Question Details

x's Wife, Other/Just Looking in Philadelphia, PA

We have been trying to sell our house for over 2 years now with no luck

Asked by x's Wife, Philadelphia, PA Wed Nov 7, 2007

The buyers coming out to see it are looking for a ranch (which we have) because they are elderly or disabled and don't want steps. The problem is the only entrances into our home have lots of steps and the feed back is always - ruled out because of steps. We have been FSBO and with 2 Realtors and this continues to be the problem no matter how we word the listing. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can convey that our property is a wonderful, very spacious (almost 3000 square feet) rancher , but with many steps at all entrances.

Help the community by answering this question:


Take your home off the market. If it hasn't sold in 2 months... much less 2 years... your expectations are too high.

And there is nothing wrong with that... but why, why, on earth would you put yourself through that?

The market will be back in @ 2010. Hold out if you want your price.

If you need to sell or if you want to sell to take advantage of the incredible buyers market...

Bargain price your home and move on with it. Otherwise... take it off the market.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
I doubt seriously if the steps are the real issue after two years. I got news for you--folks can work around steps for the RIGHT PRICE!!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
Have you had ANY offers? If not, the price is probably the problem, not the steps. Realtors know, when they're taking buyers out, if they don't' want steps. And if the house has been for sale 2 years, most of the realtors in the area must know it has steps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
I agree with Masur.

If this is the problem, fix it. Consult with several contractors and get some ideas on what can be done that will be both appealing to the eye and more realistic for potential elderly buyers. If you can't financially fix both of the entrances, try doing the main entrance at least. I doubt it will be a huge investment. Compare it to potentially paying insurance, taxes, and mortgage (if you have one) for another year.

I'm wondering, could the size be a problem too? In my area, Southeast, elderly buyers are typically searching for 1400-2200 SF...

Good luck.
Adelina Rotar
Web Reference:
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
X's Wife
There are some GREAT suggestions here.
The one point I would make is that ANY home will sell at the right price.
I would ask you agent to ask the buyers' agents, who have shown the property, if the buyer's would purchase the property at ANY price.

Based on your post it appears that your property may have an incurable condition, meaning that unless that condition is cured, the home will simply not sell.

You do not mention your motivation to sell. Remember, every agent can see how long your home has been listed, and at what price. So we all know at what price the home will not sell. Buyers are looking for value.

I would echo the first post: consult with three Realtors, and have them provide you with a solution to your dilemma. Or, as one poster suggested, take it off the market and stay put.

Best of luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
My personal opinion is: that it is ALWAYS price. Perhaps your perfect buyer ISNT an elderly person. Many others also like the convenience of a ranch. 2 Years is a long time...I suspect you are asking too much, given the limitations of the property. Either correct the step issue, if you can...or list your home at a lower price with someone (a company) that is aggressive about their marketing and possible CREATIVE about it. A large company is most likely to be able to get you the exposure you seem to need to find the right buyer. How was the asking price established? If it has been a while (over 3 months) get an agent to do a market analysis for you. I dont know your market, so find a professional that does..

The best of luck to you..
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
It sounds like a curb appeal issue. I once sold a house with a very steep exterior staircase and It was the most expensive house in the neighborhood, probably double the average selling price. Lot limitations did not allow me to eliminate the steep staircase. I addressed it by making the staircase very wide, with a turn in it. At the turn, there were plants, a bench, etc. It kind of drew you up and the staircase didn't feel as steep as it was. I also made the staircase out of stone, so it felt substantial.
A friend of mine, who had a very nice house with a steep staircase, took more than two years to sell the house. However, the staircase was made from pressure treated wood and made the (very nice) house looke like a tenament building from outside. My suggestion was to stain the floor boards mahogany and paint the raiing white and try to give it a cottage type look. He never did it. Eventually, it sold. The first thing the buyers did was paint the staircase exactly as I had suggested.
So it brings you back to your very first answer, and several after that. Address the stairs. If you cannot change the grade, if you don't want to spend the money on upgrading the staircase, at least make it as attractive as you can with paint and plants, etc.. If it is steep and narrow, well the price cut you will eventually take is more than the cost of a better staircase.
Re: demographics. It sounds like your buyers would be empty nesters. Young enough to handle the staircase but not a young family who needs 4 bedrooms upstairs for kids. So I woulld advertise it as perfect for empty nesters.
I used some Feng Shui books to help me figure out how to address these types of issues on my house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 9, 2007
x's Wife:

I have an active listing like that right now.

The house is much bigger than it looks from the outside. At 4,700 SF it's much larger than what an elderly person wants to buy. It's been meticulously kept and in great condition with hardwood floors, granite. It is still not selling.

The sellers don't want to reduce either because the house across the street sold for $380 something...and in their opinion, their house is much better than that one. Sellers can have a biased opinion of their home. If the older ranchers are selling and yours is not there is a problem. Buyers may not think your house is as valuable. How much higher is yours priced? And, how long ago did the last 3 homes in your neighborhood sell and for what price?

I'm taking my overpriced sellers out tomorrow morning to show them their competition. There are 10-20 houses within a mile radius that are more desirable in the same price range... In this market, you have to be the best one out there..."best one" may mean the most desirable floor plan, most desirable upgrades, most desirable locaton, most desirable price....Buyers are picky: if your floor plan, upgrades, location, and price don't beat out the next guy...they'll buy the neighbor's house....

Again, how much more expensive is yours vs the older ones that sold? And, how long ago did the last 3 homes in your neighborhood sell and for how much?

What did your agent say was the problem with selling it?
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 9, 2007
The problem that we have with lowering the price is that ranchers in our neighborhood with half the square footage and 50 years older with old kitchens and old bathrooms are selling for slightly less than our listing price - our home was built in 1991 with many upgrades (pergo floors, new, very large kitchen, 3 new baths skylights, new heating system, new central air, new plumbing) - we feel like if we have to lower our price to the same as these "lesser" homes we are giving our house away. Any thoughts? The other problem is that you can't tell how large our home is from the outside - we have advertised the spaciousness extensively,however everyone after coming inside is amazed at how large it is inside. The problem is the buyers coming in not only want no steps, they also say it is too large (mostly elderly and disabled persons looking for a ranch).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 9, 2007
Have you consdered running a negative ad on the place... Try selling the worst features as benefits. Make it funny too. You can check out what I mean with this ad. It had a really busy street that needed to be addressed... see link below
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 8, 2007
It sounds as if the real issue is probably the price. Many people purchase homes with stairs. Consult with a local Realtor who is familiar with your neighborhood.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA

Spoken like a true professional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
You , most certainly, will not find the answer to your question here. Contact a local REALTOR in your area who has a track record of and around your neighborhood. Dont fall for the first to tell you what you WANT to hear. Listen to what they have to say and learn from your past marketing experience. This is not the place to find your answer to a question like yours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2007
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