You listed your home. You made it look tip top. The For Sale sign is on the lawn and the listing is launched on the MLS. Months later, your home has not sold.
In the meantime your neighbor’s home across the street, which listed after yours, has already sold and you see other homes in your area selling faster than yours. You start to wonder why. Of course, we can never be sure about the reasons why your home didn’t sell but here are a few pointers that you could consider.
It sounds like the ‘easy way out’ but pricing is more important than anything else when you sell your home. Even a home in poor condition on the busiest road and the worst layout will sell if you price it right.
It is important to have a look again at the market value report (also known as Comparative Market Analysis – CMA) that was created by your realtor and specific to your property. You can ask your realtor for the latest sold prices and ask for another evaluation (based on other homes sold in the meantime) that are comparable to yours.
It is very appealing to “try to start with a higher price to see what happens first”. The danger in that strategy is that you lose the momentum, which happens in the first few weeks, and your home becomes market stale. Many potential buyers will ask themselves, “What is wrong with this property?”
Read a bit more in another post about pricing your home.
Showing condition of your home
The next question to ask is how your home shows. Most people see their own home as their castle, and it is hard to look at it with an objective view.
You can always ask for help from a professional stager. Many realtors give you a home staging consultation and offer valuable tips and ideas on how to show your home better.
Or you can ask a friend for an honest and objective opinion. Let your friend look with the eyes of a potential buyer. Could some furniture be removed or moved around? Is the home de-cluttered enough?
We wrote more about the first impression that a home needs to make. What needs fixing? Potential buyers are often “tire kickers” – a light bulb that is not working translates as “there is something wrong with the electrical wiring.”
Marketing your home
What is the marketing plan created by your realtor? Perhaps your realtor told you about all the advertising in newspapers and magazines but didn’t realize that 95% of home buyers start their search on the internet. Paper advertising is merely to promote the realtor’s success with all their listings, not the marketing of the property itself.
Read more about that subject in our article marketing your home.
Ask showing realtors for feedback
Let your realtor ask for feedback from other realtors that have shown your property. Realtors are not obligated to give feedback, but sometimes they just could give you the tips you need. Or at least they may give you a sense of how other people see your property. We always ask for feedback and we get a 95% response from other realtors.
Correct data about your home
Always check all the data on your MLS listing. We still see many mistakes in listings on the MLS. Understand that home buyers (the 95%) are searching the internet via set parameters. Sometimes we see homes entered in the wrong community or listed as having 3 bedrooms while the home has 4 bedrooms. If your home is not entered in the MLS correctly, it will never come up to the appropriate group of potential buyers.
Pictures of your home
How do the photographs of your home look on the internet? Our experience is that pictures that are too good may disappoint potential buyers. Also, be careful with wide angle lenses as many potential home buyers are disappointed when rooms look bigger on the internet than they really are. And pictures of your home still need to be appealing. People aren’t interested in seeing the inside of a bathtub.
Commission offered to buying realtor
What commission do you offer to the buying agent? When you sell your home via a realtor, it will be shown on the MLS. All realtors see the commission offered. Although not standard in Calgary, most often that commission is 3.5% on the first $100,000 and 1.5% on the balance. If you offer let’s say 1% of the purchase price or a flat fee, many realtors are tempted to not show your property.
Do you accommodate showings well? Often agents show several homes in a row and all within a particular time frame. If you decline a showing request or you want the request rescheduled to another time, you may miss out on a showing. Buyers may move along to the next and won’t bother coming back another time. Even though it can be a headache, really try the best in allowing showings.
Ask other home sellers
Lastly, just be bold and ask your neighbor why they think their home sold and yours didn’t. Your neighbor may come up with some helpful information.