House Not Selling in This Market? Here Are Some Reasons Why

By Kelly Leighton | Dec. 15, 2020 | 4 min. read

Most homes aren’t lasting long once they are officially listed on the market today.

Some properties are seeing bidding wars, while others are under contract within 24 hours. However, what do you do when you list a house and all you hear are… crickets? No frenzied phone calls from other agents trying to squeeze in a showing or frantic texts promising an offer by evening. What’s wrong?

“Not only will price be the factor for no showings, but I am finding that if the property is not in almost turnkey condition, people don’t want to schedule appointments either,” said District 6 Vice President Jodi Diego. “It amazes me how few buyers are really wanting to take on a project or personalize it, they want to have the work done already. In some price points, I get that.”

District 3 Vice President Eric Rehling agreed that the listing price may be a limiting factor.

“It definitely isn’t too common these days to have a home that is sitting around on the market,” said Rehling. “That said, we have had a few here at the office. From what I see, the main cause is the condition of the property relative to the price point. In each of the situations we have had, the home was not in great shape, however the seller was aware of the strong market, so they listed at a price that a fixed-up home would command.”

“Basically, because the headlines overwhelmingly talk about low inventory and the strong sellers’ market, it can become difficult to help a seller understand that price relative to condition still matters,” added Rehling. “We lean on the stats of our MLS to help guide this conversation. In our MLS, if a property is under contract within 30 days, the average sale-to-list price is 98%. However, a home on the market over 90 days averages a sale-to-list price of 85% of the current list price, which probably has been reduced from the original. By showing these figures, we try to help the seller understand that if their house is still on the market at 30 days, it usually pays to stay aggressive with the pricing, so the home doesn’t linger too long and become somewhat stigmatized.”

District 7 Vice President Sandy Stevens echoed the overpricing concerns, but also warned a house that isn’t presented in its best shape, it may stop buyers.

“If a house isn’t selling, it is usually overpriced, but another problem can be the house is very cluttered and/or dirty,” said Stevens. “The only way to tell the seller is by being honest. You can be honest while doing your best to make sure the seller understands that if they want or have to sell their home, they have a much better chance of selling the house and getting the highest price for the house if it is clean and neat. If they chose you to be their Realtor®, they must respect your abilities as a Realtor® and will respect and want your recommendations of how best to market their property. A good deep cleaning is recommended if needed, a coat of fresh paint helps, as well as a decluttering of closets and other objects that are laying around and not put in a proper place. Also, suggest a clean-up of the grounds and the entrance to a property. Use your eyes like a buyer would look at the property for the first time and talk with you seller and try to get them to do the same. Discuss what you are seeing and how that area can be improved upon.”

Stevens also suggested updating the comparative market analysis and go over the numbers with your sellers.

“Tell the sellers about the prospective purchasers who have looked at the property and what they have said. If they bought another property, tell them why they bought that property and not the sellers’ overpriced property. It helps to stay in touch with your sellers frequently and let them know feedback from your prospects as well as prospects of other agents.”

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