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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Are you jealous and frustrated every time someone mentions a home that sold in a week, knowing the paint on your FOR SALE sign is beginning to flake? Take heart — the solution to your problem may be simpler than you think. Even when the housing market in your area is problematic, and yes, even during a pandemic that is affecting your area adversely, homes are no doubt being sold. What you have to discover is why yours isn’t one of them.

Though there are variables involved (e.g. weather, holidays, economic downturns), if you haven’t had a serious offer in 3 to 4 weeks, it’s usually wise to assume that there is a problem you’ve overlooked. Below are some reasons your home may not be selling:

1. The Price Is Too High

Because your home is meaningful to you and usually your most valuable asset, it is easy to think it is worth more than it actually is. Realizing that your estimation of its value is likely to be inflated, it’s important to ground yourself in facts by:

  • Consulting with local realtors, even those you may not use
  • Checking local listings, not for asking prices but for actual amounts paid
  • Listening to what people shopping for homes, or who have recently bought one, say
  • Consulting with the experienced real estate attorney you will be using for the sale

It’s important to realize you’re not alone in your predicament. At least 40 percent of sellers have to lower their price at least once. You should also be aware that statistics show: the longer your home remains unsold, the more likely its selling price is to go down.

In many cases, pricing your home low and letting potential buyers outbid one another is more effective than pricing it at your most ambitious estimation of its worth. Remember, too, if it’s necessary to reduce the price, lowering it a significant amount at first is better than having would-be buyers see it devalued repeatedly.

2. Your Home Is Out of the Ordinary

While certain unusual features may add appeal, most people are looking for conventionally laid-out homes. The bathroom off the kitchen may be handy to you, but seem unappealing to others. The tiny attic bedroom that serves as a perfect office for you may appear too confining to be useful. Even the small pond in your backyard that you view as picturesque may be regarded as a source of mosquitoes or a danger to small children to those with a different perspective.

In some cases, you may be able to alter an unusual feature to make your home more conventional; in many, you will just have to be patient until a buyer looking for “quirky” appears. It may be a good idea to highlight the atypical aspect of your home to attract those to whom it will appeal and keep those who won’t like it from wasting your time.

3. Your Home Is Not Presenting Well

Let’s face it, first impressions matter. For your home to sell, it must be eye-catching outside and attractive inside. Take a tip from skilled realtors and pay attention to the following:

  • Make sure the outside of your home looks well-maintained — porch, walkways, garage door, front steps. Repaving a driveway that is pitted or crumbling can make a tremendous difference in how your home is viewed during a drive-by.
  • Do your best to make the landscaping appealing. Get rid of any dead wood, mow the lawn, remove fallen leaves, plant a few flowers, repaint the front door.
  • Declutter the inside of your home. Remember that less furniture makes your home look larger; clean windows make your home look brighter. Realize that potential buyers will be affected by the neatness and organization of your closets and pantry. Storing some of your furniture may well be worth the price and temporary inconvenience.

You needn’t bake fresh bread or light candles, but make sure the broom doesn’t fall out on visitors when you open the utility closet.

4. Your Photos Aren’t Showing Your Home at its Best

These days, when everyone is shopping for homes online, it is crucial that the photos of your home posted on the internet do it justice. It is worth having them taken by an expert photographer who understands angles and lighting and who will take pictures that show your home at its most attractive. Multiple studies have shown that first-rate photos accelerate home sales.

5. You’re Not Using the Right Professionals

Though most of us know how important it is to have a knowledgeable, skilled professional for medical care, legal representation, electrical work, etc., some of us make poor choices when it comes to selling our homes. In all probability, if you are having difficulty selling your home, you are not using the sharpest realtor. If you didn’t do your due diligence before settling on the realtor you’re using now, or if you’ve been trying to sell your home as a do-it-yourself project, it’s time to shift gears.

A good place to start is by consulting with a highly recommended team of local real estate lawyers who will be able to guide you. More than that, you should establish a relationship with the attorney who will be representing you through negotiations and drafting and reviewing documents for you from initial contract to closing. Besides, if you’re dissatisfied with the realtor with whom you’re now under contract, your attorney will know exactly how to free you from that commitment. Contact our office to get in touch with a lawyer!

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.