Even in a historically hot market, it’s not always easy to sell your house. While you may have heard anecdotes about bidding wars pushing a home to sell for well over asking price, that’s not the norm. Even if you’ve done everything right — made the major home repairs, spruced up the curb appeal, and marketed your home well — there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a wealth of suitable offers. You might not even get one.
What can you do if you have lots of viewings but no offers? How long should you expect your house to stay on the market? Here, we’ll discuss why a house might not get any offers and outline tactics you can pursue to get more, better offers.
As of August 2021, homes spend an average of 39 days on the market before selling. In some in-demand markets, the DOM (“days on market”) may be much shorter. And it may be longer in other markets. There’s no precise number for how long is too long for your home to be on the market, but if it’s over the national average, or your local market average, it may be time to reevaluate your options.
A home may not get offers for many reasons, but one of the biggest is pricing.
A common practice in real estate is to look at your home’s price after it’s been on the market and analyze what kind of interest you’ve generated. If you’ve only gotten drivebys and online views, your house may be up to 13% overpriced. If you’ve only had a few showings, it may be up to 9% overpriced. If you’ve had frequent showings but no offers, it may be up to 5% overpriced.
But a lack of offers doesn’t always mean you’ve listed your home for too much. Sometimes a low price raises red flags to potential buyers who assume something is wrong with the property. They see a gorgeous house listed for much less than comparable houses in the neighborhood and think, “There’s something they’re not telling us,” so they don’t even bother pursuing their interest.
Another reason your house might not generate any offers is what you’ve put in the home. There are entire Instagram pages dedicated to strange features of homes around the United States, from incredibly detailed murals of The Beatles in the basement and creepy antique doll collections to all-glass bathrooms and beyond. If there’s something truly “unique” about your home, it’s worth making it a bit more generic before listing again.
Sometimes, things are beyond your control. Perhaps your neighborhood is no longer desirable, the home is built on a floodplain, or the city is declining. When problems are beyond your control, you need to gameplan with your realtor to present your home in an interesting new way, or agree to cut the listing price. Otherwise, there’s plenty you can do to try to drum up more offers.
Your real estate agent is a team member and, like any partnership, you need to communicate and work well together. But while the best seller-agent relationships are built on collaboration and cooperation, you’re still their employer. You should always be satisfied with their work so, if you’re not, don’t hesitate to move on from your real estate agent. If your house isn’t getting any offers and you’ve trusted your agent’s experience despite your gut telling you otherwise, your gut was probably right. It’s time to interview some new agents.
As the last section highlighted, the list price is the most common reason sellers don’t get offers. A good agent can help with this. You can use the agents’ rule of thumb in the previous section to understand how overpriced your house is, but an agent can give you more precise comparative market analysis (CMA).
Don’t drop the price too dramatically or too quickly. Even if you know it’s far overpriced, dropping just 3-5% may move buyers to action. Too steep of a drop right away suggests that there’s something undesirable about the home.
Open houses might attract many non-serious buyers but there’s value in a quantity over quality approach. Most buyers today find their homes online, but you never know if somebody who wasn’t previously serious about buying a house might fall in love with your home and change their mind. It’s more likely that a serious buyer will set up an individual showing but open houses give you a better chance of reaching as many people as possible.
Following the quantity approach, if you want to sell your home, you need to make as many people as possible aware of its existence. There are some very easy ways to do this if you’re holding open houses. Advertising an open house is simple:
Going beyond open house promotion, you can also leverage the internet. Make sure your agent has high-quality photographs of the home (you might want to pay a professional photographer) and ensure your place is on all of the most popular listing sites. You could also invest in a multiple listing service (MLS) that automatically lists your house across dozens of sources. Most real estate agents (if you’re working with one) will handle this for you, but it’s on you to give them the information and assets to succeed.
When working on your listing, make sure it’s accurate, even about the less-than-perfect aspects. Note any major repairs needed or potential expenses that may come up in the next year or so, like a water heater coming due for replacement. You don’t want to catch anybody off guard when they visit the house, or make it as far as a home inspection.
Finally, one of the most straightforward actions you can take is just to clean your home. Either hire a service or invest the time to make your home sparkle. Simplify, declutter, and de-personalize spaces so people can move freely and imagine what they would do with the space. Also, take care of small upgrades and repairs like replacing door knobs or lights, find and remove the source of weird smells, and ensuring all of the faucets are in working order.
Every home selling experience is different. You can’t expect anything when it comes to selling your home, no matter the market. If you’re having trouble selling your home, these tips can help you hit a soft reset and drum up more interest and offers.
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