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5 Reasons Your Home Didn't Sell

You've had your home on the market for six months and it didn't sell. You're frustrated and not exactly sure why it didn't sell. You're not alone. Over the past 20 years of selling real estate, your situation is one I have encountered hundreds of times.
05/09/2016 12:26pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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You've had your home on the market for six months and it didn't sell. You're frustrated and not exactly sure why it didn't sell. You're not alone. Over the past 20 years of selling real estate, your situation is one I have encountered hundreds of times.

The good news is that your home can sell if you make a few adjustments. The following are the five reasons your home didn't sell.

1) You didn't have professional photos.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true with home buyers. The National Association of Realtors' 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Profile found that 82% of home buyers found website information useful in their home search process.

The first impression most home buyers have is the photos they see online. Professional photographs of your home are ideal. If your Realtor™ doesn't use a professional photographer, make sure the photos highlighting your home have proper lighting and show your home in the most appealing way possible. Bad photos mean fewer showings and fewer showings mean less chance of selling your home.

2) You chose the wrong agent.

The agent you choose is critically important to selling your home. Did your agent have a marketing plan that has a proven track record of getting results for other sellers? What did the agent do to market your home outside of putting it in the MLS, placing a sign in the yard and hoping it would sell?

Your agent should have the experience and track record of getting results. He should have a detailed plan of action to market your home. He should know the market and be able to advise you on trends that will affect the sale of your home. Finally, there should be an open line of communication between you and your agent with scheduled and frequent updates as to the progress of selling your home.

3) Your home lacks curb appeal.

Buyers decide whether they like a house or not the second they pull in the driveway. From that moment forward, they either look for things to confirm why they don't like the house or to confirm why they like the house.

If your home hasn't sold, check the curb appeal. You can create a more inviting environment by focusing on a few key areas. The first is landscaping. No matter the season, make the landscaping as inviting and neat as possible. The second is the walkway up to the front door. Pressure wash the sidewalk and make sure the paint near and around the entrance is in good shape. The third is the front door. Fresh paint on the front door and a new door handle are important.

4) Your home is too cluttered.

Buyers want to visualize themselves in your home. If your home has too much furniture or too many knick knacks or personal photos, the buyers will have trouble seeing the home as anything but yours.

Remove extra furniture and personal photos. Rent a storage unit if you have to. The hundreds of dollars you spend on a storage unit will come back in the form of thousands in the increased selling price of your home.

5) It's all about the price.

Price is the single biggest reason why your home didn't sell. You can overcome bad photos, an incompetent agent, poor curb appeal and a cluttered house with an appropriate asking price. Conversely, no matter how good your photos are, how good your agent is, how good your curb appeal is, or how clutter-free your home is, if it is overpriced, it will not sell.

By identifying a few factors, you can properly price your home. These factors include comparable sales, the current trend of your market and your motivation.

What have comparable homes sold for recently? Compare your price with the comparable sales on both overall price and price per square foot. This exercise should tell you how close your asking price is to the market value.

What is the current state of your market? Is it a seller's market in which prices are trending higher and inventory is low or is it a buyer's market in which you will have a lot of competition for a limited number of buyers?

Don't fight the trend. If prices are increasing, price your home a few percentage points higher than the comparable sales. If prices are decreasing, price your home a few percentage points below the comparable sales. Knowing the trend will help you price your home properly and secure a sale.

Finally, what is your motivation? Is a quick sale more important than maximizing your sales price or do you want to maximize your sales price no matter how long it takes? Only you can determine your motivation, but your motivation should determine how you price your home and your expectations.

Make some changes

If you want the same results, keep doing the same things, but if you want different results, do things differently. Have professional photos done. Find an agent that will market your home in a way that maximizes exposure. Freshen up and create a new look for the front of your home that will invite buyers in to see more. Remove the clutter from your home so buyers can visualize themselves in the home. Finally, price your home according to the comparable sales, trends in the market and your motivation.

If you do these things, your home will sell for the highest price possible and in the shortest amount of time.

Photo Credit: Flickr/John Eisenschenk

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