Local Real Estate Comments and Ramblings


9 Reasons why your house hasn't sold!

To good not to share!  The post was written by an agent in Chicago but this absolutely applies here in Ga or anywhere else for that matter.

Hint #1: if your potential listing agent pulls out a cell phone or pocket cam for your listing photos then you have the wrong agent!


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I started this series in August of 2009, back then I published a post called 6 Reasons why your house won't sell.  It garnered an unbelievable (at least unbelievable for ME) 188 comments, after being viewed 10,888 times, and having 10,101 people "click" on it and presumably, that means that 1.8% of the people who viewed the post, decided to leave a comment behind. 

It was also "reblogged" by an astonishing 47 Rainers to share with their readers.

Soon after posting, a local Chicago Realtor publication contacted me, having found the article on Active Rain, and asked if they could publish the article, with my byline, of course.  As you might imagine, I said "yes", and picked-up 438 copies of that issue (my mother loved them). 

I followed up the next year with  "7 Reasons why your house won't sell", had over 60 reblogs and 258 comments... (with over 15,000 clicks +131short URL clicks, and over 14,000 actual VIEWS!) which was in-freakin'-credible...this has proved to be my most viewed post to date.

I then waited a couple of years before writing 8 Reasons why your property won't sell (Are you sensing a pattern here?) With some minor updates each iteration... the information remains pertinent.

Which brings us to today.  The market in 2015 has improved.  I haven't written one of these for a few years, and while somethings have changed, overall the information remains pertinent.  Again.  So without further ado:


9 Reasons why your property hasn't sold.

1. Your property hasn't sold because your photos are "terrible". Yep, this is an actual photo from our MLS, predictably it's been on the market for quite a while.  All of the photos are this quality.

The vast majority of home buyers begin their search for a home on the internet, so your property had better look fantastic in print. Not just nice, it has to look downright fabulous.  Today an internet view is considered the same as a 'virtual showing'... if your house gets past the first virtual showing, then they might (just might) make an appointment to see it in person... You should really consider that your SECOND showing. Today's online viewers are expecting good quality photos (and lots of them...the picture to the right ... yep, that a really ugly, dirty and apparently wet basement. Can't you smell it from the photo?  That's a $300,000 listing... yuck.)

2. Your property hasn't sold because it's overpriced. Even in today's improved market it's still important to price as accurately as you can. Properties that are priced too high, just don't get lookers and bidders. Look at the home as though you were a "buyer"... if necessary, make an appointment with your Realtor to view other properties that are priced comparably to yours.  Be brutally objective.  Given the other options on the market (and yes, you DO have to include short sales and foreclosures on your list... your potential buyers are!), would YOU buy your home, over the others that are currently available on the market?

If the answer is "NO", (and try to be as honest as you can) well then you have your work cut out for you, don't you?  You either have to "update" your home to meet or beat the competition...that might mean an updated bathroom or kitchen, or neutralizing some decorating... remove that old wallpaper that was there when you bought the house or lower your price to adjust for it.  if you can't afford to sell it for the price, that you KNOW it should sell for, this may not be the right market for you to sell.  Consider taking it off-market.

3. Your property hasn't sold because it shows badly. This could mean almost anything... from the 60 pound Rottweiler, barking and drooling at the potential buyers from behind the flimsiest child-gate, to the lingering smell of 30-years of smoking.  Maybe the carpeting shows traffic-pattern wear, or your nicotine covered windows allow in slightly less than daylight.  All things that aren't visible from the internet, but whoa.... once you get inside the house... they show up, like a cat-urine-soaked-shag carpet on a 95 degree day in New Orleans! Maybe, as in this recent photo, your seller is a hoarder??

4. Your property hasn't sold because it's invisible. Today's buyer comes from the internet, almost exclusively.  Have you (or your agent) simply plopped the property on the MLS, and started praying?  Are you on all the websites...(Trulia, Zillow, Craig's List, Google Base, etc...) all the places that buyers are searching?  If not, you need to be, now! Don't try to be a secret, in today's electronic world.  You want to be found, and the sooner the better.  And make as much use of the number of photographs that are allowed.

If you're not making full use of the internet today, you're out of business before you've started.  C'mon people... get on board, the train is leaving the station. (I love a good train metaphor).

5. Your property won't sell because your listing is tired and stale on the market. We've all visited that old listing.  You know the one where it just smells musty as you walk in.  There's dust on every horizontal surface.  The dust floats through the sunshine through the dirty windows.  The water in the toilets has long since evaporated allowing the telltale smell of sewer gases to waft through the home.  How do you spell "ewwww".

Check in on your property regularly.  Flush the toilets,  mow the lawn, trim the hedges, shovel the snow, pick up the mail.  In other words, just pay attention!!
6. Your property won't sell because your house won't appraise. We're having less trouble with appraisers, these days, but that doesn't mean that the problem has gone away entirely.  While the market is hot, we do have the occasional seller who's trying to push the envelope.  And since the buyers are having trouble finding inventory, some of them will foolishly bite and any price.  The appraiser will often be the voice of reason. 

7. Your property won't sell because it's unavailable to show. You have a baby, and a 1-year old.  And they need their naps.  So you've told your Realtor in no-uncertain-terms, that you'll only allow showings between 9:00 a.m - Noon, and then again from 2:30-5:30 p.m.  And no showings on Saturday or Sundays.  "After all", you've told him "we still live here.. it's our home!".  Well guess what?  They can't buy it, if they can't see it.  As good as your online photos are, they're no substitute for an in-person visit. "If they really want to see it, they'll reschedule", you're already answering as you read this.  Nonsense!  What they'll do, is they'll just move on to the next property in line (there are dozens like yours available) and maybe they'll buy that one instead.  Once you put your property on the market it stops being your "home", and has become your "product".  And you want your product to be seen by as large a buying audience as possible.

8. Your property won't sell because you have the heat and power turned off. Okay... maybe it's an REO, or maybe you're no longer living in the home.  But viewers need to be able to feel comfortable when they've viewing your home.  You want them to spend time in the home and get a sense of the place.  You don't want them standing in the darkened foyer shivering, breathing on their hands to keep their knuckles from freezing in position.  If they can see their own breath, the house is too cold.  It's just not an invitation to spend time in the home.  Have the power on, and leave the heat running, at least high enough to keep viewers from shivering.  It doesn't have to feel like a tropical paradise, but it shouldn't feel like the north pole, either.  Ain't nobody gonna buy that igloo.

9. The Flintsones live next door. By "the Flintsones", I'm talking about the family who has a car without an engine on the front lawn.  A family next door who doesn't mow their lawn, has a series of rusted Flintsone-mobiles in the yard in different levels of deterioration.  One of them is more of a planter, than a car.  It's an eyesore.  Maybe you can offer to pay to have their lawn cleared of junk, or errect a new fence?

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois





Bob Southard
Broker - Owner  Atlas Realty Service LLC #75911
1% Listing Commissionand BuyerRebates



CALL ME DIRECT: 770-656-9134

Buy a home, Sell a home, in Powder Springs, Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Smyrna, Dallas, Hiram,and Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, North Fulton, South Cherokee, County, Ga. Call me for all of your real estate needs.

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Comment balloon 3 commentsBob Southard • October 27 2015 08:36PM


omg, SO true!!!  and most of these should be common sense!!!

Posted by Christine Gerbehy, Making waves, one home at a time... (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Northfield) about 5 years ago

Good topic to re-post.  Yes, there are still reasons why a property does not sell even in an upswing strong market.  30%, will not adjust to sell, either.

Posted by Dan Hopper, Denver Broker / Author / Advocate/Short Sale (Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE) about 5 years ago

OH, LOL - this is a great one to re-blog, Bob!  Anything Alan May writes is re-blog-worthy!  Welcome back to AR, Bob!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 3 years ago

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