In a strong seller’s market, homes that are priced right and show nicely typically sell within the first four weeks of being on the market. If this time frame comes and goes with no successful offer, sellers will most likely become frustrated, and even start contemplating the possibility of just taking the property off the market for a little while and try again some time in the near future.
The truth is, you can realistically sell your home in any market, if you get yourself a solid real estate agent and use a few proven tactics to garner more serious interest in your home.
So, should you take your home off the market if it’s not selling?
Before you make such a major decision, have a look at a few reasons why your home isn’t selling first.
The Listing Price is Way Off
Lots of homeowners hold emotional ties to their properties and genuinely think that their homes are worth more than they really are. And of course, everyone wants to get as much money from the sale of their home as possible, and demand that their agents slap a hefty price tag on the listing.
Unfortunately, nothing will cause a lagging listing more than a listing price that’s too high for the current market. If your home’s been sitting on the market for weeks – or longer – without a nibble, the first thing you should do is look at the listing price and determine whether or not it’s too high.
If so, it’s time to shave a few bucks off.
Your real estate agent will be able to pull a report of the recent comparable sales in the neighborhood. Be sure that you ask no more than 5 to 10 percent over the previous top selling price. And don’t have the most expensive listing on the block, either – buyers are looking at the same comparables, so you don’t want to scare them off before they’ve even seen your property.
Price point is critical – if you don’t price your home properly, you’re pretty much asking for a stale listing.
Your Home Doesn’t Show Well
Aside from setting an accurate price point, making sure that your home is properly staged is absolutely essential. Nobody wants to pull up to a home with overgrown weeds and pet excrement in the front yard. Nor do they want to walk inside and see yesterday’s laundry piled up on the couch, or a stack of dirty dishes piled up in the sink.
Granted, these scenarios are pretty outrageous (though they do happen), but even simple things like a cracking door, broken window blind, or orange walls will throw buyers off.
Take a second gander at your home and make sure that you’ve tackled everything as far as staging is concerned. Is the lawn well manicured? Is the house clean and tidy? Are the colors neutralized?
Don’t leave your home in the morning without making sure that all beds are made, dishes are washed and put away, and counters are clear. You just never know when a last-minute showing is booked, giving you no time to run back from the office to clear the place up before the buyer show up.
When in doubt, have your home staged by a professional home stager.
The Place is Outdated
Houses that feature outdated kitchens and bathrooms will usually sit on the market longer than more modern properties, or even wind up selling at a lower price.
It’s possible that your home may need some upgrades, but you’ll also need to be realistic with both your time and your budget. Make sure that whatever money you’re spending is a wise investment.
The rule of thumb is to avoid huge projects that will be super expensive. Perform as many small home improvements as you realistically can, and look for improvements that will most likely make your home move-in ready as far as potential homebuyers are concerned.
Typically, the most valuable home improvements include painting, replacing or refacing a worn-out front door, touching up faded siding, refacing kitchen cabinets and countertops, and replacing hardware in the kitchen and bathroom. You probably won’t recoup as much of the cost if you add a bathroom, sunroom, or gutted the kitchen.
Don’t Put a Cap on Your Options
If you’ve absolutely tried everything, and your home still isn’t selling, consider hedging your bets and putting your home up for sale and for rent at the same time.
If you’ve already vacated the property, or need to relocate soon, maybe renting out your home could be a realistic approach. That is, of course, if your finances support such an option.
Putting the house up for rent and for sale at the same time can give the potential clientele a trial rental period. Perhaps your particular market is experiencing a temporary slowdown, but the rental market is really strong. If you’re able to carry two mortgages, you could allow your home to act as an investment property while buying time until next year when the market has (hopefully) picked up for sellers.
In the meantime, let the renters pay your mortgage for you while your home continues to build equity. If you find a renter and get a lease signed, your lender will be much more likely to approve you for second mortgage to keep the home while you start your life elsewhere.
Make sure you exhaust all efforts to make your home as attractive as possible – both esthetically and price wise – and get yourself a skilled real estate agent on your team. Sometimes all it takes is a temporary time-out from the market to make a few tweaks to the place and the listing, then put it back up on the market in a few weeks to get a fresh start.