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8 reasons why your home isn’t selling?

by sfishome on January 12, 2011

The simple answer to why any home doesn’t sell is price.  However, thats the simple answer.  There are often others.  But one thing is true, if you and your real estate agent have done everything else right, then you are priced too high.  Below are 8 mistakes that keep well priced homes from selling:

1.  Buyers can’t get in – I’m trying to see 8 condos with a client of mine tonight.  Would you believe 2 agents still haven’t gotten back to me, and 2 others took over night to respond that they haven’t heard back from their sellers.  So we’re seeing 3 of the other 4 as the 4th one says tonight doesn’t work.  Geez.  Good luck selling the ones buyers can’t see.

2. No photos, bad photos – today Buyers can find out just about everything they want to about a home before showing up.  If yours looks terrible online (which is where just about everyone sees it first) good luck getting them to show up.

3.  Bad info or no info – in the San Francisco MLS we get 500 characters for the home’s description.  Some can’t spell, some barely say anything, and some go over board with fluff talking about morning coffee on the balcony when buyers really want to know about features.

4. Lies – this trick is too stupid to put under “Bad info”.  I was excited to show my buyers a 1600 SqFt condo because everything else in their price range was about 1,000 to 1200 SqFt.  We were shocked that it was actually smaller than most condos we had seen.  We asked the agent where the rest of the place was and she played dumb.  The wife wouldn’t let it go and pointed out that she was advertising 1600 SqFt.  The agent’s response – well that’s what the tax records say, and I don’t verify that kind of information.  This from an agent whose been in the business something like 20 years.  We walked out in disgust and that place is probably still on the market 6 months later.

4.a. – the photo lie – I knew the 4-unit building, and knew my client would only like the front facing unit with the view of the park.  And there it was, a photo from the living room out to the park.  We showed up and the actual unit for-sale was the dark, small one in the back with a view of the neighbors peeling paint building.  Why? Why? Why?

OK, so I’ve beat up on the mistakes that agents can make.  But what about you the Seller?

5.  First – how do you let your agent get away with the above?  Did they promise bad marketing and mis-information?  Are you the one who isn’t allowing anyone to come in?  What’s going on?  You hired your agent, now make them accountable or fire them.

6. Shows terribly.  Cat or dog hair anywhere?  Your hair in the tub?  Too much furniture?  Smells of smoke, or cat pee, or 3 day old composting bin?  Oh, you say this isn’t you.  Trust me, there’s a reason your place hasn’t sold.  If you’ve done everything else right, the only other answer is price.

6.a. Your home could show better – in San Francisco new paint, an ultra thorough cleaning job, and staging are musts.  Unless of course you don’t mind under-pricing the market.  There are ways of doing this cheaply if you must, but you must declutter, clean up, touch up, pare your furniture, remove the personal knick knacks and photos, etc.

7. You turned down offers.  Oh no.  In San Francisco it’s rare to get low ball offers from unqualified buyers.  Your agent can do some due dilligence to make sure you have a serious and qualified buyer – and if you do, COUNTER THEM if you don’t like their price or terms.  But be reasonable.  If you swear your home is worth more than your agent says it is worth – you are the problem, not the buyer or your agent.    If someone writes an offer, treat it seriously no matter how much you hate it.  Counter them on price or terms or anything – don’t just let it go without a response.

8. Lastly, don’t hire an agent who can’t HONESTLY tell you why your home didn’t sell.  Or who won’t tell you HONESTLY what the real market value of your home is.  If you hire the guy who gives you a price 10% hire then the next highest agent, don’t be surprised when your home doesn’t sell.

My 2011 Real Estate resolution – to not let my Sellers not hear me.  If I know I’m right about price I’m going to be firmer and clearer than ever before.  To find out your San Francisco home’s value click here.

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