Home Selling Slowly? Here’s What to Do

Most people don’t set out to sell their house as slowly as possible, but even when the market is hopping, it can happen. So what should you do if you’re selling your home in slow motion? Is there anything you can do to speed things up?

Why, yes, there is, say many real estate experts. But turning things around won’t be instantaneous. You’ll need to analyze why your home is selling so slowly, and once you’ve found the reason, decide how to fix the problem.

[READ: How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?]

Your Home’s Price May Not Be to the Market’s Liking

Talk to any real estate expert, and the first thing they’ll tell you is that a house is selling slowly because the price is too high. Consider this small, informal survey:

“While real estate is all about location, price is, by far, the main reason why some homes linger on the market,” says John Walkup, co-founder of UrbanDigs, a New York City-based real estate data analytics company. “The seller’s price should be near the buyer’s value perception, and when that’s off by more than a reasonable level, the home will be ignored.”

“Proper pricing is so important,” says Bill Kowalczuk, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Warburg in New York. “If you are overpriced and aggressive with the number, your home will just sit there.”

“One of the most common reasons that a home isn’t selling is that it is priced too high compared to comparable properties in the area. This is one of the most significant mistakes that can be made,” says Lisa Robinson, an Atlanta-based real estate advisor with Engel & Völkers.

According to Robinson, your high price scares buyers away, so even if you start to drop the price, “the home may become stigmatized” as it sits.

In other words, suddenly, homebuyers are saying, “Boy, this house has been on the market forever. Maybe there is a reason. Let’s go find a different house.”

How to fix this:Lower the price, obviously. But Kowalczuk suggests, if it’s feasible, that you “delist the home and give the listing a rest.”

If you give the market a chance to forget about your home for a little while, you can try to make a fresh start later. In the meantime, Kowalczuk suggests taking feedback that you or your real estate agent have collected from buyers who ultimately passed on the purchase and “make the necessary changes to make the home more appealing.”

While the house may be selling slowly due to an inflated price, if you can fix up your home as you move to correct that, you may offset other concerns buyers had.

Your House May Simply Need More Spiffing Up

While the price matters greatly, so does the presentation, says Walkup. If your house doesn’t have much curb appeal — and you probably are well aware if it doesn’t — that’s hampers your ability to sell it.

“Buyers need to be able to see the value on offer, but if what they see is clutter, overgrown weeds or peeling paint, their attention is drawn to problems instead,” Walkup says.

A home’s problems can work against you if the market is soft in your community.

“Buyers have a FOMO mentality and tend to buy when others are buying,” Walkup says, and that fear of missing out can stall a sale if others aren’t buying.

“So, when the market slows down, the buying process can seem scarier for buyers,” Walkup says. If they’re squeamish about the market, they’re less likely to take a chance on buying a home that seems to have issues.

How to fix this: Literally fix your home. If your house isn’t selling, and you know you need a new roof or the basement is an eyesore, or the fence around your home has seen better days, then you would do yourself a great favor by investing in home improvements.

Robinson says that in “the current market, buyers are not desperate to get into a particular home. They are looking for their perfect home.”

[READ: Improve Your Curb Appeal: 6 Projects You Can Tackle in a Weekend]

Your House May Be Great — the Marketing May Be Lacking

Long before anybody visits your home flirting with the idea of buying it, they will visit your home online. Making your home warm and inviting on the internet matters a lot if you want people to show up in real life.

“Poor quality photos or insufficient photos can turn off potential buyers searching online,” Robinson says.

How to fix this: Do a better job making your home look like it’s worth paying money for.

Robinson suggests using the best photos you can and to be careful of unappealing photos of a bathroom “where all you can see in the photo is the commode, and absolutely no photos that look like a hoarder is living in the home.”

“Photos should showcase the home at its best, and if the photo isn’t showcasing something favorable, it’s unnecessary to use it in advertising,” Robinson says.

[Related:How Professional Photos Could Help You Sell Your Home Faster]

Other Options for a Home Lingering on the Market

You can fix a lot of things about your home, but you may not be able to solve every gripe a buyer has about your place. For instance, if you live on a road with a lot of traffic, and you’re constantly hearing buyers say, “I don’t want to live on this busy street,” there’s little you can do to change the street. Even there, however, you may be able to fix the issue with creative thinking and a large budget.

Perhaps you could put in a new driveway to give the homeowner more room to maneuver their car around, so they aren’t backing out onto a busy road.

While a new driveway might seem extreme, it’s up to you to decide what investment might be worth it. However, you don’t have to spend a small fortune fixing up your home. “Think fresh landscaping, decluttering or painting — simple, inexpensive jobs that can focus buyers on value and not problems,” Walkup says.

If there’s something really cool but also a little odd about your home — like a saltwater aquarium built into the living room walls that is going to require a lot of time and money from the next homeowner to maintain — you may find that your house is going to sell super slowly.

“We usually see the longest days on the market for idiosyncratic units that speak to a niche buyer pool,” Walkup says. “For example, ultra-luxury, highly customized units that are really of interest to only a handful of people may take years to sell.”

Still, selling a home is often a numbers game, and if interest in your house is waning, maybe you need to do something that will get more people to look at your home, and increase your odds of finding an interested buyer. Consider any criticism about your home constructive, in case you can cheaply fix what people don’t like. Kowalczuk says often sellers just need to change the customer’s perspective of the home, and that doesn’t always cost a lot of time and money.

“You’ll be surprised what a few simple, inexpensive fixes can do, inside and out,” Kowalczuk says.

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Home Selling Slowly? Here’s What to Do originally appeared on usnews.com

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