There are probably as many reasons as there are buyers for why some homes don’t sell as quickly as others, but here are what I think are the top 5!
1) Poor Location
Regardless of how much you disguise a poor location in photos and copy, if a house is in a bad location it is generally going to take longer to sell…at any price. Only a certain percentage of people are predisposed to live on a busy street, under high voltage wires or across from a school. The good news is that there are people who specifically look for what might be your negative. Think about who these people might be and focus your marketing at them.
A bad photo on the MLS and/or on the Realtor web site and you have people turning up their noses before they have even seen what a great home you have. If the photo from the street is not flattering use a photo of the best room in the house or perhaps the backyard. Get them to the house and they will fall in love with it..and deal with the front later.
Not all homes were built for flattering front shots and the weather does not always cooperate so there might be a good reason for a less than flattering photo or no photo of the front of the house.
Realtors take note – it’s a sin to let buyers judge a home buy it’s cover. At the very least you should visit it on the Agent’s Tour and judge for yourself. (Thanks to REAgent in Connecticut for this photo. After writing the article I found this web site with bad MLS photos which supports my argument perfectly)
3) The House Is Dirty. Period.
If you think with all of the homes available on the market that people can fall in love with a dirty home you must be dreaming. It is hard enough to get past the old car parked in the garage, kid’s toys all over the front lawn and the 17 dwarf statues, but getting past dirty is probably the hardest of all.
People can get past clutter and a messy home much easier than they can deal with a dirty home.
A dirty home is perceived by buyers as a home in need of repair, when all they often require is some disinfectant.
4) The Curb Appeal is…Well..Butt Ugly
A National Association of Realtors report identified Yard Signs as tools used by 63% of buyers so that is evidence that buyers like to do drive-bys. What are buyers thinking when they see an unmowed lawn, derelict cars, overgrown shrubs, cracked driveway or faded paint?
Poor curb appeal. Fewer appointments. Now the flip side of this is to help buyers envision what the house could look like with a few changes.
5) “Sellers Compromise”
I made this term up, but I am guilty of this. “Yes I know we are missing a wall plate for one of the electrical outlets in the downstairs rec room, but it still works. Okay so you have to hold the toilet handle for 15 seconds to flush it, but what’s 15 seconds”.
Just because you have learned to live with the missing moulding or the green vinyl in the kitchen doesn’t mean buyers can learn to live with it. Most buyers want move-in condition, not a work project so taking care of the simple changes will stop your good house from acting like a bad house.
What can a Realtor do about it? Make the recommendations, price accordingly and market around the problems. What can a seller do? Find Realtor that understands the challenge and will work with you to eliminate as many of the negatives as practical.