5 reasons your home isn’t selling
By John Handley, Special to Tribune Newspapers
Here is a very interesting article that just might help to sell your Redondo Beach home…
It’s summer, but the housing market still seems stuck in the deep freeze of winter.
Thousands of homes languish on the market with no buyers in sight.
Desperate owners wonder: “Why isn’t my house selling? What’s wrong with it? Will it ever sell?”
Granted, the entire economy has tanked and unemployment is high. But there are reasons why some houses don’t have a ghost of a chance.
Here are five top reasons:
Real estate agents nationwide agree that in this buyer’s market the No. 1 deal breaker is price.
“In order to sell today, the price of a home must be compelling, not just competitive,” said Ronald Phipps, the 2010 president-elect of the National Association of Realtors.
“The market now is all about price and value. Sellers should not be offended by very low opening offers. Rather, they should focus on where the negotiating ends,” said Phipps, principal broker of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I.
He advised sellers to revisit their price every 30 days.
“In setting a price, some sellers think $299,000, for example, will attract more attention because it is less than $300,000. Ditch that retail mentality. You could miss the 90 percent of buyers who search online and may be clicking on homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.”
Phipps noted that prices seem to be stabilizing across the country. But some real estate experts see the possibility of more slippage.
“Home selling today is a price war and a beauty contest. You have to win both to sell,” said Ian Robinson, branch manager of the Coldwell Banker office in Northbrook, Ill. “You must be ahead of the curve price-wise. Prices of homes that sold six to 12 months ago may be too high.”
“It’s important to be the best deal in the neighborhood. You don’t want to be the last on the block to lower a price,” said Judy Stephens, vice president of ERA Stephens Properties in Houston.
2. Bad curb appeal
Potential buyers will keep on driving if poor curb appeal suggests the house may be in bad shape too.
“It’s all about first impressions,” said Gail Wittig, a broker associate at Michael Saunders & Co. in Sarasota, Fla. “People have to fall in love with a house.”
That means manicured lawns are a must, plus trimmed trees and bushes, new mulch and no weeds.
“There should be no chipped paint on the front door or rusted hardware. Some people even forget to sweep the front porch,” Wittig added.
If necessary, the exterior siding and trim should be freshly painted.
“Paint is cheap, and you will get your money back,” Wittig added.
“If you have a front porch, put a rocking chair out there to make it look more inviting,” Stephens said. “Make sure there are no rakes, bikes or toys in the front yard.”
3. Ineffective marketing
With the market oversaturated, the challenge is to stand out from the crowd. Poor marketing can spell doom even for attractive properties.
Phipps said sellers must be aware of how buyers are searching, especially on the Internet. “A compelling online presence is necessary, including photos and floor plans. Avoid using any out-of-season photos.”
In today’s high-tech world, the Internet often provides the first showing of a home on the market. Sellers should make sure their home is on as many Web sites as possible, in addition to the local Multiple Listing Service.
Special promotions may be necessary to draw attention to a residence, said to Phipps. “To differentiate your house from all the others on the market may require incentives, such as including closing costs, giving a decorating allowance, replacing windows in an older house or even throwing in a sailboat. Of course, these have to be specific to the market.”
Another extra that sellers can offer is a one-year warranty to cover such mechanical and electrical features as washers, dryers, refrigerators and plumbing, said Stephens.
She added that sellers should make sure their Realtor has a connection with a relocation service so they don’t miss out on out-of-town buyers.
“Video is the next hot thing,” said Robinson. “Videos have generated phenomenal traffic for some properties. They range from professionally done with music, to videos with a personal touch shot by the agent or owner.”
He added that quality of online photos should be high. “People want to see lots of pictures.”
4. Interior clutter
“Less is more when showing a house. The interior must be decluttered. Take half of everything out of closets,” advised Wittig.
Potential buyers imagine what it would be like living in your house. They don’t want to see all your stuff.
“Opinions are formed in seconds after entering a house. Immediate turnoffs include too much furniture, dirty or stained carpets, (and) food smells such as fish, garlic and spices,” said interior designer Helen Velas, president of Eleni Interiors in Naperville, Ill.
She advises that sofas and chairs should be cleaned, or a storage locker can be rented to move out some of the furniture.
“Ceilings should be white, not matching the color of walls. Buyers probably won’t like your wallpaper, so paint those walls,” Velas said.
“To make your house feel like today, buy new throw pillows with an up-to-date palette of colors. Brighten up rooms by turning on all the lights, add lamps in dark rooms and open drapes and blinds. Leaky or rusty faucets should be fixed or replaced.”
For a home that needs a major makeover, Wittig recommends hiring a company to stage the interior. That may include painting rooms and moving furniture, or renting furniture if the house is empty.
5. Undesirable location
A house for sale in a less than desirable location in this much-less-than-desirable market suffers from a double whammy.
The main option is to lower the price. But sellers also can ramp up marketing by promoting special features of the house, such as proximity to shopping, transportation and recreation.
For special problems, Stephens offers these tips: “If security is a problem in the area, install an alarm system. If the home backs up to an apartment complex, build a fence. If the location is on a busy street, market to buyers without kids.”
Phipps of the National Association of Realtors offers one last bit of advice to those with a home that just won’t sell: “Remember what it was that attracted you when you bought your home. What motivated you back then to buy? Try to evoke that feeling now.”