When a home has been on the market for a long time without selling, it becomes extremely frustrating. Sellers are ready to move on and start a new chapter and the unsold house is holding them back. Most sellers are ready to go the day their house hits the market. If a home has been on the market for more than 90 to 120 days, it is time to reflect on what might be going wrong. Unsold homes usually suffer from one of five issues.
Location - homes in smaller outskirts communities often take longer to sell. Towns like Limington, Hiram, Limerick, and etc. have a smaller population, less industry and fewer schools.
These towns have much less turnover in housing and less demand for housing. These towns will typically have home sitting on the market longer than more suburban areas like Windham and Gorham. The only recommendation for these outskirts towns is patience.
Price - The biggest mistake sellers make is pricing their home. The seller’s emotional attachment to the home effects their ability to properly price the home. How much is owed on a home and how much was paid for a home has no relevance on what the home is worth today.
Overpricing a home is a sure fire way to have a home sit on the market. Sellers should always get at least two brokers opinions on pricing a home, even if they are going to try to sell it themselves. Brokers can tell sellers what other homes in the area have sold for and what the market is doing today. Every home will sell at some price, finding the right price is key to a quick and rewarding sale.
Exposure - Many homes have unique features or layouts that require the right buyer to recognize the homes true value. The best way to find the right buyer is to make sure all potential buyers see it. A marketing plan is paramount in selling a home. The days of taking a few pictures and posting a home on the MLS (multiple listing service) are gone. Over 90 percent of home searches start on the Internet. If a home has been for sale and has not been shown often, it is time to look at the marketing plan. A broker should provide a minimum of the following: 20 professional quality photographs of the home, MLS listing, listing syndication, Zillow.com "featured property" status, Trulia.com "featured property" status, and an information heavy dedicated web site. This will get the home the exposure it needs online. An open house and a neighborhood flyer are also highly recommended. The more buyers that see the home, the more likely it will sell. An insider bit of advice--always ask your broker what they are offering for a commission split with buyer brokers. A low commission split for the buyer broker may be off putting and may result in less showings.
Structural - The housing market is trending towards newer and move-in ready houses. A sagging roof, a leaky foundation, or a problem septic can all lead to buyer reluctance. A home that doesn't show well will sit on the market. Poor layouts, poor flow, and repurposed rooms can all cause homes to not show well. Sellers should fix as many issues as you can afford to, clean and remove clutter, and get as much natural light into the home as possible. This will have the home showing as well as possible. After that, sellers should refer back to exposure. Even a home that doesn't show well will appeal to a certain buyer.
Curb appeal - In today's Internet age, buyers are looking at more homes than ever. In order to conserve time, many buyers are doing drive-bys. If a buyer doesn't even want to see the inside of a home, they sure won't buy it. Make sure the yard is tidy, the lawn is mowed, and the entry is inviting. Small things like paint touch ups, new exterior lights, and door hardware go a long ways in giving a home more curb appeal.
These five issues should be considered first and foremost with unsold homes. Once the proper issue or issues are address, consider that home SOLD!
Rick is a realtor, real estate author, and longtime Windham resident. You can contact Rick with all your real estate questions and needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.