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How to Sell a Home that’s not selling

Are you trying to sell a home that’s just not selling? If you’ve been waiting—and waiting—for your home to sell, maybe it’s time to try new tactics. Sure, no one can control the housing market, but some problems are absolutely within your power to fix.

Here are smart ways to adjust your home-selling strategy to attract more buyers and finally get your home sold:

1. Adjust Your Asking Price

Mispricing your home is one of the easiest home-selling mistakes to make. It can be difficult to separate emotions from the facts about a home’s worth, so some owners make their asking price way too high for the market based on sentimentality. Other sellers price their homes based on the amount they need to pay off the mortgage and walk away with a good down payment on a new home. That’s not a good strategy either.

Simply put, your home is worth what someone will pay for it. The best way to get an idea about that number is to compare recent sale prices of homes like yours in your area. A real estate agent can do that research by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA will help you set a price that will bring in buyers.

2. Restage for Buyers

Okay, another area to consider is your home itself. If it isn’t showroom-ready by the time the for-sale sign goes up in the yard, there’s work to be done! Get out the elbow grease and get rid of the clutter. You don’t want potential buyers to be so distracted by dust bunnies or piles of old magazines that they overlook your home’s best features.

And speaking of your home’s best features, that portrait of your favorite fantasy video game character isn’t one of them—nor is your vintage doll collection. You want to make it as easy as possible for buyers to picture your house as their home—and that can’t happen until Zelda and Little Miss Porcelain have vacated the premises. So, put away your personal effects and make room for the buyer’s imagination.

For ideas on what to restage, here are the rooms considered to be the most important to buyers:1

  • Living room (47%)
  • Master bedroom (42%)
  • Kitchen (35%)

If you put extra effort into restaging, it may be just what your home needs to attract serious buyers.

3. Fix Home Issues

It can be hard to find the energy to fix a home you want to sell. We get it. But keep in mind, not fixing serious issues will leave you with a small number of buyers—namely, house flippers who will lowball you for pennies on the dollar. If you’re financially stable enough to take a hit, slashing the price to get it sold might not be so bad. Otherwise, consider fixing the issues to appeal to more buyers. For example, make sure these parts of your home are in good shape:

  • Electrical system
  • HVAC system
  • Plumbing
  • Windows
  • Roof

If you don’t have the money or time to fix home issues, consider offering some other form of incentive to buyers. For example, if you don’t want to replace the busted AC unit, you could throw in your furniture or appliances as part of the deal for your buyer. An experienced real estate agent can help you arrange a deal where you and your buyer both come out on top.

4. Beef Up Your Marketing   

Alright, if you followed the other tips, your home should be in good shape! Now you just need to focus on marketing it. The best form of marketing for a home is through a magical online database known as the “Multiple Listing Service” (MLS). The MLS is a little different than home listing websites like Zillow and Trulia because it’s exclusively managed by real estate professionals—who are scratching and clawing to match the right buyers with the right sellers. In other words, when your home is listed on the MLS, you’ll have access to a larger pool of serious buyers.
Once you have access to the MLS, concentrate on making your home listing stand out. Your agent can arrange for a professional real estate photographer to take brightly lit, hi-res photos of your home. These photos should be so beautiful that buyers think they belong on the cover of a magazine. You could also include a video tour on your home listing to attract buyers who wouldn’t have otherwise given your home showing a chance.

A beautiful MLS listing should bump up your requests for home showings. That’s why the last marketing strategy to cover is how to handle showings. First, find a temporary place for Mr. Fluffers to stay and make it feel (and smell) like no pet has ever existed inside your home. This is a time you’ll want to give your agent free reign. Be ready at the drop of a hat to pack the kiddos up for an ice-cream trip whenever your agent needs to do a last-minute showing. Sure, a showing might catch you off guard while you’re still in your jammies. But temporarily sacrificing your schedule (and privacy) could make all the difference in finally getting your home sold.

5. Hire a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

If your home is priced right and staged well but still isn’t getting showings or offers, your real estate agent could be the problem. The top 10–15% of real estate agents handle the majority of home sales in any given area. That means you need the best working for you—not your neighbor’s cousin who’s just breaking into real estate or a friend from the gym who happens to sell homes on the side.

Look at it this way: You’re hiring your real estate agent as a marketing consultant with one objective—to get your home sold. You’ll be paying your agent thousands of dollars, so make sure they’re worth the money!

You want a full-time, high-quality real estate professional who sells a large number of homes in your area each year. If your agent doesn’t measure up, find one who does right away.

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