22 Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling (And What to Do)

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why isn't my house selling

Is your home listed on the market for a little while now but you’re not seeing a whole lot of action from prospective buyers? The unsettling question might start to hover – “Why is my house not selling?”

The most common reasons for a home to sit on the market longer than expected are often more to do with the financial side of the deal, rather than the house itself. 

As of May 2023, homes in the United States were on the market for a median of 43 days, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED). This is a slight uptick compared to the buying frenzy in June 2021, when homes were on the market for a median of just 35.5 days.

This change could be attributed to various factors, such as fluctuations in home prices, changes in inventory levels, and shifts in buyer behavior.

In this article, we will look into the 22 most common reasons your home isn’t selling and offer practical advice on what you can do to turn things around.

When should you start getting worried about your house not selling? 

Selling a house is a significant undertaking, and it’s natural to be concerned if your house isn’t selling as quickly as you’d like.

Here are the key signs to watch for when your house is on the market, indicating it might be time to worry:

  • Above Average Days on Market: If your home has been on the market significantly longer than the current median days on market for your area, it could be a cause for concern. As of May 2023, the median days on market for U.S. homes was 43 days. If your home has been listed for much longer than this without receiving serious offers, it might be time to reassess your strategy.
  • Few Showings or Low Online Interest: Another sign that you might need to worry is if your home isn’t getting many showings or if the online listing isn’t generating much interest. This could indicate that buyers aren’t finding your property appealing, and it might be due to the price, the quality of the photos, or the way the property is being marketed.
  • Consistent Negative Feedback: If you’re receiving consistent negative feedback from potential buyers about specific aspects of your home, such as the layout, condition, or price, this could be a signal that changes are needed.
  • Changes in the Market: It’s important to keep an eye on wider market trends. If sales are declining overall, or if inventory levels are rising, as was the case in 2022, it might be more difficult to sell your home quickly.
  • Shifts in Home Prices: If home prices in your area are declining, and your home is priced based on previous higher prices, potential buyers might see it as overpriced. In 2023, median home prices have declined slightly.

Reasons Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

The real estate market is complex and numerous factors contribute to the saleability of a property. These reasons can include an overpriced listing, a slow market, necessary repairs, inadequate marketing, or even the lack of an experienced real estate agent.

Additionally, external factors such as economic trends, mortgage rates, and seasonal fluctuations can also play a role.

Here are 22 reasons why your home isn’t selling:

1. Your Listing Price is Too High

If your house is listed higher than what buyers expect for your area, you lose the interest of a large group of potential buyers. To find out if your home is overpriced, you need to do some research.

You can look up recent sales in your neighborhood to see what similar homes have sold for. If you can find a home in your neighborhood that recently sold with a similar square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, this is a good guess at the value of your home. It’s also a good idea to ask your real estate agent for their opinion.

If your home is overpriced, the best thing you can do is lower the price to be more in line with other homes in the area. This will make your home more attractive to buyers and more likely to sell.

2. The Market Is Slow, and Buyers Aren’t Looking

In the US, we are seeing home prices drop and housing markets cool across the country. This could be a big reason why your house isn’t selling.

If the market in your area is slow, it could take longer for your home to sell, especially at the price you are hoping for. This is often out of your control, but you still have options.

Lowering the listing price, offering incentives or being flexible on closing date can help get your home sold in a down market. You could also consider renting out your home until the market picks back up.

3. Your Home Needs Repairs

Unless you’re specifically marketing your home as an as-is fixer-upper, if your home is in need of repairs, it could be deterring potential buyers. Before putting your home on the market, make sure to fix any major issues such as leaks, cracks, or holes in the walls. You should also consider making cosmetic changes like painting the walls or updating the fixtures.

Making these changes will make your home more appealing to buyers and help it sell faster.

4. Your Home Isn’t Staged Well

Your home might not be selling because you didn’t spend time staging for photos and showings. The way you stage your home can affect how quickly it sells.

If your home is cluttered or messy, it will be hard for buyers to see its potential.

Make sure to declutter and deep clean your home before listing it. You should also consider hiring a professional stager to help you arrange furniture and décor in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Taking the time to properly stage your home will make it more attractive to buyers and increase the likelihood of selling quickly.

5. The House Photos Are Poor Quality

In today’s digital world, most buyers start their home search online. This means that the photos of your home are very important. If the photos are dark, blurry, or taken from weird angles, it will turn buyers off and make them less likely to want to see your home in person.

Make sure to hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your home. These photos should show off your home’s best features and make it look as inviting as possible.

6. Your Home Isn’t in a Desirable Location

If your home is in a bad location, it could be taking longer to sell. This is usually out of your control, but there are some things you can do to mitigate the effects.

One thing you can do is make sure that your home is well-maintained. This will help it stand out from other homes in the area and make it more appealing to buyers. You should also highlight any positive aspects of the location in your listing. For example, if your home is close to good schools or parks, be sure to mention that.

While you can’t change the location of your home, you can still take steps to make it more attractive to buyers.

7. Your House Has Poor Curb Appeal

The first thing potential buyers will see when they pull up to your home is the outside. If your home has poor curb appeal, it could be deterring buyers before they even step foot inside.

To improve your curb appeal, start by cleaning up the yard. Remove any dead plants or weeds and trim the grass. You should also consider adding some potted plants or flowers to add a pop of color.

Then, turn your attention to the outside of the house itself. Wash the windows and doors and pressure wash the siding if necessary. These simple changes can make a big difference in how appealing your home looks to buyers.

8. The Home Has an Outdated Style

When a home’s style is outdated, the first thing a buyer thinks is likely going to be about major renovations. That alone is enough to conjure up images of a gigantic project and a hefty price tag.

If your home’s style is outdated, there are a few things you can do to make it more attractive to buyers. One thing you can do is update the fixtures and hardware throughout the house. This includes things like door handles, light fixtures, and cabinet knobs.

You could also consider painting the walls or changing out the flooring. These changes will require more time and money, but they can really help to modernize your home and make it more appealing to buyers.

These changes are relatively inexpensive and can make a big difference in the overall look of your home.

9. You Have an Emotional Connection to the Home

It’s natural to have an emotional connection to your home. After all, it’s where you’ve made so many memories. But when it comes time to sell, you need to be able to detach yourself from that emotional connection. After all, you could very well be sabotaging yourself without even realizing it.

If you’re having trouble recognizing whether you are sabotaging yourself out of emotion, it might help to think about why you’re selling in the first place. Are you moving for a new job? Do you need a bigger house? Once you have a clear understanding of your reasons for selling, it will be easier to let go of the emotional attachment.

It’s also important to remember that your home is just a physical structure. The memories you’ve made there will always be with you, no matter where you live.

10. You’re Not Willing to Negotiate

If you’re not willing to negotiate on the price of your home, it could be taking longer to sell. In today’s market, buyers are looking for a good deal, and if you’re not willing to budge on the price, they’ll move on to another property.

It’s important to remember that the goal is to sell your home, not to make a certain amount of money. If you’re not getting any bites at your asking price, it might be time to lower it. Even if you have to take a little less than you wanted, it’s better than having your home sit on the market for months with no offers.

11. Small Issues, But Major Annoyances for Buyers

While some aspects of your home are major selling points, others might be small issues that are major annoyances for buyers. These can include things like a door that sticks, a loose doorknob, or a dripping faucet.

While these issues might seem minor, they can be big turn-offs for buyers. Not only are they annoying, but they also give the impression that the house hasn’t been well-maintained.

To avoid turning buyers off with small issues, take the time to fix them before putting your home on the market. This will show buyers that you’ve taken good care of your home and that any problems have been addressed.

12. Lack of Natural Light

Most people appreciate homes that are filled with natural light. It makes the space feel more open and inviting. If your home doesn’t have a lot of natural light, it could be making it harder to sell.

There are a few things you can do to make your home brighter and more appealing to buyers. One thing you can do is wash all of the windows to let in as much natural light as possible. You could also consider adding skylights or solar tubes to brighten up the space.

Another thing you can do is paint the walls in lighter colors. This will help to reflect any available light and make the space feel brighter.

13. Strange or Unusual Layout

Some homes have a layout that is just plain strange or unusual. This can be a turn-off for buyers because it makes the space feel less functional. If your home has a weird layout, it might be making it harder to sell.

There are a few things you can do to make a strange layout more appealing to buyers. One thing you can do is rearrange the furniture to make the space feel more open and inviting. You could also consider removing any unnecessary walls to create a more open concept.

Another thing you can do is stage the home in a way that makes the most of the available space. This will help buyers to see the potential in the home and envision themselves living there.

14. The Neighborhood Isn’t Appealing

If the neighborhood your home is in isn’t appealing, it could be making it harder to sell. There are a few things that can make a neighborhood less desirable, such as high crime rates, bad schools, or a lack of amenities.

If you live in a neighborhood that isn’t appealing, there’s not much you can do to change that. However, you can try to highlight the positive aspects of the area in your marketing materials. For example, if the neighborhood is close to downtown, you can emphasize its convenience.

You could also try to appeal to buyers who are looking for a fixer-upper. If the homes in the area are run-down, buyers might see it as an opportunity to get a good deal on a property.

15. Dark History

Namely, death or suicide in the home can make it harder to sell. If a home has a dark history, it can be off-putting for buyers.

If your home has a dark history, there’s not much you can do to change that. However, you can try to downplay the issue in your marketing materials. For example, if the home was previously owned by a celebrity, you can focus on that aspect instead of any tragic events that might have occurred there.

16. Poor First Impression

Even if you have good images, great curb appeal, and a well-written description, buyers might not even bother looking at your home if it doesn’t make a good first impression when they cross the threshold to have an in-person look.

Things like bad odors, unruly pets, clutter, and personal belongings can all make a home feel less inviting. If your home is making a poor first impression, it could be making it harder to sell.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your home makes a good first impression. One thing you can do is make sure the house is clean and free of any bad odors. You should also remove any personal belongings, such as family photos or keepsakes.

Another thing you can do is make sure the space is well-lit and that there’s no clutter around. This will help the space feel more open and inviting.

17. It’s Not Move-In Ready

If your home isn’t move-in ready, it could be making it harder to sell. Buyers might not want to put in the work required to make the home livable, or they might not have the budget to do so.

There are a few things you can do to make your home more move-in ready. One thing you can do is make any necessary repairs, such as fixing leaky faucets or repairing holes in the walls. You should also declutter the space and remove any personal belongings.

Another thing you can do is stage the home so that it looks more inviting and appealing. This will help buyers to see the potential in the property and envision themselves living there.

18. Bad Marketing Strategy

If you’re using a bad marketing strategy, it could be making it harder to sell your home. There are a few things that can make a marketing strategy less effective, such as using outdated methods or not reaching the right audience.

There are a few things you can do to improve your marketing strategy. One thing you can do is make sure you’re using current methods to market your home. This includes using social media and online listings platforms.

Another thing you can do is make sure you’re targeting the right audience. For example, if you’re trying to sell a fixer-upper home, you should market it to buyers who are interested in fixer-uppers, not move-in-ready homes. Don’t leave anything to surprise them when they see it in person.

19. Underperforming Real Estate Agent

If you’re using an underperforming real estate agent, it could be making it harder to sell your home. There are a few things that can make an agent less effective, such as not having enough experience or not being familiar with the local market.

There are a few things you can do to improve your real estate agent’s performance. One thing you can do is provide them with more information about your home and what you’re looking for in a sale. This will help them to better understand your needs and tailor their marketing strategy accordingly.

Another thing you can do is ask for feedback from your agent on a regular basis. This will help you to gauge their progress and see if there are any areas where they can improve.

20. Moldy, Mildewy, Musty = No Go

If your home has any mold, mildew, or musty odors, it could be making it harder to sell. These problems can be off-putting to potential buyers, and they can also be a sign of more serious issues, such as water damage.

There are a few things you can do to get rid of mold, mildew, and musty odors. One thing you can do is clean the affected areas with a mixture of bleach and water. You should also make sure that the space is well-ventilated and use a dehumidifier so that the problem doesn’t come back.

Another thing you can do is address any underlying issues that might be causing the mold, mildew, or musty odor. For example, if there’s a water leak, you should fix it as soon as possible.

21. Not Holding Open Houses

If you’re not holding open houses, it could be making it harder to sell your home. Open houses give potential buyers the chance to see your home in person and get a feel for the space.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your open houses are successful. One thing you can do is promote them in advance. This will help to get people in the door.

Another thing you can do is make sure the house is clean and presentable. This includes decluttering, staging, and making any necessary repairs.

You should also make sure that you or your real estate agent are available to answer any questions potential buyers might have.

22. Not Offering Incentives

If you’re not offering incentives, it could be making it harder to sell your home. Incentives can help to sweeten the deal for potential buyers and make them more likely to choose your home over others on the market.

There are a few things you can do to offer incentives. One thing you can do is offer a home warranty. This will cover the cost of repairs for a certain period of time after the sale.

Another thing you can do is offer to pay closing costs. This will help the buyer to save money on their purchase.

You could also offer a discount for cash buyers or buyers who are willing to close quickly.

Conclusion

If you’re asking yourself why your house isn’t selling, there are a number of things you can do to try to speed up the process.

Take a look at your home from the buyer’s perspective and see if there are any changes you can make to make it more appealing. From there, focus on marketing your home in a way that will attract buyers. With a little effort, you should be able to sell your home quickly.

If you’re just starting out or looking to replace an underperforming agent you’re currently working with, FastExpert can help! FastExpert helps you easily compare top-performing agents in your area and find the one that’s right for you.

You’ll be able to see recent sales data, reviews from previous clients, bios, and more.

With a local FastExpert agent, you’ll have everything you need to sell your home quickly and efficiently. Get started right now!

 

 

Andrew Te

Andrew has 7+ years of experience in Real Estate and working with Real Estate Agents. He is passionate about the housing market and solving problems.

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