Posted by Dave T on May 21, 1999 at 22:26:17:
What are the comps in your neighborhood for homes similar to yours? What is the average time on the market for comparable homes in your neighborhood?
Often if your home has not sold in about the average time on the market for comparable homes, you are priced too high. I assume that your listing agreement is expiring. If so, interview three successful RE agents that are familiar with your neighborhood. Ask each for a comparative market analysis and a written marketing strategy. When each agent tours the house, ask for constructive criticism – and take notes.
Perhaps there is a defect that turns sellers off, but you don’t notice because you have gotten used to it after twelve years. Do you have pets? Pet owners never seem to notice pet odor in their house, but a prospective buyer is immediately turned off by the smell.
Is your home in perfect condition? In a buyer’s market, even small repairs may dissuade a prospective buyer. Be sure that the interior is freshly painted, carpets are clean, and everything is in perfect working order. Are walls painted white, or a dark color? Dark colors make rooms look smaller while white (or off-white) walls seem to make a room appear larger.
How much furniture and furnishings do you have in the house? Have you gone through and “thinned out” your furniture to create ample walking areas in each room. Store all those knick-knacs and extra furniture pieces. Lots of bric-a-brac and/or too much furniture makes a room look cluttered and turns off prospective buyers.
Go outside and look at your house’s curb appeal. If the lawn needs trimming or shrubs are large and overgrown, take care of those things immediately. Is the sidewalk and driveway in good repair? Does the exterior look clean? Consider getting your home, sidewalks, and driveway “powerwashed”. Do whatever you need to do to improve the curb appeal. Make your home more attractive than your competition.
If any of these problems apply, get them corrected as quickly as possible. If you decide to relist your home with one of the RE agents you interviewed, then only sign a 90 day listing. If the agent won’t accept less than a six month listing, then be sure to write in a clause that gives you an unconditional cancellation right after 90 days.
If none of these problems apply to your house, then you need to attract buyers by selling below market, or offering terms, or assisting in the financing by taking a second. Do you really need all cash to move, or just enough to pay selling costs, move, and make a down payment on your replacement property?
Reexamine your real needs and see if you can really work a lease option deal. Often a problem house is easy to sell under a lease option, and/or seller financing.