other conditions can make your home smell and discourage potential homebuyers. If you don’t have the time to do it right, hire a professional cleaning service—it will be worth it. They’ll be able to reach every nook and cranny of your home to leave it shining so you can sell your house quickly and for more money.
4. You Haven’t Staged your Home
One great thing about owning a home is being able to show off your personal taste through furniture, paint colors, photographs, and decorations. But even if your taste isn’t overly bold, it still might not sit well with potential buyers. Buyers want to be able to visualize the home as a good fit for themselves.
According to a recent survey, 83% of buyers’ agents agreed that a staged home helped their buyer picture themselves living there. Bright paint colors and decoration may have been your style, but when trying to sell your house, the decor should always be neutral. Potential buyers should be able to focus on the features of your home and not your belongings.
What’s the solution?
Presenting a well-maintained home and giving a positive first impression is so important when you sell your house. And although staging is optional, it really shouldn’t be. A staging professional’s job is to stage your home in a way that will emphasize the property’s strengths and minimize its weak points. This will allow your home to be shown at its maximum potential. They’ll be able to give your home the final touch it needs to stand out from the competition and appeal to the majority of buyers.
Staging a home can be as simple as rearranging furniture or moving large items into storage. Or, you may prefer to have the staging company bring furniture, artwork, decor, lights, greenery, and area rugs to stage your home. If you’re working with a tight budget, focus on the entryway, living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom. It’s also important to create a blank canvas by stowing away family photos and any other personal items.
5. Your Listing Photos are not Professional Quality
If your home doesn’t need upgrades and it’s priced appropriately, it may be your listing that is falling short. Photos are the first thing a potential homebuyer will see and may determine whether they request a tour or not. Nowadays, poorly-lit pictures captured on an iPhone won’t bring in potential buyers, and research shows that professional photos can help sell your house faster and for more money. Buyers expect top-notch photos that show off your home’s best features.
What’s the solution?
No matter how great the rest of the listing is, if the photos don’t pique any interest and get buyers excited about touring it, then you likely won’t have any offers. Make your home stand out against the competition with professional photos. Real estate photographers know the correct lighting, angles, and minor details that capture your home’s selling points and will leave a great first impression.
6. Your Curb Appeal isn’t Appealing
Take a walk around your neighborhood and pay attention to the homes that appear inviting and note what about the property makes it that way. Is it the green lawn and the neatly cut hedges? The fresh coat of paint? The stone walkway? Now, walk past your home and try to picture yourself as a potential buyer. What needs work? The first impression your home gets from a buyer is important and it often starts with the exterior of your home. Strong curb appeal has the ability to bring more buyers to your door.
What’s the solution?
Preparing the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. After all, many buyers won’t feel compelled to tour your home if it doesn’t look nice from the outside. A well-maintained exterior, including everything from landscaping to exterior paint, will bring buyers through your door increasing the likeliness of your home selling quickly.
Hire a professional to spruce up the exterior of your home. Your lawn, hedges, trees, and other plants should be neat and there shouldn’t be any visible weeds. Have your windows washed, and consider hiring a power washing company to clean your siding and any walkways. If you can, add an outdoor living space in your backyard, perhaps a deck or patio.
The longer your home sits on the market, the less appealing it will become to buyers. Identify what is preventing potential buyers from making any offers and fix the issues as soon as possible. This way, you can sell your house quickly.
When it comes to planning and coordinating a renovation for your home, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – Greatbuildz can help simplify your renovation experience. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com
Julia Weaver works on the content marketing team at Redfin, an online real estate brokerage. She loves writing home improvement content with helpful advice for homeowners for getting the most out of their biggest investment!