3 Reasons Why Some Houses Still Aren’t Selling Even in a Hot Market

It’s a seller’s market now, and the prime housing season hasn’t even started yet. Chances are good you’ve heard stories from friends, neighbors or relatives who sold their house in a day or two. Those give potential home sellers the idea that selling a house right now is easy, and that selling a house takes little effort. I mean, it’s not like 2010, right? There’s no need to spend weeks patching holes, bringing in a stager, or dealing with pesky details like cleaning out a closet, right? Wrong. Just because inventory is low doesn’t mean today’s buyers are willing to settle for subpar houses. Houses that are selling quickly for top dollar are in good condition, what we like to call, showing condition, and they are priced right. While it’s true that it’s a seller’s market, buyers aren’t desperate. Buyers will continue to rent or stay in their current houses that may be too small or too large or too far from work or in neighborhoods they hate rather than move into a house they don’t love.

staging to help your house sell
staging to help your house sell

Buyers are picky. Most buyers don’t want to deal with a mess. They don’t want to deal with the circa-1990 wallpaper you never got around to taking down. They don’t want to deal with having to paint over yellow walls that were popular in 2005. They don’t want to have to fix the gutter that’s dangling from the back of the house. And, if a buyer is willing to deal with those things, they certainly aren’t going to offer you top dollar.

But, it’s a seller’s market, you say. Well, sort of. Prices are up. Inventory is down. There are plenty of buyers. But, that doesn’t mean buyers are desperate. You still need to work to impress. Here’s the thing, while some houses are selling in a day or even hours, some are not. For example, 156 houses for-sale in Fishers now have been on the market for more than 90 days. On the flip side, 160 have sold in 190 days or less in the last six months.

Here are three things you really need to consider when you’re going to sell your house, even in a seller’s market:

Staging

Maybe you think you’re a great decorator, and perhaps you are, but your decorating may be personal to your taste. A third-party, objective stager can give you advice to make your rooms look bigger, brighter and cleaner. That’s why I hire a stager for you, you don’t pay extra. It’s that important. You’re moving and you’re going to have to pack up all those photos and knick-knacks anyway, so let’s get a head start now. It will make your house look more inviting, and it will make photos look better. Which brings me to my next tip.

 Professional photography when selling your home - A well photographed kitchen and dining area

Professional photography when selling your home - A well photographed kitchen and dining area

Professional Photography 

Buyers don’t decide whether they’re going to look at your house by driving by, they decide by looking at the photos online. If your photos aren’t good, they may not even schedule an appointment. Often a camera phone can’t capture the best images of your home. When you interview Realtors, ask about photography.

 An example of a photo you should not use when listing your home

An example of a photo you should not use when listing your home

Price It Right

Yes, prices are up, but that doesn’t mean overpricing your house is a good idea. The market will dictate the actual market value of your house. Ultimately it will come down to an appraisal if your buyer is financing the purchase. A lender will not approve the mortgage if the house does not appraise for at least the amount of the purchase price. There are two big problems with overpricing your house. First, if the house does sell, and it doesn’t appraise, you’ll have to re-negotiate the terms with the buyer, and that often means lowering the price to the appraised value. Secondly, if you overprice the house, and it doesn’t sell, then it will linger on the market, giving potential buyers the impression that there may be something wrong with your house. This may cause it to actually sell for even less.

Not all houses sell, just look at listings lingering. Chances are you can scroll through the photos and figure out why. The house either looks really dated, has poor photos or looks priced too high for what you’ll get. Keep that in mind when you’re ready to sell your house. And, when you are ready to sell, give me a call, because I have buyers who are looking for great houses to buy.