Selling your house can be an intensely emotional experience in any market, but it's particularly nerve-wracking when it seems like other homes are going under contract in a matter of days while your listing lingers. Usually it's the listing price, but there are a ton of other things that could keep your house on the market.
1. You have too much stuff
Clutter is going to draw buyers' eyes away from the space of the room and their ability to fill it with their stuff, distracting them when you want them to be fully focused on their dream of homeownership.
2. It's not in great condition
Some buyers are going to be fine with a fixer-upper, but working on a house is not everybody's idea of fun.
3. Upgrades and fixes weren't done professionally
If your profession is "home builder," then perhaps you might get a pass here, but most people who are trying to save money on home repairs will likely end up paying for it when the time comes to sell.
4. The appliances are outdated
If most homes in your neighborhood sport the latest stainless steel kitchen appliances, and yours are avocado green and older than some of your buyers, then this might be an investment you just have to make.
5. It smells, or it's noisy
There are a lot of things that can turn buyers off once they actually step inside a house, but two that there's almost no chance of mitigating include noise and odors.
6. There's no curb appeal
You don't need to landscape your entire outdoors, but make sure you're addressing the basics. Is the grass alive? If so, has it been mowed? Is the porch clean of clutter and swept? Could a couple of planters with flowers make it look more inviting?
7. The pictures are amateur or don’t make your house look amazing
Your listing photos are the first impression that buyers will get of your house. Make sure you’re selecting only photos that make your house shine.
8. The price is based on an online estimate
Even though that online price may have given you a warm fuzzy feeling, the truth is that it might not be all that accurate.
9. The listing description is flat or unrealistic
Many will also pay attention to the listing description. This is a chance to tell interested buyers what you love about the house, and they're going to be looking for information or nuance that they couldn't glean from the photos.
10. Social media ads gave too much away
You want to give just enough away to interest buyers viewing your listing and invite them to learn more. If you give too much away in marketing, it can have the opposite effect: There's no mystery, and buyers will make a quick (potentially inaccurate) decision about whether or not they like the house.
11. You weren't careful about social media in other ways
Loose lips sink ships — and they also sink home sales. In an era when we're all super-connected, it's not outside the realm of possibility that a buyer might have access to what you're posting on social media, and that can come back to bite you big-time.
12. The price is just outside a significant price band
When buyers search for homes, they usually can search by $50,000 price increments. The price band is the price range included in a search. If you price a home at $299,000 instead of $300,000, it will only be included in the $250-$300,000 price band, not the $300,000-$350,000 price band. Try to pick a sales price that straddles two price bands if you can, exposing it to more buyers.
13. There's no marketing budget
There are times when a little marketing goes a long way. When you're interviewing agents, ask them if they have a marketing budget and what it covers.
14. Showings aren't convenient for buyers
It's a pain to keep your house spotless in case a showing gets booked, and then vacate the premises while strangers traipse through with an agent. But if you are dictating showing times that only fit your schedule, don't expect buyers to fit your property into their schedule.
15. You insist on staying during showings
The impulse to do this comes from a good place nine times out of ten: You want to share all of the best features of your house with buyers. But trust that buyers know what they are looking for and what appeals to them, and resist the impulse to give them a guided tour.
16. There's an issue with the title
Before your home is listed, it's always a good idea to conduct a title search and make sure everything is squeaky clean. You'll breathe easier during closing, anyway!
17. The wrong agent is listing the home
Like all of us, real estate agents have strengths and weaknesses. Ask any agents you interview about their experience in working with clients like you to sell houses like yours. If they don't have any, then you might be in for a long wait and several price cuts before your house moves.
18. You're too attached
Sometimes it's the right time to sell a house — and sometimes you're just not ready to let go yet. That's a very normal feeling to have, but it can also sabotage your home sale.