Why Won’t My House Sell? Part 1

bathroomSo you’ve listed your house for sale, your agent has come and taken photos, your listing is on the Internet, you have seen it in the newspaper and in the real estate magazines but you haven’t had a single showing. What’s wrong???

Well, if you’re selling in Auckland, I can tell you it’s probably one of three things:

  1. You’re priced too high
  2. Your house is not appealing to buyers
  3. Your agent is not marketing your house in the right places.

So, how do I tell if I’m priced too high? I’ve learned from my own experience as well as the feedback from buyers, sellers and agents all over Auckland that houses sell faster when they are priced competitively. Before you decide “competitive pricing” is pricing below comparable properties, understand that competitive pricing is listing for a price near what comparable properties have SOLD for recently.

Look at comparable properties and consider what criteria truly make that property comparable to yours. Basics like floor area, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and geographic proximity. If you have a two bedroom, one bath, 75 square metre home, it is not comparable to a four bedroom, two bathroom, 200 square metre home just because it’s only two houses down. Also, just because you own a 350 square metre home 40 kilometres from the closest town does not make it more valuable than a 120 square metres home in a suburban part of town 5 minutes from the commercial district. You need to ask your agent what features make your home comparable to others and only look at properties similar to yours.

Next, look at the SOLD price of those properties. It doesn’t matter what these people were asking for their houses, and it doesn’t matter what comparable properties that haven’t sold are listed for; all that matters is the bottom line – the sold price. If you price your home near that dollar amount, you are saying to buyers, “I am fair and reasonable” and buyers will be fair and reasonable also.

Lastly, when looking at these comparables, make sure they are homes that have sold recently. You should not consider homes that sold more than 6 months ago because an appraiser won’t and neither will your buyers when they decide what a fair and reasonable offer is. I don’t care that your house might have sold for $350,000 in 2005. You didn’t sell it in 2005, this is 2009. Let go of the past. If comparable properties are selling for $220,000 then your house needs to be priced close to that. Remember, the value of ANYTHING is only what an able buyer is willing to pay. If you are determined to list your home for more than 15% above what comparable properties are selling for, don’t waste your or your agent’s time. Wait it out, hang out for another 5-10 years when things are on a steady rise.

To be continued…
This has been adapted with permission from a post by Jessica Murr. Jessica Murr is a Realtor in Far Northern California specializing in luxury homes, ranch properties, real estate sales consulting, social media and networking, first time homebuyers, and real estate investment planning.