There's a long list of reasons why homes don't get sold. But, there are some reasons that are far more common than others.
Based on nearly 50 years of selling real estate, I've narrowed down the top 5 reasons homes don't get sold,
and I'm passing this info along to you to help you avoid making these common mistakes that will likely prevent your home from being sold.
If you prefer, you can listen to the audio version, or continue reading the rest of this post.
1. The House is Over-Priced.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that most things that are overpriced don't get sold. And, in real estate, most buyers, they don't even look at homes that are overpriced. Why would they? They don't want to waste their time.
More important to understand, is that an overpriced home tells a buyer, "This guy isn't really interested in selling. He's fishing for a fool. And I'm no fool."
But, why was the house over-priced?
This is a really important question. And, the most likely reason is that the real estate agent was too weak or not sufficiently knowledgable about the home's local market to tell the homeowner, "Your property is way overpriced and it's not going to get sold."
The agent should also have told the seller, "Worse than that, what's going to happen is that when you put your house on the market and it doesn't get sold, the house is going to get a bad reputation. And it's not going to get shown. And when you really decide that it's time to change the price and get it sold, you're not going to get people to look at it for a long, long time. Because it's already got a bad reputation."
2. Homes Don't Get Sold Because of Terrible Photographs and Video
In today's real estate market, the first place buyers look at homes is online. They're looking on ealtor.com, zillow.com, and other major websites. And, the first thing they do is look at the photos to see if the house looks appealing to them.
But, if the photos that they see look terrible, they get a negative impression of the home and move on to the next listing.
So, if you hire a real estate agent to list your home and if they use an iPhone to photograph and/or video your home, what does that tell you about the agent?
Keep in mind, you're going to pay this agent, thousands of dollars to get your home sold for the top price. And, the only way you can get top price is by creating competition from more than one buyer for your home.
So, if you've got a moderately priced $400,000 house, you're going to pay that, let's say 4% to 5% - that means, you're going to pay that agent $16,000 - $20,000 in commission. And, they're using an iPhone?
I don't mean to disparage iPhones; I have one,
But, as good as their built-in camera is, it was never intended for commercial use. It cannot compete or replace the quality of a high-end digital single-lens reflect (DSLR) camera for either still photos or video.
As a seller, you should NEVER work with an agent who won't provide you with professional quality photos or video.
3. Part-Time Agents
Now, there's nothing wrong with being a part time agent. Just like there's nothing wrong with being a part time doctor, or a part time lawyer, or part time dentist.
In fact, there are many school teachers and retirees who have a real estate license and get one or two listings a year.
The problem, is that they don't have an advertising or marketing budget. So, they don't advertise your home, or market your home to other agents and prospects.
These part-time agents typically put your home in the MLS, and the MLS will put it out on some of the major websites, and that's the end of their involvement (aside from holding an Open House - a totally useless exercise).
But, a part-time agent isn't going to hire a professional photographer. In fact, they probably wouldn't even know a professional real estate photographer to hire.
Part-time agents also don't have a continual flow of buyer inquiries through at any given year, because they don't really sell real estate. It's not what they do. They don't rely on selling real estate to earn a living. They have a different full time job and get paid every week or every month.
Because listing your home doesn't cost them anything, if your home actually sells (by some stroke of luck), they see their commission as "extra money." It's not what they do for a living.
4. The New Real Estate Agent
Another reason why a lot of homes don't get sold, is because the homeowner hired a new real estate agent.
Don't misunderstand. There's nothing wrong with new real estate agents, in a generic sense. Every real estate agent, including me, was new at one point in time.
But, when I started out, it was a different world a half a century ago in 1971.
However, in today's world, selling residential real estate is so much more complex. It's a consumer oriented world. There are regulations and requirements that were never thought about decades ago.
There are numerous disclosures, rules associated with showing property, disclosures associated with the various types of agency relationships with a buyer and a seller, federal and state fair housing regulations, and so much more.
The problem with new real estate agents is that they don't get any training. They get a license, but that just a starting point.
Listing your house with a new real estate agent is taking a big chance. It's like expecting somebody with a new driver's license is going to be capable of driving across the country on all types of roads, in all types of weather, in all types of traffic, and getting from point A to point B, without any problem, just like an experienced driver. But, that's not realistic.
It's also not realistic to expect a new, untrained real estate agent is going to be able to successfully market your home, and competently deal with buyers, other agents, and all of the complexities of selling your home in compliance with the endless list regulatory requirements.
5. Homes Don't Get Sold Because of Uncooperative Sellers.
Some sellers are their own worst enemies.
One of the worst problems all real estate agents face, including me from time to time, is the home seller who refuses to show their home at all reasonable times
Other sellers sometimes refuse to provide the legally required disclosure information about their property.
Some sellers who want to sell "as is" refuse disclosures because they think if they disclose things that the buyer will require them to fix the problem(s), which just isn't true.
The fact is, no matter the condition or the event, or the conditions that a seller sets for selling, the seller is LEGALLY REQUIRED to disclose anything "material" they know about the property. And, it doesn't matter whether or not they ever occupied the property, even if they're a lender in possession of a foreclosed property; they must disclose what they know.
And if the agent knows something "material" about the property, the agent must tell all prospective buyers; it's it's not a choice.The agent must disclose or they could be held liable.
Property history and condition are very serious issues and must be dealt with according.
Bonus Info about Why Homes Don't Get Sold
As we've learned, homes don't get sold for a variety of reasons. Here are a couple of tips that will ensure your home DOES get sold the first time out for the best possible price in the most reasonable period of time.
The best way you can ensure the greatest opportunity to get your property sold in a reasonable period of time for your market conditions and your market area is to hire a competent professional real estate agent. Somebody who actually knows what they're doing. Someone with experience.
Ask for their resume. You want to see their professional credentials. You want to know what they've done. How long they've been in the business. if they're full-time or part-time.
And, if you have a new agent that wants to list your property, and you like this real estate agent, you have to be sure you're going to be working with someone you can trust.
You have to know that they're being truthful with you, and that they're going to represent your best interests; that they're not going to work against you for their own best interests.
Assuming this new really bright eyed new real estate agent is in front of you, and they're, they're really eager to try to do their best. One of the things you want to know is, are you going to be working with an experienced agent as a mentor on this? Is this experienced agent actually going to work with you? Are you going to share your fee with that experienced agent so that they have something at stake to help you with this sale?
And if they say, "yes," ask to meet that experienced person. You want to talk with them to find out about that person's knowledge and experience.
In my case, when I have a new agent, I go out with them if the new agent gets the lead. I'm there to assure the seller that I'm going to be working hand in glove with this new real estate agent. That the new agent isn't going to be working alone.
I assure the seller that I will direct the activities of the new agent, make sure that the property is shown professionally, that the property is advertised properly, and marketed properly.
And, when it comes time to negotiate the contract, I assure the seller that I will be there with this agent and we'll go over the entire contract with the seller and will make sure the seller understands everything.
In short, I assure the seller that we, the new agent and I, are going to work this together from beginning to closing.
As the seller, you also want to make sure that you get a list of all of the services that that agent is going to perform for you. Get a written list that itemizes everything that agent is going to do for you, and have the agent sign it.
Personally, I have a list of 30 things that I do for every seller that I work with, and every one of my agents work with. And, that list is incorporated into our listing agreement.
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