In our hot sellers’ market, homeowners assume that a listing will sell quickly regardless of the condition or price or location. This overconfidence can turn into disappointment when a month or two passes with no offers to purchase. Although we’re seeing one of the strongest selling markets in the history of our MLS, it’s important for sellers and their agents to recognize when it’s time to make changes before a listing becomes so stagnant and stigmatized that buyers question what’s wrong with the property. Buyers know that the best listings sell the fastest in a hot market, so you don’t want to wait too late to act. These are the most common reasons that homes don’t sell.
Bad Listing Photos
We’ve dedicated an entire blog to talk about why listings need professional photos, so I won’t rewrite that blog here. At The Keadle Group, we pay for this service out of our own pocket because we believe it’s necessary to sell a listing. If your Realtor won’t hire a professional photographer (or use his own wide angled lens with some Photoshop touch ups), you should find another listing agent!
Odd Floor Plan
Buyers want open floor plans that feel spacious and bright. They want a kitchen that is big enough for entertaining with good views to enjoy while they cook. Most buyers want the kitchen to open directly into the den so that they don’t feel cut off from the rest of the house. And almost every buyer wants at least 3 bedrooms. We almost forgot to mention that buyers also want a true master suite complete with walk in closet(s) and a bath large enough for a dual vanity sink, etc. This might sound like a lot, but buyers have a lot of demands regardless of their price range!
Older homes with small rooms, fewer windows, and funky layouts can make for a tough sell. The worse part is that there’s often nothing a seller can fix for a bad floor plan unless they’re willing to spend a lot of money for a contractor to tear down walls. This is why it’s so important to buy a home with a good floor plan in the first place.
Too Many Listings in the Neighborhood
This listing surge is problematic for several reasons. First, some buyers question why there’s a flight from the neighborhood. Has there been recent crime? Is a big construction project nearby about to change the feel of the community? Is the neighborhood becoming less desirable?
Second, a surge in listings means that sellers have more competition. Then, when a listing goes under contract in the neighborhood, it’s usually the lowest priced home. Follow the statistics, and you’ll recognize this trend. It can be frustrating for owners with more square footage and better upgrades to lose out time and time again to lower priced homes. However, if you’re priced competitively and you’re marketing those added features, you should just give it some more time. A buyer should come along who is willing to pay more for your wooded lot or extra bedroom.
Zoned for Underperforming Schools
Public schools affect home values and salability. The Charleston areas with the best public schools generally have higher home prices and a higher demand from buyers. On our website we’ve included the best resources we’ve found for Charleston SC public schools.
Does Not Show Well
Here are some of the things we’ve witnessed during actual showings here in Charleston: a flea infestation, dead birds, leopard print wallpaper, bad smells, mold, active termites, and hoarding. In 14 plus years of selling real estate, you come across plenty of homes that don’t show well (even in higher price ranges). Although fleas are an obvious problem, other issues can seem ambiguous. For advice on prepping your home, see our sellers’ checklist for getting a home show ready.
An overpriced listing won’t sell regardless of how well it shows and how popular the neighborhood is. When interviewing potential listing agents, it’s important to NOT choose the Realtor who simply tells you the highest listing price. I know it’s tempting to believe that your home can sell for $30,000 more than its market value, but often newer or desperate agents will inflate the listing price they tell you simply to get your listing. They hope that the listing will sell, or they know that they’ll be able to reduce the asking price once they’ve put their sign in your yard.
In most cases when a home sits on our Charleston real estate market for more than 2 months, it’s overpriced. This is the most common reason that listings don’t sell because it’s the hardest realization for sellers to accept.
In a Price Range or Area with a Higher DOM
Higher price ranges have fewer buyers, so it generally takes longer to sell high end listings. There’s no magic price for this ceiling, and it largely depends on the jumbo loan limits for your particular market. Even within our Charleston real estate market, a $400K listing is an ideal price point for Mount Pleasant but sees few buyers in the North Charleston market where the average price is much lower. For this factor, you’ll need to rely on your Realtor’s knowledge and expertise in order to know whether your home has sat on the market long enough to actually sell.
Not Listening to Feedback
Our company has a unique program called Caravan that takes place every Thursday after our sales meeting. The Realtors from our office tour the listing and provide feedback on price and condition. Having 25 to 30 agents tour a home and give feedback is one of the reasons we choose to be part of Carolina One Real Estate. If we get consistent recommendations (such as getting the carpets steam cleaned), we know that there’s truth to the feedback.
When sellers and their agents ignore constructive criticism that is aimed at improving a listing, it should come as no surprise when the home doesn’t sell. If your home has sat on the market with no offers to purchase, talk with your listing agent to make sure you’re addressing all of the feedback concerns you’ve received. It can be easy to overlook issues such as red painted walls when you’re used to seeing them every day, and little fixes can have a big impact on salability. Repainting or hiring a staging consultant can be relatively easy solutions for refreshing your listing. Your Realtor should be able to make suggestions and also help coordinate with the right people to get the job done.