I was reminded yesterday by a Realtor in Westport, Washington, that I should update my blog more frequently. Each month, I provide a review of residential activity in the Florence market area and express a variety of thoughts and opinions. Going forward, I will include this information in my blog.
Speaking of blogs, I read a post by Alan May, a broker in Evanston, IL, who compiled a list of the seven reasons your house won't sell. With kudo's to Alan, here are his ideas and my additional thoughts:
1. Poor Photos. If your house has been on the market for awhile, check our your favorite real estate search engine, find your house, and look at the photos. This is where most buyers get their first impression of you home. Dirty dishes in the sink, a too dark photo resulting from a failed flash, a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry room, and my all time favorite, a photo of the garage door opener! Guess the listing agent was trying to fill up all 16 photo slots on their MLS site. There is a good reason those high-end real estate magazines use professional photographers! If any of these problems appear in your photos, have your agent reshoot them.
2. Overpriced. This seems obvious. Look at your home from your buyers perspective. In this market, pricing can cure a variety of condition ills. But don't forget, this is marketing afterall. If a prospective buyer, or their Realtor, feels your house is overpriced, it will probably not be shown. Period. If your Realtor recommends a price reduction, take it! Only you can fix this one.
3. Shows Badly. Nothing is more stressful than feeling you have to live in a model home. We all lead busy lives, and sometimes the lawn does not get mowed, leaves don't get raked, weeds don't get pulled - at this is just the outside! This is a no excuses item. Buyers have a difficult time getting over this one. If the outside looks unkept, chances are good they will not want to see the inside, and drive on by.
4. The local MLS is not enough. Listing agents should market your home through all of the best real estate web sites including Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Craigs List, Yahoo, Front Door, Homes and Land, and many more. Ask your Realtor if they pay to upgrade their listings on these sites.
5. Stale Listing. A few years ago, 90 days on the market was a long time. In Florence, we have listings 3-4 years old. I would say that 9-12 months old is a stale listing. Every market is different. Ask you Realtor, or her competitor, what you can do to sell your house.
6. Won't Appraise. This is not as obvious as it seems, especially if your home is unique. We have a solid cedar log home listed at a very good value, in my opinion. Very few comparables with this type of construction exist in our area. An appraiser or underwriter may have challenges today, which is not unreasonable. If your 3 bedroom, 2 bath tract house is under contract for $225,000 and the market value based on good comparable sales is $200,000, everybody missed the mark. Don't blame the appraiser or the bank on this one. Demand your Realtor give you sold comps when considering any offer. Stay a step ahead of the appraiser.
7. Unavailable to Show. This is really unfortunate. Our market has a large number of vacant homes which can be shown without appointments. These often get shown first to an impatient buyer. 1-3 hours notice for appointments is reasonable. It allows the seller to take care of Item 3 above, turn on the lights, and the heat. At least the beds can be made, dishes washed, toys picked up, etc. Selling an investment property with a 24 hour notice requirement to the tenant also looses buyers. Buyers agents need to coach their clients and give these properties a chance to be viewed.
Buyers, take advantage of the large selection of homes on the market today, lower prices, and the best interest rates in generations. Don't let this opportunity get away.
Sellers, do whatever it takes to become a buyer. See above.