LOS ANGELES—Putting your home on the market is an emotional decision, but watching it sit there with little interest from potential buyers can add frustration to the mix. So take a step back and reexamine the situation and try to determine what you may have overlooked.
Price is the primary reason a home doesn't sell.
Sometimes it’s a question of price that has many heading in the opposite direction rather than taking a chance in seeing the possibilities of your home. Price is generally the main reason why a home doesn’t sell and it’s easy to see why when it’s a place where you have many cherished memories of your children growing up or welcoming a new baby. It’s hard to put a price on a place of such great memories so invariably you may well price it too high.
This is where your real estate professional comes in. With valuable input from your agent, based upon market and neighborhood values, you can price the property to sell. It’s important to be detached emotionally from the property when it comes to picking a sale price.
It’s also important to know that if your home has been on the market for 30 days or more and still hasn’t sold, it’s probably a good idea to reduce the price.
Advertising is also important when it comes to selling your home. If people don’t know about your property, how can they see it? Make sure your agent isn’t just listing your home on multiple listing services and then simply wait for the offers to roll in. Marketing needs to be more involved than that so ask your agent about his strategy and be involved down to the kinds of photos that will be used to market your home.
Location is also a big factor when it comes to selling. You may want to ask yourself if your home is located in an unattractive area or if it’s not well planned in general. It could be one or the other or both, perhaps. Either way, it could pose a problem since there is not much that you can do if you have a tiny backyard or a highly-trafficked road in front of the house, making it hard to drive in or out. Lowering your price is about the only way to combat these obstacles.
A bad appearance also can weigh on the home’s sale-ability. Having a decrepit fence and paint peeling from the exterior or even large rust stains on the walls can be deal-breakers for many potential buyers. It’s a good idea to replace dilapidated fixtures, pieces of fence, old carpeting and anything else that needs repair to give your home a nice look that will attract buyers.
Sometimes, a home has too many family and personal items, making it seem less attractive to buyers who feel like they’re in someone else’s home rather than a cozy place that could soon be theirs. So get rid of the family photos from your mantle or the deer antlers from the wall and replace them with innocuous artwork or books that will blend with the décor. Remember, buyers are savvy and sophisticated for the most part and if your home is cluttered with personal items, they will turn away and head for a home they will feel more at ease with.
And lastly, being a little inflexible can also be a problem when it comes to selling. If your broker has a potential buyer interested in visiting your property and you don’t want to change your plans to accommodate them, then that can be a problem. Potential buyers will go on to the next property and forget about yours, so be flexible. The person you turn away could have been the buyer you should have had.
David Rosenfeld is a Real Estate broker and president of Advantage Real Estate, a Real Estate and investment firm in Santa Monica, and a Rotary Club member. He has more than 20 years experience in commercial and residential property investments and financial counseling. He can be reached at 310-450-4488, at firstname.lastname@example.org at www.advantage-realestate.com.