Southern Maryland Best Buys


10 Reasons Why Your Home Did Not Sell (2010)

This post has a lot of good highlights. Sometimes a makeover can go a long way toward getting offers on a property. I like to highlight declutter, paint, mulch and clean the carpets as important items too get the SALE. If it boils down to one item, price is the great equalizer.

Today I was looking over some old blog posts that I wrote two years ago.  This one jumped out as me and is still relevant today!

As most everyone knows, today's real estate market is a buyer's market. This means that the number of homes for sale in a given area outweigh the number of ready, able, and willing buyers in that same market. Although we've been in a buyer's market for quite some time many sellers have yet to adjust their mindset and expectations to reflect this change in the market. These same people are upset when after 6 months their home is still on the market.

Below is a list of ten reasons why I find homes do not sell along with possible remedies to these problems. These are in no way in any sort of order, although depending on the property and situation some have more relevance than others.

10. Layout of the Home - Quite often there is nothing that you can do about this. It is called functional obsolescence of the floor plan. If your home is awkward you will have to make the home appealing in some other way. Some of the hardest homes to sell at market price are "custom built homes" with layouts that very few others beside the current owners will enjoy.

9. Incentives - every good real estate agent knows you have to sell the home twice: once to the Realtor to convince he/she to show it, and once to the actual buyers. Offering a lower than normal Co-Op to the buyer's agent just gives them a reason not to show you home. Find out the average and offer at least that. Also, be ready to offer the buyer closing costs, a home warranty, and appliances at a minimum.

8. Curb Appeal - there is nothing worse than going to a house in a decent neighborhood and pulling into a driveway with poor curb appeal. The front of your house should be inviting. Spend some time, money, and/or energy on landscaping and a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the home to brighten up the home. Also consider cleaning the driveway with a power washer if it is white cement.

7. Neighborhood Amenities - there is most likely little to nothing you can do about this. Just know that a family of four will choose a neighborhood which has a park and a pool over one that does not if all other things are equal. Keep this in mind when buying your next home for resale purposes.

6. Listing Real Estate Company - there are some who would have you believe that all real estate companies are the same. It is simply not true. When I choose to partner with my company I looked at the support being offered, as well as the core values of the company. When selecting a company find out the reputation of that company and also if they are a full service or a limited service company. My advice is to never trust you biggest investment with a limited service company.

5. Marketing - one of the primary responsibilities of an agent is to market your home to the masses. A principle way of doing this is by utilizing the Multiple Listing Service (Realtors sell nearly 92% of homes in my area). But, if all your agent does is put a sign in your yard and list it in the MLS, they are doing you a disservice. Today's buyers are looking on-line. Hire a Realtor that has an aggressive on-line marketing plan and one who gives you regular statistics of their on-line marketing results. Also ensure alot of really good pictures are taken and posted on MLS and the internet. Note: Newspaper ads rarely work.

4. Condition - the condition of the home is extremely important. Over time homes generally increase in value, but homes that are not maintained and kept up to date will not find the same increase. Focus on maintaining the kitchen (appliances included) and the master bedroom/bathroom. When your ready to sell de-clutter your home, depersonalize to a reasonable extend, and ensure the colors throughout the house are neutral. Remember most buyers do not have a good imagination. They can not always see the potential in a house. Make that as easy for them as you can. A home stager is a great source of advice on setting up your home for sale in an appealing way.

3. Agent/Realtor - All Realtors are not the same...even if they are in the same company. It is possible if your home did not sell that you did not choose the right agent. Different Realtors have different strengths. Some are extroverted while others are natural introverts. Some have great people skills while others are highly skilled in technology (some even both). When interviewing an agent find out which one best suits you the best. Never hire an agent based on the price they think they can sell your house for. Hire them on their integrity, knowledge, and marketing plan. This person will be representing your interest and it is important that you have confidence in their abilities and skills as well as their ability to communicate with you on a regular basis. An important question to ask is whether they are full time or part time. Are you willing to trust your biggest investment to someone who does real estate as a hobby.

2. Location - the first three rules or real estate are location, location, location. If you have the exact same house as someone 10 miles away from you, the two houses will most likely sell at different prices depending on the neighborhood. The number one question I am asked most by out of town buyers is, "What is the neighborhood like?" I am limited on what I can say but I can give them certain public statistics such as crime rate. I also give them information about traffic and area schools. Adjust your expectations based on the neighborhood you live in.

1. Price - In a buyers market, price can overcome just about anything mentioned above. You don't want to give your home away by pricing too low, but you also can not expect to sell the home for what you might have gotten 3-5 years ago in a seller's market. This is why many people are having to sell their home via a short sale. They can not get what they paid for it 3-5 years ago. A comparable market analysis is a good tool to start with, but in this market you must go a step further and be the best conditioned home with a top notch price. Otherwise you might be one of the people I call on a daily basis asking why you think your home expired off the market after 6 months of no offers.



If you have a home anywhere in the Charleston Metro Area and would like to get more information about selling your home, please contact me for a free home evaluation. 

I also work with buyers.  If you are interested in more information about buying a home please contact me and I would be glad to meet with you or email you a list of homes.


Michael J. Johnson, Realtor, ABR


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Comment balloon 0 commentsCheryl Ritchie • March 26 2013 07:54PM