Why do some houses sit around for ages while their neighbors fly off the shelf?
The sellers often think their home lingers because it's something their agent is doing or not doing. And sometimes they are right. But more often than not, unsuccessful sellers have a terrific agent whose advice they totally ignore.
- They don't prepare the house for the market. They argue that buyers will be able to use their imagination. Buyers either won't notice the bathtub scum, the moldy leftovers in the fridge, or the clutter. They'll see the potential. Buyers have no imagination and they don't get potential unless they are potential renovators looking for a bargain.
- They smoke in their house. If your house smells like an all night poker game, even buyers who smoke will probably pass on it.
- They are annoyingly inflexible about letting in agents and buyers. What? You want to show my house in a half hour? Sorry, but I'm covering my gray. Go away! If I can't show it, I can't sell it. Sorry. If you're a pill about showings, you are sending the buyer's agent a message that you'll probably be a pill throughout the transaction!
- When they do let people in, they "help" the buyers' agents do their jobs, following them around like they might steal the family silver. They point out all of the home's features that the agent might otherwise miss. Even though the buyer broker may never have been in the house in her life, she doesn't need your help. Really!
- They tape little signs to the walls to point out all of the extra features they lovingly added to the house. Most of them are totally obvious things and they sort of annoy the showing agents. Many of the features they point out aren't even plusses to many of the buyers looking at the house.
- The sellers stage their house with potpourri, scented candles, and those little "plug ins". Buyers hate those things - the only smell is no smell at all
- Their adorable doggy enthusiastically greets buyers with a wag of the tail and a sniff to your, well, you know. Even if he's not a Realtor-eating dog, he needs to be gone. Now, I love dogs (one in particular), but they no matter how cute and friendly the dog, he needs to be out of the house or somehow confined when the house is being shown.
- They price the house way above market, explaining to their agent, "Hey! It just takes one!" Actually, it doesn't work that way. While price isn't the only factor, it's probably the most important one.
In real estate school, they explain that there are 4 basic elements in a marketing plan: condition, access, price and marketing. The seller controls everything but the marketing, and even the most ambitious market plan won't work without the other three puzzle pieces fitting into place.
And yes, even in a sellers' market, it's completely possible for your house to sit unsold.
If you are planning a move to or from the Washington area, I can help. I am licensed in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Please email me at Housepat@mac.com or call 202-549-5167.