Your listing has been on the market for over 60 days an no one has even made a hint at making an offer – you are frustrated and your seller is getting agitated.  There are several factors that could be working against you, here are the top 5 reasons a house doesn’t sell according to real estate industry experts:

 1. Overconfident Seller

In a strong sellers market like ours, sellers can get overconfident and in turn – lazy.  They may think that they do not need to make the  improvements to get the best value out of their home.  It may be true that there is less inventory on the market and healthy amount of buyers.  BUT, that does not mean that a house that doesn’t show well is going to sell well.  They may not think shampoo bottles in the shower and clutter on the kitchen counters is not a problem – but your buyers do.

  •  A well staged home earns 5%-10% more than its unstaged competitors.
  •  Statistics show a well staged home spends 50% less time on the market
  • A buyer has an opinion of the house within 15 seconds of entering.


House for sale

2. The Home Needs Some TLC or Updating.

Outdated carpet
Outdated lighting fixture

For those buyers who are looking for a move in ready property, a house that is has old light fixtures, dated tile in the kitchen and bath or old carpet can be a challenge to show.  Many sellers in this position do not want to invest in a home they are planning on leaving, and don’t understand that a small investment up front can save them thousands of dollars in the long run – through price reductions, improvement credits and spending more time on the market.
There are inexpensive yet very effect items to help bring the home up to date.  Proven examples are simple things like:
 * New light fixtures in the entry, dining room and bathrooms

* New flooring.  Especially carpet if it is a bold color, in the bathroom or showing stains & wrinkles.

* Fresh paint. 

It is very important to choose items that appeal to the masses and not the sellers.  A good place for inspiration are model homes.  They show the current most popular colors and styles that appeal to the broadest range of buyers.

  • Updated and staged homes appear to buyers to be well maintained and therefore get higher priced offers
  • Homes that have improvements are more appealing to move in ready buyers.

3. Have it Listed Too High 

Whether the price was set to test the market or the seller was convinced that the property had upgrades and features that warranted a higher price, the market eventually tells you what the house is worth. 

It is often warranted to re-evaluate the property based on new comparables, the current housing market and what feedback you get from buyers during showings.    Although, rather than jumping  to the conclusion that  a price reduction is the remedy, don’t forget to take a look at other factors on this list.  It may be that the property just needs a face lift, new photography and marketing materials or other fixes that can add value to the listing. 

the price is too high graphic

4. Advertising / Listing Photos are NOT Good

With 90% of buyers looking for property online (often before they have even hired a real estate expert), listing photos have to be great!  Especially in our Reno market, where many homes are competing with newly built homes and buyers are walking through expertly decorated model homes.  According to photography experts, professional real estate photos generate:  

* 118% more online views

* Sell 50% faster @ 39% closer to the list price

When spending the marketing money on professional photography, it is a shame if you don’t include staging along with it.  That would be equal to getting your headshot taken without doing your make-up and hair first, or choosing your best suit and tie!  A professional stager will make sure furniture is properly arranged to make the room look its best, be sure all personal items are removed from the room and accessories are strategically placed to highlight the features of the room. 

If you take the photos yourself, staging is just as important – if not more so!  These real listing photos show how important a little prep work can be when marketing your listing.  All of these examples were taken from houses that were on the market over 45 days (some hitting the 120 day mark) and several had price reductions as well.  Buyers cannot visualize a space and they will not spend time looking at properties that do not look appealing in photos – because they anticipate them being worse in person.

Bad listing photo of backyard
Bad Listing photo of bathroom
Bad Listing photo of family room

5. The House Smells Bad

House Stinks Graphic

Whether it is pet urine, mildew, smoke or food order, this is probably the most difficult topic to breech with your seller.  But it is necessary.  No amount of marketing money or open houses can compete with a house that smells bad.  Potential buyers have no way of knowing what it will cost to fix the problem – or if it is even something that can be fixed, so they go on to the next house.   It is in the best interest of the seller to resolve the issue and then put the house back on the market.