3 Reasons your Home isn’t Selling

A home languishing on the real estate market is one of life’s more frustrating ordeals. Especially if you’ve owned the home for some time, there’s that emotional attachment that tells you, “Hey, this is an incredible house. It should sell really fast!”

If you’re under contract on another home or if you need to relocate there is also the need for speed.

There is no reason, at least not in the current market, that a home in good condition and in a desirable area shouldn’t sell. Homebuyers are clamoring for these homes.

There are several common reasons that homes don’t sell and one of these may just be the solution to your problem.

1. The home is overpriced

The most common reason a home sits on the market is because it’s overpriced. Asking too much for the home could be a result of you ignoring your real estate agent’s pricing advice,  an error on the part of your real estate agent or because the market corrected and your agent didn’t notice.

Regardless of the reason why, you’ll need to drop your price, as soon as possible, to renew interest in it and get it sold.

In a nutshell, homes sell for what buyers are willing to pay, not what sellers hope to get. The only way to know what a buyer is willing to pay for a home like yours is to check the sale prices (not the asking price of active listings) of homes similar to yours.

If it’s less than what you’re currently asking, I urge you to drop the price. The price reduction may just be the key to getting more buyers through the front door and, thus, to the home selling. 

2. Your home needs work

We’ve noticed that the homes that sell the fastest are priced right and they’re in good condition. What do I mean by “good?” They have curb appeal – the exterior reflects pride of ownership, not necessarily opulence. The trim is painted, the siding is in good condition and the landscaping is tidy.

Inside, the paint is fresh, the carpets clean and the house is neat. The buyer has the impression that he or she can move right in and not have to work to make the home livable.

Because we tend to be “married” to our homes and don’t notice their flaws, the ideal way to get feedback on its condition is for your agent to solicit it from the buyers’ agents who’ve brought their clients to the home.

If your agent isn’t doing this, he or she is doing you a disservice. Ask your agent to do the follow-up – you are, after all, paying him or her. Which leads us to reason number 3 that your home isn’t selling.

3. You have a lousy real estate agent

Your real estate agent’s primary job is to market your home. If it’s priced right and in good condition, the next biggest reason it’s not selling is because you have an agent who is failing at the marketing game.

Get together with your agent and find out what is being done to market the home. If the only marketing that’s been done is a sign in the front yard and an MLS listing and, perhaps, a blurb on the freebie websites, consider finding another agent.

It’s a lesson many homeowners learn the hard way: Never hire an agent that doesn’t consistently make enough money to offer a powerful marketing plan. It’s the essence of what you’re paying for and you should demand the service you deserve.

If you follow numbers one and two, above, and you are convinced your agent is doing a stellar job, ask yourself if you’re flexible enough in showing the home.

We know from our own listing clients that the worst part of selling the home is having to keep it in model-home condition despite life continuing to happen – kids, pets, guests and all of that.

Buyers work too, and often the only time they have to look at homes is in the evening or on weekends. Accommodating last-minute requests to see the home earns bonus points (at least with us!) and gets you even closer to selling the home.

Even in the hottest sellers’ markets there are slow periods, so if you’ve done all you can to ensure that your home is competitive, relax and give it more time.

The 3 Most Common Home Pricing Mistakes

Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where one of the homes for sale seems to sit for an especially long time with fewer and fewer people viewing it?

It’s a nice enough home, right? Lots of curb appeal and you’ve seen the interior and it’s delightful.

So, why isn’t it selling?

In a word?

Overpriced

Even worse, if it was originally overpriced and has experienced a series of price reductions, the home is stigmatized.

What this means is that homebuyers think that there is something wrong with the home and most of them won’t even bother to look at it.

So, if you’re considering selling your home and want to “experiment” with pricing, beware of these 3 common home pricing mistakes.

1. Pricing too high out of the gate

It’s common knowledge in the real estate industry that overpriced homes take longer to sell.

Now, don’t take that to mean that eventually you’ll get your price, because if you’re overpriced, you won’t

In fact, plan on making 5 percent less than your listing price if the home sits on the market for two months with no offers.

At today’s national average home price, 5 percent represents more than $14,000. Unless you overpriced the house by that much, that’s a loss that has to hurt.

But, this is even worse

According to a March 2012 study performed by MIT’s Center for eBusiness, homes that remained on the market substantially longer than average suffered a $32,000 reduction in the eventual sales price.

If this isn’t enough to show you the importance of pricing the home appropriately when it goes on the market, I don’t know what is.

The first lesson in pricing real estate is, that to realize the most money you can from the sale of your home, price it right.

2. Relying on online home price estimates

Admit it, you’ve checked your home’s Zestimate at Zillow.com, right?

Unfortunately, many homeowners do just that and don’t understand that there is simply no way anyone can make an accurate estimate of market value without having seen the home.

Furthermore, since sites such as this don’t have access to all of the MLS listings and, most significantly, the sold listings (which is what market value is based on), their algorithm is faulty.

The company admits that their “median error rate” is about 8 percent, according to Kenneth R. Harney in the L.A. Times.

Harney goes on to remind us that 8 percent is the national error rate and, because all real estate is local, the rate varies by region. “In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%,” he continues.

Never rely on a website’s estimate of your home’s value

The only way to truly know how much your home is worth is to have it professionally appraised. The second best way is to ask a real estate agent to compile a comparative market analysis (CMA).

Since agents use many of the same techniques as appraisers, they typically match or come quite close to the appraised value of a home. 

3. Basing your price on your neighbor’s asking price

When you consider putting your house on the market, it’s only natural to want to know what your neighbors are asking for their homes.

Keep in mind, however, that this figure represents what your neighbor hopes to get for his or her home, not its actual market value.

The true market value of a home is based on what buyers actually paid for nearby homes, similar to yours.

I like to think of list price as “fantasyland” and sales price as reality

To that end, I try to dissuade my home-selling clients from basing the price of their home on some pie-in-the-sky figure that may not reflect reality.

Determining the value of a home includes far more than checking sales prices. I am happy to show you – at no obligation — what I do to determine the current value of homes and to provide you, free of charge, an analysis of your home’s value. Call me any time.

2 Important Forms You’ll Need To Sign When You Sell Your Home

 

 

Like practitioners in any profession, real estate agents and brokers have a unique vocabulary, they usher their clients through a distinct process and provide industry-exclusive legal paperwork.

Because agents and brokers use the latter, daily, they are so familiar with it that many tend to forget that their clients are not. None of us want to appear clueless, so many real estate consumers keep quiet and don’t ask questions about things they don’t understand.

Today we’ve decided to fix that by introducing you to two of the most important forms that your listing agent will ask you to sign.

Agency Disclosure

The first thing to understand about “agency” is that it is a legal term that applies to a relationship in which one party is representing another in dealings with a third party.

When selling your home, your real estate agent is his or her broker’s agent – representing the broker in her dealings with you.

Your real estate agent will then represent you in your dealings with buyers. Confusing? Yes, a bit.

Think of the real estate agent as the middle-man or woman, standing in for the person who holds the broker’s license when dealing with you and representing you when dealing with the buyer.

One of the first forms you’ll be asked to sign (if not the first) is an agency disclosure.

It is “a written explanation, to be signed by a prospective buyer or seller, explaining to the client the role that the broker plays in the transaction,” according to “Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms.”

The disclosure form explains the various types of agency relationships in effect in your state.

The most common relationships are single agency (the broker represents only one party in the transaction), designated agency (when the buyer and seller are represented by two agents from the same brokerage) and dual agency (when one agent represents both the seller and the buyer, illegal in eight states).

The agency disclosure form is not a contract. When you sign it, you are merely acknowledging that the broker has disclosed the agency relationship.

Listing Agreement or Contract

This is typically the second form you’ll sign and it gives the broker and her agents the right to offer the home for sale. The listing agreement must contain the following if the broker is a member of the National Association of Realtors:

  • The price at which the home will be offered for sale.
  • A beginning and ending date.
  • The amount of broker compensation and the terms and conditions under which it will be paid.
  • Authorization for the broker to cooperate with other brokers and how the broker that brings in the buyer will be compensated.
  • Authorization for your broker to either reveal or not reveal the existence of previous offers.

Other items you may find in the purchase agreement include:

  • Authorization for the broker to install a sign and lockbox.
  • Items the seller wants excluded from and included in the sale.
  • Seller’s warranty that he or she owns the home and that there is no pending notice of default.
  • Authorization for the broker to advertise the home in the Multiple Listing Service database and/or online.

The listing agreement is a contract, so read and understand everything in it before signing.

 Another important piece of paperwork you’ll be asked to sign is the homeowner’s disclosure, which we’re happy to explain to you.

Selling your home is a paperwork-intensive undertaking, but nothing compares to the stack of papers you’ll be required to sign at closing. But, that’s a subject for another post.