If you’re shopping the housing market, scrolling the daily real estate listings becomes second nature. Wake up, now what? Check the listings. Lunch break at work, check the listings. Email notification from your real estate agent? Check the listings. LISTINGS ARE LIFE. The new ones immediately catch your eye and ignite a flicker of excitement at the prospect of achieving dream-home ownership. On the flip side, the homes that keep re-appearing in your feed that have been sitting on the market seem to blend into the background. Particularly in a hot housing market, a home that isn’t selling can attract negative attention. Here are a few common reasons why a house is not selling, and how to help turn that “For Sale” sign to “Sold!”
Some Good News
As a homeowner and seller, your objective is twofold: to sell your home as quickly as possible, and for the highest possible price. The beauty of owning real estate (whether as a principal residence or for investment purposes) is that historically, it has yielded solid returns to Canadians who are in it for the long haul. The proceeds can be used to upsize to a bigger home, retire, travel, invest, or fund life’s next big milestone.
The number of prospective homebuyers in Canada has increased, which should be music to those who have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the right time to sell their home. The RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report found that 51 per cent of Canadians are considering buying a property in the next five years. This number is up from 36 per cent the previous year.
The report also reveals that housing inventory will likely tighten in a number of major housing markets across Canada – and when the number of homes for sale falls and demand continues to rise, you end up with seller’s market conditions. For sellers who don’t seem to be having any luck, this begs the question, are houses selling in this market? Why is my house not selling? Why is my house not showing? My house isn’t selling, should I lower the price? Before you jump to any conclusions, here are some common reasons your house is not selling.
Reasons Your House Is Not Selling
1. Wrong Listing Price
To you, your home may be priceless. After all, you have an emotional attachment to the place you call “home.” However, to a buyer, that is not the case. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what the homeowner, or even the listing agent, thinks a house is worth. The only thing that matters is what the buyer is willing to pay for it.
The right listing price will likely be a combination of a few factors, such as the market conditions, the home’s condition and the seller’s circumstances. Home Value Estimators are readily available online and are a great resource to give you a ballpark idea of what your home is worth. To get a connect with a real estate agent who can give you the hard numbers – the comparables. Your real estate agent will pull recent sales of comparable homes in the same neighbourhood. Then, based on the condition of the home and how desperate you are to sell, your agent will recommend a listing price.
The listing price is the first impression homebuyers will have of your home. When a buyer decides to start shopping for a new home, step one is creating a budget. With this number in hand, step two is to browse online listings. Within that price range. Success can come down to a few dollars over or below that specific threshold. This is why it’s important to be realistic when it comes to pricing the home.
While overpricing a home is a concern, so too is underpricing it. Buyers may wrongly assume that a home priced well below market value has something wrong with it, or that the seller is hoping for a bidding war – both turn-offs for homebuyers.
2. Bad Listing Photos
Believe it or not, bad listing photos can be a reason that your house is not selling. Although many homebuyers will still drive around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in search of “Open House” signs, most shoppers today take a more targeted approach to their home hunt. They hit the streets armed with a budget, their list of liveable locations, the features their future home should have, and specific addresses of homes for sale that are worth an in-person tour. So, how do you get on that list?
Enter the real estate photographer and this adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. Your real estate agent will arrange for listing photos that will show your home in the best possible light.
On the flip side, don’t be a catfish. Nothing is worse than falling in love with the listing photos and taking the time to attend a showing, only to discover that it isn’t as presented.
Good and honest listing photos are a critical part of your selling strategy.
3. Didn’t Stage the Property
While it’s important to showcase your listing in a realistic way, it never hurts to do a little primping before putting up the “For Sale” sign. Some buyers have trouble seeing past what a home is and visualizing what it could be. Staging a home can help highlight its best features, minimize the worst, and give prospective homebuyers some inspiration as to how they can use the space.
Remember that as a home seller, you’re not only selling the property but you’re also selling the idea of “home.” This is why putting an empty house on the market can be a big mistake. An empty house may leave the impression that it is smaller than it actually is, or that it’s uncared for.
4. Unfavourable Market Conditions
When it comes to selling your home, there are many things within your control. Others are a wild card, as far as the seller is concerned. Factors such as a growing or declining population, economic conditions, interest rates, housing demand and supply, and even the weather can all be reasons why a home is not selling.
What you can control, however, is when you choose to sell your home. An experienced real estate agent can help you time the market. These professionals have the market experience to speak to what is happening in the real estate landscape, and to predict what may happen down the road.
While you can’t control things like the job and housing markets, these are still important factors to consider when deciding if now is a good time to sell. Determine when your house is most appealing to homebuyers. The return of spring tends to rouse homebuyers out of hibernation. Similarly, keep your ear to the ground for other circumstances that may affect home-buying trends, such as an upcoming employment boom or new developments in your area that may increase housing demand.
Sometimes it can be tough to pinpoint the exact reason a home isn’t selling. At other times, it’s painfully clear. Consult your RE/MAX agent for important insight on what you’re doing (or not doing) that may help or hinder the sale.