I know what you’re thinking: the economy is to blame for the fact that your home won’t sell. With so many foreclosures on the market, competitive pricing is a joke. And you at least want to break even on a sale so that you don’t end up owing money for a home you no longer own. But despite the ongoing slump in the housing market, the truth is that there are still plenty of people looking to become first-time home buyers, or those looking to get out of their condo and upgrade to a house with a yard (and no HOA). So there is a potential market for your property. The real problem is that you’re facing a lot of competition at the moment, so you need to make sure that you’ve taken every other possible shortcoming into consideration. Here are just a few common reasons why your home simply may not be up to spec.
- Curb appeal. The first impression of your home is formulated before prospective buyers even cross the threshold. If they find themselves looking at landscaping that is overgrown (or dead), peeling paint, and a cracked driveway, chances are they have already formed a negative opinion of your property that will be difficult to dispel. Luckily, you can fix these eyesores with a little bit of effort and in most cases, very little funding. Aerating and watering the lawn and cutting back overgrown plants can do wonders for the look of your yard, and you might even consider putting in a few flowering plants to add a pop of eye-catching color. You might also paint the front of the house (if not the whole thing) and do what you can to spruce up the stoop, the drive, the garage, and any other visible structures.
- Major flaws. Leaky roofs, faulty wiring, buckled flooring, and cracks in the foundation can delicately be called deal-breakers. In most cases your home won’t pass inspection with these glaring flaws, so if you’re trying to sell “as is” you can probably forget it – banks are already doing it for less. If you really want to unload your property you’ll either have to take a major hit on the price to make up for the cost to the new homeowner to fix these flaws, or you’ll simply have to attend to them before you sell.
- Cosmetic issues. Unsuitable interiors are the worst offenders when it comes to a failure to sell a home. Whether your colors and materials are horrendously outdated (like disco-era), you’ve left all your clutter lying around, or your house is still populated with personal items that act as a turn-off to buyers, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you fail to stage your space properly. But you can do a lot with a fresh coat of paint, a steam-cleaned carpet, and only sparse furniture and accessories (no family photos or tchotchkes) to hint at the possibilities your home can offer.
- Overpriced. This is something you’ll certainly need to discuss with your realtor, but your best bet to price your home competitively is to check out online estate agents like those at Zillow or Zip Realty. These sites can show you how other homes for sale are priced or even how other homes in your area are valued.
- Poor exposure. If nobody is looking at your property you’re certainly not going to sell. So if you feel that your realtor isn’t pulling his weight and getting people in, think about finding yourself another agent or agency that will get you the public exposure you need to sell.