Why Isn’t My Home Selling?

One of the Best, Still No One Bought Your Home

Yours may be one of the best homes available.  But why hasn’t it sold?  You’ve had people come in, say how much they like it, only to decide to buy another home.  Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to make sense, and occasionally it just doesn’t.

Reasons, Logic and Emotion

There are reasons why buyers choose another property.  If you should find out which home they purchased you’ll find yourself trying to reason their decision logically, when buying is more of an emotional decision for most buyers.Still, in the buyers mind, they felt the other home offered them more, somehow.  Let’s see if we can gain some insight into what might be going on here.

The Price is Right

Most of the time a property doesn’t sell because the asking price is more than what a willing, capable buyer wants to pay for it, for whatever reason.  This has been proven over and over again by the number of expired listings on the market every year.  Year after year.  In just about every case, the listing price keeps coming down until it’s sold.  More proof that over pricing hurts you in the long run.
Sellers and agents are always testing or pushing the envelope to see how much they can sell for.  In part, this is how properties appreciate over time.  Someone tries a higher price than what’s been sold and it works, especially in “hot markets.”  But usually, there are limitations based on the laws of supply and demand.

Competition is Strong

If you have several properties that are competing with each other for qualified buyers, your price must be competitive or you won’t be selling.  Since no two properties are the same, you have to compensate for the differences between properties.  Buyers will compare properties in the same area plus within several miles of where they’d like to live.  This is why your asking price must be bases on a thorough Competitive and Comparative Market Evaluation.  And you need to see the big picture, just like a buyer will, by getting a snapshot of available properties in your area as well as nearby communities.

Other Issues to Consider

Let’s assume you are priced competitively and examine other possibilities.  The floor plan of the house is important.  To each their own.  Some people have strong preferences for certain styles; some like open floor plans, others prefer more traditional floor plans, and on and on the list can go.  For the buyers who have looked at your home, could it have been your floor plan didn’t fit their needs or desires, both now or in the future?

This strongly impacts a buyer’s decision.  It is very personal for buyers, who are trying to imagine living in the place you call home, but imagine it according the their lifestyle and needs.  Maybe the present floor plan could be altered by adding another level, an addition, or how about bumping out a few walls to make it larger, or adding walls to create another room.  Again, to make it fit their needs, this is an additional cost added onto their purchase price.  A buyer, if they can afford it, will probably decide to look at homes in a slightly higher price range too, just to see if they could find one they could move into without the time and commitment involved with renovation.

Those Special Touches

Next, consider the amenities your property offers.  How does it compare to your competition?  Buyers will select homes where they feel they’ll have to invest the least amount of money, effort, and time to get the house to look, feel, and be the way they want it to be.  If other properties offer newer “hot ticket” items, is newer constructions, has newer appliances, etc. and they are priced similar to or a little more than yours, you’ll appear to be over-priced for the market to agents and buyers.

If dining rooms or hardwood floors happen to be the “in” thing; if your house doesn’t have it, buyers will add the cost of the things they want to change to make it their home, on to the listing price.  Will that send your property above a realistic price in your area?  If so, the buyers will keep looking.

Just a Little Over Priced, But…

Let’s say you’re priced a little above the market value.  Now add to your higher price the amount the buyers feel they “have” to spend on this property to make it the way they want it; not to mention the time, labor, dirt, frustration, etc, that go along with remodeling a house.  If they could get it for a realistic price, would they want to put up with all the construction or renovation?

Your competition may be a home that offers most of the features they want, doesn’t require major changes and expenses, and it’s priced to market.  Almost always they will buy the other home.


Another thing you want to do is de-personalize your property before showings begin.  It makes it easier for the prospective buyers to visualize their possessions and living there if you r decorating is more neutral.

Not Actively Looking

You may find out the perfect buyer for your home literally wasn’t in the market during all those months you were hoping to sell.  They fell in love with your home and can’t wait to get in to make it theirs.  There is a buyer for nearly every property that comes on the market, at one time or another.  It really can be like finding a needle in a haystack.  The phrase it’s a small world doesn’t seem to apply when you’re trying to sell your property.  Quite the opposite!  It seems to double in size.

The Changing Market Place

The market can also change while you’re listed too.  You may start out in a seller’s market, but it can change into a buyer’s market, or become neutral in a relatively short period of time.  The events of September 11th had an impact on many markets – including real estate.  Some areas felt it much sooner and stronger than others of course.  But major events, real or suspected, can make buyers take a step back and temporarily put off buying a new home or prompt them to buy lesser priced properties.

But They Still Bought a Home – Somewhere

Any of the above factors may have influenced buyers that looked at your property and they decided to buy another.  But they still bought something.  If the majority of buyers and/or agents are giving the same general feedback, you need to listen closely and make any reasonable adjustments so your property is more appealing to the majority of buyers in the marketplace.  It could be a very long wait for that one single buyer who loves everything about your house.

Marketing and the MLS

Marketing is important to getting a property sold too.  But realistically, if your property has been in the multiple listing services for some time, even if the marketing hasn’t been what you hoped for, real estate agents still had access to your property’s details.  Agents could still tell their buyers about your property show your property and write offers for your property.  But it didn’t happen.  Usually, the number one reason is the asking price.  Your competition has priced their property for what the market will bear for their location, property type, condition and features.  And there is more and more competition coming on the market all the time.

Imagine this:  You need to buy cases of cola for your store.  What’s your choice?

Cola A:  Current price is $108 per case.  Good taste, proven winner.

Cola B:  Current price is only $109 per case.  The bottles are more stackable and very clean.  Virtually the same great taste as Cola “A”.  Are you interested?  Why not?

Cola C:  Offers even more “features” for only $110 per case.  The special label design is clean and modern, an added secret ingredient provides extra fizz – which cost the company a mint to do, and it tastes very much like the competition.  Are you interested?  Why not?  Remember it has the special label and “extra fizz” ingredient and now the bottles will be steam cleaned prior to being sold.  Besides, due to some hard luck and unforeseen circumstances the company could really use just a little more money.  Just a little bit more for so much more!  How can you pass it up?

Everyone wants to believe they have the nicest, the best, and the most desirable home on the market and yours may truly be in the category.  Beauty and perceived value is definitely in the eye of the buyer though, and is based on their wants and needs.  Buyers, for anything, will almost always pay more for something they really want; feel is a better value or makes them feel good physically and emotionally.  The market will tell you if it agrees with your asking price and you’d better listen or you’ll be sitting there month after month.

We all wish we could pull just a little more money from the sale.  That little bit could be all it takes to sway a buyer toward another property.

Faith and Encouragement

Now, let’s say the marketing efforts have been fine but you’re still not sold.  Your price is where it should be.  The truth is that sometimes – it just takes that long.  Don’t hold your agent responsible if everything that is supposed to be done is being done on your behalf and your buyer isn’t knocking at your door yet.  Stay with them.  Give them your support and encouragement.

They too are feeling the pressure and frustration you are.  Really they are.  After all, they’ve done everything right and expended substantial amounts of money, time, energy, plus worry and concern to bring about a successful sale.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side either.  If you trust your agent, know they are doing their job, show it by staying with them.  It means more than you’ll ever know to an agent who’s been working very hard for you and wondering when they’ll too be paid for their efforts and reimbursed for the out-of-pocket expenses.

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