My House Won’t Sell: What Do I Do?

by Sundaybell on April 16, 2015

Depending on the market, the type of house you are trying to sell, and other outside influences, there are a number of factors that might be working against you and your house for sale. Some factors might be the economy, a surplus of houses in your neighborhood for sale all at the same time with a limited number of buyers, or how about your real estate agents marketing plan? Is it really targeting the right buyers? Or is it simply a cookie cutter plan to create awareness but not necessarily go beyond that to attract the right buyers for your house specifically?

Your house/property is amazing…but nobody wants to buy it!

Here’s an example (let’s compare house/scenario 1 with house/scenario 2):
Say you have a house that’s 10 minutes from the first major city (a quick drive in the car but not much within walking distance). It has property (say 2 acres of land) and a nice house on it that has lots of open space, but could use a few upgrades to bring it up to today’s cosmetic standards. In addition, it has a nice long driveway, a lot of greenery (trees, grass, and a forest behind the property) and a nicely sized garage that can store 4-5 cars, or whatever you might want to put in there.

Based on market valuation, the property, house and all the fixings that come with it are valued at “x”.

What are you really up against?

For the same price “x”, a buyer can essentially either build a custom home, or buy a home that is about 30% larger (but without the 4-5 car garage), within walking distance to schools and grocery stores, in a not-to-busy neighborhood (so seconds away from the major city that was mentioned in the previous example). This property itself might be smaller, but much easier to maintain as it’s a fraction of the size. In addition, because a lot of amenities are within walking distance, the time it takes to either walk, or drive are much shorter and convenient in case of any last minute pick-ups.

Both properties (houses) are valued at the same amount: but the target audiences (potential buyers) have to be looked at much differently.

Who are you selling to?

House/Scenario 1

  • This might have to be a specific type of buyer – not necessarily someone that is looking for convenience or nearby amenities
  • This buyer might be more interested in the garage, or the property, than the house itself for whatever reason they might have
  • Perhaps this person is looking to earn some extra income off their property (perhaps by renting out the garage space for storage?)
  • This person would likely need to enjoy being outdoors and partaking in outdoor activities including gardening, property maintenance or outdoor type projects of interest
  • This person will likely either have the money to pay someone for upkeep, or enjoy doing it themselves, which means they’ll have more flexibility in their schedule
  • To categorize – the potential buyer for this property might be a “do-it-yourself” type person, or someone with the financial means to have things done based on their preferences

House/Scenario 2

  • A buyer might be someone who can benefit from the conveniences of nearby amenities
  • Perhaps a young family that can benefit from nearby schools
  • Likely a buyer who may not have the skill-set, physical ability, or extra income to support a larger property
  • Perhaps this buyer requires a shorter commute, or benefits from being “closer” without the extra drive
  • The buyer of this home may also enjoy doing projects, but would prefer to focus on the little things rather than having to make major changes in order to perfect their living environment
  • To categorize – the potential buyer for this property might be someone that has specific tastes, less time and prefers to buy a house that is more “move-in-ready” and have less up-front maintenance requirements

In all reality, there are a greater number of house buyers that might be interested in house/scenario 2, than there would be for house/scenario 1.

In the case of house/scenario 1, if you’re house has been listed for a while and it just won’t sell, or it doesn’t seem like the open houses are working or attracting potential buyers, perhaps the marketing strategy is wrong, the listing price is wrong, and perhaps you’re real estate agent isn’t the right agent for you as they just don’t have the experience with your type of house/property. Your marketing plan, listing price and overall approach needs to be different as your target buyer is much different. You have a smaller pool of buyers to work from and it’s imperative that your house fits the needs of a much smaller buying base and that your real estate agent has the insights, contacts and know-how for your specific property and needs.

So what do you do?

Some suggestions for consideration (if your house has been listed for a while and it just won’t sell):

  1. Talk to your real estate agent about the pitfalls that they are experiencing and the feedback they are getting from potential buyers.
  2. Ask for suggestions (your real estate agent should be able to provide you with suggestions on what you can do, to help differentiate, and make your property more attractive to potential buyers). Have them provide you with some out-of-the-box thinking and examples of what they have done in similar situations in the past (and this must extend way beyond simply dropping your price).
  3. Take your house off the market! If it’s been listed for too long, it’s stale! It’s time to re-evaluate the marketing plan and consider making some changes prior to re-listing.
  4. Find a new real estate agent! Chances are you are bound to whomever you hired for a period of time. But, if your house hasn’t sold, you might want to consider switching real estate agents and hiring someone who has more experience, fresh suggestions, and even a better pulse on the potential buyers for your house.

About the Authors: Sundaybell provides buyers and sellers of real estate the opportunity of interviewing multiple real estate agents concurrently, and anonymously, providing them with the opportunity to cross-compare experience, services and commission rates for the purposes of deciding who is the best real estate agent match for their specific need.

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