Home Selling in East Amherst>Question Details

Colleen Falz…, Home Buyer in Kenmore, NY

Why my house is sitting so long?

Asked by Colleen Falzone, Kenmore, NY Mon Aug 20, 2012

Been on the market 83 days, lowered the price twice, from feedback from people seeing our home and local realtors. Have switched broker after 43 days, due to many reasons(advised by attorney) , brought high comps, and we even went low, we thought. Too many reasons. Just want to sell! Have contingent offer on another home, which we love, and don't want to loose. Have had four open houses, and many showings price is comped correctly now. Have not had any calls in over a week. Live in Clarence, need advice, PLEASE!!

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Good advice from Larry.

I suspect two other problems--one that's especially difficult to address.

That difficult problem is that your listing may be stale. Your house has been on the market for awhile, and the initial enthusiasm/interest has worn off. Also, agents who've seen your listing, especially in the first few days, already have come to the conclusion that it's overpriced and not a good one to show their clients. That's why many good agents caution their clients about pricing a house too high initially. The sellers respond, "Well, if it's too high, we can always lower the price." True, but an overpriced house with the price dropped to reasonable won't produce the same buyers that a house properly priced from the start will.

The second problem also isn't easy. While I agree with Larry that price very likely is still a problem, the other is that you and your agent still may not be looking at all the problems. You refer to four open houses. Nothing wrong with open houses, but they generally are an ineffective way to sell a property. Agents often do them to show the sellers something visible that they're doing. Also, it's a great way for agents to get new clients (from the open house visitors). But you shouldn't place too much faith in them to sell a home. You failed to mention other marketing that your agent is doing? IS there other marketing? Meanwhile, you haven't addressed other issues that may be concerning buyers: House condition, staging, etc. What's the curb appeal? How does it compare (in condition, not price) to other homes on the market? You mention you've had "many showings." My guess is that part of your problem is that your house isn't showing well. You need to address that.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
We live in the web2.0 days. There are great resources to help you sell and market your house. I agree with some of my fellow agents and staging is absoulute key. Don't be afraid to post your house pics on Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist. They are great resources espiecially for people who are considering moving to Buffalo, NY. Also I'll let you in on a secret. Youtube helps as well. Some updated after staging pics with music will help show how awesome your home can be to a potential buyer.God Bless

Derrick Hough
Licensed Salesperson
Realty Edge Inc

155 Summer St
Buffalo, NY 14222
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2012
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
Thank you all so much!!!! Everyone had positive well straight forward advice, much needed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 22, 2012
If I could see the house I could help you more, but I am willing to bet you have staging problems. I don't believe in stale listings, that's nonsense, but when you price too high at the outset you lose the buyers who were most likely to purchase yours right away. SO now you have to work harder and wait longer, that's all. But you can sell.
1. Remove all photos of family members. The only art work should be pictures that you can imagine seeing in a hotel room. Basically, you want your house to look like a nice hotel.
2. Make sure all closets are only 1/2 full at most. I would prefer to see some empty closets.
3. Go room by room, look for things that can be removed--an extra chair?, a child's toy set, trophies won by family members, DE-CLUTTER LIKE CRAZY. An end table? One small thing on it only, or get rid of it. No magazines, no books. Certain books turn people off.
Many people get used to their own clutter to the point they no longer see it. You should move out a lot more stuff if there is any stuff to move. GET IT OUT.
Kitchen: Empty the countertops. You can have 1 coffee maker, everything else, store it. Kitchen must be CLEAN AS IF NEW. Cabinets very little inside. One of the biggest problems I see is dirty kitchens from a homeowner who will tell me, "But I just cleaned it!" Well, sweetheart, I see grease and burnt stuff. Hire a cleaning company if you can't see the dirt yourself.
Countertops in terrible shape? That you simply must fix, even if Formica. (In fact, if your house needs serious renovation, you will have to lower the price to sell it in this market, I predict.)
Ideally, your house should look like a hotel: Sparkling clean, neat, inviting but *impersonal*. Psychologically, unconsciously, many people feel uncomfortable about taking over another family's home. Toys, dog leashes, personal items (comb, toothpaste, toothbrush) all say you don't really want to sell. Hide that stuff.
4. Paint and clean. Showing a home week after week is exhausting for you, the owners! I understand, but everything still must be CLEAN as if it were new, and PAINTED as if it were new. Often paint can be washed to brighten it.
5. Rugs and floors. Must be perfect and beautiful. Throw out throw rugs that aren't stellar, polish the floors. You can buy stuff at Lowe's. Shampoo the carpets, use a fresh scent. Buy a Hoover rug cleaner machine for $150, you will love it and it will save you a bundle.
6. Smells. If a smoker's home you need to hire pro cleaners to come in and get rid of the smell, you can't smell it if you're the smoker. If not a smoker's home, you need to bring in lovely fragrance. My favorite is a couple of stems of fragrant lilies--inexpensive and effective. Otherwise get air freshener. I am not a fan of cooking brownies, that can smell stale. Flowers or commercial fragrances. Ask other people if the place smells OK.
7. TOO SPECIFIC. A wise old real estate agent once said to me, "Decorating sells houses." I had a client once who refused to make an offer on a home because one room was painted purple, and she was concerned about the kind of people who would do that. BLAND is the way to go: beige, light light blue, pale yellow. Wallpaper? Remove and paint. A crimson wall? You know what I suggest.
8. Minor repairs. "The new owners can put on a new cabinet knob." Well, if you don't fix it, you won't have new owners to do it. Fix every little obvious thing. Non-obvious things that need fixing (closet floor has peeling linoleum) can stay.
9. LIGHT. Open the drapes, open the blinds, unless there is a eyesore. You don't like all that light? but you are not the buyer.
10. Landscaping. Front yard must be perfect, nothing less. Backyard can be less so.
11. Seating areas. Organize rooms with seating areas. Get the treadmill out of the master bedroom. Of course, threadbare furniture needs to be removed.
I could go on and on. Chances are, your agent is now scared to level with you because after all, your fired her predecessor. So, if you want this puppy sold for a good price, take your agent aside, and gently, humbly and kindly ask her (or him) what you need to do, that you really want to cooperate on a sale, that you will listen and even spend a little money if that will move the place.
The other thing you can do, of course, is just drop the price a bunch more. Everything, and I do mean every property, will sell if the price is low enough. But it sounds like you prefer a better return on your investment. Better staging is one of the best investments you can make.
Karla Harby
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York NY
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 21, 2012
First don't panis, it won't help. As the other answers suggest some things are within your control and other things aren't. Just because you've dropped the price twice doesn't necessarily mean you are correctly priced. In your situation where you seem desperate to sell, your correct price is below the closest comparables to you. Many times comparables are the key. Is your agent using the right comparables? If not you may think you are underpriced, but in fact you're not. Also as suggested below the family buyers are bowing out because of timing issues i.e. closing before school starts. If your marketing consists of only open houses that can be a disaster, each area and home have a demographic of likely buyers, your realtor should be advertising where it is meaningful. Sometimes that can mean the Pennysaver, sometimes sending postcards, purchasing an e-mail list of boaters or whatever your home attracts. Can you stage better, improve curb appeal? Sit down with your realtor and have a frank discussion. They should be able to tell you what is wrong, proper pricing and marketing will sell. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
If you switched Realtors after 43 days, I have to presume that you were unhappy with how things were going... perhaps there wasn't enough marketing... maybe you didn't like the photos... not enough communication... who knows. But that leads me to believe that you have 43 days of "wasted' marketing.

So, in effect, you've actually only been on the market for about 40 days, with your new agent. I agree with Don (I often do, his advice is typically spot-on) that open houses are an ineffective method of selling your listing. Sellers often like them, because they are one of the few methods of home marketing that sellers understand.

What is the average "market time" in your area? Is it 60 days, 90 days... more? Where are you priced against your "real" comps? Be truly objective now... are they really comparable to your home... room count, location, condition, age?? Are you one of the highest, middle, one of the lowest?

You need to take a good hard look at some of these aspects.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Your home has been on the market for a long time and you are beginning to wonder why isn’t there a sold sign on the sign out front? You are thinking to yourself “I just want my Home SOLD!” There are so many factors that go into your home getting sold.

These factor include what is happening in the local market (you have no control), the condition of your home (is your home in absolutely the best condition?), your price (make sure that you are priced correctly) and the marketing (condition will limit the marketing).

Some times (and I know you do not want to hear this) you have to have patience to get your home sold. Some homes take time to sell -- even when price and condition are optimal. No amount of additional marketing are going to bring a buyer sooner than they are ready.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
I don't know your specific market but I do know real estate. There are only two reasons properties don't sell, one is price which you can do something about, the second is there's little or no buyer activity at this time for properties like yours. If your home would typically appeal to families with children for example this isn't the time their out there looking. Families with children typically make their move and close by July at the latest so that their settled in for the coming school year. You could ask and perhaps your agent can prepare a report from the MLS they work with that would show you how many showing there have been on homes like yours within the past 30 days and how many comparable properties went under contract. (I can do this for my clients, but again don't know what system your local MLS uses and whether it's possible for agents to do this in your area)

I understand your frustration but many markets are slow and perhaps yours is one of them. Talk with your agent and see what their advice is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
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