Even in a hot seller’s market when it feels like buyers will snatch up anything, you can still shoot for the moon and end up with a house that languishes on the market.
For many homeowners, selling a home at the right price can launch them into the next stage of their life. You’ve decluttered, painted, prepped, and listed your home, but it sits and sits on the MLS. Every week it has fewer showings until it suffers the real estate kiss of death: it becomes a stale home listing.
Did You Price Your Home Too High?
Current trends across the country show that homes stay on the market for about three weeks. Of course, this number varies in different cities. Hot markets like Seattle, Washington, see homes sell in just a few days, while in a slower market like Springfield, Illinois, homes take an average of 100 days to sell. Understanding key market trends can help you understand when you’ve priced your home too high or if you need to adjust your expectations.
Additionally, you’ll need to be honest as you ask yourself questions about your home:
- Is the home priced in line with its Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?
- Have viewings dropped off significantly?
- Do you keep receiving low-ball offers?
- Did you ignore the advice of your Realtor®?
- Was your home appraised much lower than your listing price?
The Hidden Danger of Real Estate Search Engines
You may have your heart set on a price point for your home, but there is a hidden danger in arbitrarily settling on a number. In analog days, you could advertise your home in a newspaper or print listing that would go in front of every subscriber. However, today’s search engines filter results based on pre-set criteria.
Over 90% of buyers start their home search online. They’ll type into a search engine, “Three-bedroom, two-bath, under $400,000”.
The search engine doesn’t return any results over $400,000, so if you’ve priced your home just over the limits at $410,000, buyers who may be willing to pay a little more won’t see your listing. Some online sites, like Zillow, have a search range of $100,000, while Redfin uses a search range of $25,000. Your marginally higher home price may have unintentionally displaced you into the next search range where home buyers can’t find you.
What Do Buyers Really Want?
After investing months of your time and money in a custom-designed home gym, you feel inclined to price your home accordingly. After all, you would gladly pay top dollar for an in-home gym. Unfortunately, potential buyers want an office instead.
When listing your home, you need to be realistic about what buyers really want. According to this AgentStory article, the top five home renovations that buyers want are:
- Wooden Deck
- Minor Kitchen Renovations
- Hardwood Floors
- Finished Basement
- Minor Bathroom Remodel
Rather than seeing your home through your eyes, you should step into your buyers’ shoes and picture what their priorities are.
When Buyers Perceive a Problem
One of the biggest dangers in overpricing a home is creating a stale listing. Most of the excitement over a home happens in the first 30 days of listing, and as the home passes the 30-day mark, buyers may begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with the house. If you drop the price to make your home more competitive, then you run the risk of signaling to buyers that if they wait long enough, they can get an even better deal.
How a Realtor® Can Guide You
Your Realtor® wants you to sell your home, and they have a vested interest in helping you get top dollar. If you’re frustrated that your home isn’t selling, but you’re unwilling to lower the price, you may be too emotionally involved in the homeselling process. A Realtor® with deep local knowledge of the market will help you price your home competitively so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life. With a trusted local agent, you can feel confident they are working with your best interests in mind.
Freshen Up a Stale Listing
Rather than dropping your price every few weeks to see if a buyer will eventually bite at the new price point, you should pause, regroup, and come back with a stronger listing. Your real estate agent can help you by prioritizing which of the following steps to take.
New Comparative Market Analysis- Has the market changed since you first listed it? Was the first CMA done correctly? Getting a fresh pair of eyes on your house may help you understand why it’s not selling.
Home Staging- Doing some decluttering or investing in a professional stager may be just what you need to freshen up the home for potential buyers.
Better Quality Pictures- Fresh, new pictures that show off the amenities that buyers are looking for can bring renewed excitement to your listing.
Improve the Marketing- Your original marketing could have been targeting the wrong audience. Get a new perspective on your marketing by talking to other real estate professionals about the best platforms on which to advertise your home.
Rewrite the Listing- Words like “quaint” and “unique” may not be as positive-sounding to buyers, who may hear “small” and “weird”. Take the opportunity to rewrite the listing to highlight the positive aspects of your property.
The Bottom Line
In the end, a home is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Before you place your home on the market, separate your feelings from your home price and realistically assess how much it’s worth. A good real estate agent can help you price your home competitively so it doesn’t linger on the MLS for months and months.