Issues That Are Keeping Your Home From Selling

Selling a home can be challenging enough without outside(or inside) issues making it even harder on you.  While many of the problem areas below can be remedied, there are some that you won’t have any control of fixing.  I know it stinks but sometimes the only way to sell an un-sellable home is to lower the price.

Let’s get into some of the…..

Issues That Are Keeping Your Home From Selling

Your House is Over-Priced

This is a very common home sale killer but it’s the easiest to remedy, if you’re financially able to do it.  Sellers are famous for thinking that their home is worth more than it really is.  Shoot, I’ve been guilty of it too and I do this for a living.  So, people get it honest but in order to sell their home, they will have to come to grips on the facts.  

Buyers are becoming more savvy when it comes to real estate these days and quite frankly, their Realtor has an obligation to get them the best price based on current market conditions.  No matter what kind of market you’re in, you are killing the sale of your property if you over-price it.  Your listing agent could be the best marketer in town, have 12 real estate websites, and be a social media genius but if your home is priced $25,000 over similar properties, it won’t matter.  

Be realistic and work with a Realtor who can analyze the market.  The goal is to get to the closing table in a “reasonable” amount of time without leaving money on the table for the buyer.  The facts don’t lie.

You Live in a Less Than Desirable Location

Here’s one that you will have no control of fixing because you can’t exactly pick up your house and move it across town.  If there are 5 homes for sale like yours except for the part that you have a huge power line tower sitting on the back of your property, your home will go to the bottom of the list.  If the view from your front door is a cemetery, you probably won’t have buyers knocking down your door to give you an offer.  Cemeteries creep most people out.  I think you get the picture.

It’s really bad when the undesirable comes in after you have already lived in the property for awhile.  You absolutely have no control over this.  A good example of this would be, you have lived in your home for 10 years in a beautiful rural part of town and now there is a 300,000 square foot paper mill plant that was just constructed across the street. 

What we can control is what we buy today, thinking about the future.  No matter how long you expect to stay in a property you should always be thinking about the resale factor.  What bugs you now will probably bug other buyers down the road.

Airliner Flying Low

Stigma From the Grave

Yes, negative stigmas are a real thing in real estate but whether buyers have to disclose this (unprovoked) varies from state to state.  As real estate agents we always have to tell the truth when asked a direct question, however.  Along with cooking and home improvement shows there seems to be an excess of ghost shows on TV nowadays, which I think is making people a little more sensitive to the idea of a lingering spirit hanging around in the closet.

Others would get creeped out if they knew a murder or suicide happened on the property.  All I’m saying is, if enough people had a problem with one of these negative stigmas, you could have a problem selling your house.  You could always have it blessed I guess.

Are You Hard to Deal With?

It’s funny but every now and then, sellers sabotage themselves when trying to sell their home.  They may only want their house to be shown during a very small window of time during the week.  The sellers make it impossible for the house to be shown because they refuse to put away their snarling Rottweiler.  Their property looks like a frat house that just had a huge toga party (that’s happened to me).  

Whatever the case may be, sellers need to appeal to potential buyers not drive them away.  You would think that I shouldn’t have to bring this up but here we are.  It’s the whole “draw more flies with honey” type thing.

Dog Showing Teeth

Yes, I know this isn’t a Rottweiler….

Your House Needs Some Love

Sure, there is always “something” that will come back on a home inspection report (even new construction) but if your house is in obvious need of repair, buyers won’t bite.  Large foundation cracks, crooked cabinet doors, faulty light fixtures, holes in the walls, missing shingles, etc……will all cause home buyers to turn and walk away.

Sellers need to think like a buyer! 

Buyers are going to scrutinize everything about a property because their goal is to find a nice house at a fair price with little to no work for them to do.  

There are minor flaws and then there are major issues.  Sometimes minor flaws can get a pass but noticeable major issues will keep your home from selling.

Your House Smells

Yep, this is a big one!  Our 5 senses are very powerful of course and if your house smells, buyers will get hit with that negative presence as soon as they open the front door.  I realize that we homeowners can become nose blind but this is a real issue.  

From past experience of walking through thousands of homes I can tell you that buyers just cannot get over a foul odor.  It instantly takes away any positive elements of the home and most buyers will turn the other way.  Overpowering scents that come from animals, cigarettes, or even cooking (like with curry) need to be eliminated.  They will keep your home from selling.


New Construction is Taking Over

A vibrant local economy is causing your area to explode, attracting hundreds of new buyers to the area.  That’s great right?  Well it is for most people but what if you have a house to sell that compares with all of the other homes being constructed by builders who are filling a demand.

Let’s say your house is 15 years old with 3,000 square feet and has a price tag of $300,000.  Let’s also say that there are 9 other homes nearby that are brand new with 3,000 square feet and have a price tag of $310,000.  Which property would you choose?  It’s a hard pill to swallow if you know you have a great house that isn’t that old but buyers are flocking to new construction.  With the exception of drastically reducing your price, you are under the thumb of new construction.  It’s one of those things that you can’t do anything about unless there is something really special about your property that will make it stand out.

Environmental Issues

Mold and mildew are not only unsightly but they are downright dangerous.  The potential homeowner may not be an expert on mold but they may think, “hmmm, that wall just doesn’t look right”.  Outdoor mildew can be cleaned up with a little bleach and water but indoor mold is one of those major issues that was mentioned earlier.  

This is not only a serious health hazard but mold is a sign that moisture is getting into your house which will eventually ruin your structure, walls, and ceilings.  Until the problem areas are replaced and repaired, mold will absolutely keep your home from selling.

Your Decor Looks Like the set from “That 70’s Show”

We all have our own unique style and most buyers can give one bright “accent” wall a pass, BUT some properties need a whole house overhaul.  Decor is taste sensitive.  However, you almost can’t go wrong with a neutral color tone palette.  You may love your house so much that you haven’t changed a thing in 25 years, including the green tubs and pink wall tile BUT we live in a new age…….a new era.  

Your decor can definitely keep your home from selling because most buyers want a clean slate to work with.  The largest home purchasing group in the country today are millennials and they want open floor plans, clean lines, and neutral colors.

This might be a small project or it could be huge but this will need to be done in order to attract buyers to put an offer on your home.  They want less work to do when moving in, not more.

70's Home Decor

Your Home is Cluttered

We like our stuff.  That’s kind of obvious since we continually drag it into our homes all the time.  However, clutter and excess stuff will keep your home from selling.  Why?  You want buyers to focus on the house itself, not your trophy collection.  You want them to notice the open floor plan, not worry about tripping of the pile of magazines on the floor.  You want them to stare at the beautiful countertops not the deer head that’s staring back at them.

It may take a little time but this is an easy fix.  Have a few garage sales and rent a storage unit.  Getting rid of everything that you aren’t using everyday while trying to sell your home will help you attract a buyer much quicker.  Trust me!

The Takeaway

Don’t be a seller that self-sabotages themselves.  Fix the things that you can control and pray about the things that you can’t.  Always remember, the less negative you give the potential buyer to think about, the better.

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.