Home Selling in Knoxville>Question Details

Joanna, Home Seller in Knoxville, TN

How to sell/market a house built in 1983.?

Asked by Joanna, Knoxville, TN Fri Feb 27, 2009

My husband and I have spent the last 5 years renovating and updating our home not thinking we'd be selling any time soon. Last fall we found our dream house and put our house on the market. Well, 6 months later, we've had 28 showings and no offers. The only feedback we've gotten is that the price is average, but our house is old. Buyers want something new. We have completely renovated everything inside and out: 4 bathrooms, the kitchen, the pool, roof, painted inside and out, new landscaping and hardscaping. The only thing we didn't change is the mop ceilings. Is this the reason we're not selling?

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I looked at the pictures of your house, and you have a beautiful home! It takes a special buyer sometimes to appreciate quality renovation you have done. I have a similar 1.5 story cottage style listing that my seller renovated--it is one of the best renovations I have seen; however, buyers are not appreciating it in this market. The ones that do view the house comment that they "like" it, but it is difficult to find the buyer that appreciates the renovations and wants to pay the price the seller is asking. I think the same thing may be happening on your end. Unfortunately, you can either reduce the price or wait for that buyer...however, the long you are on the market, the more undesirable it becomes to a buyer (it's a psychological thing...).

Your square footage on the main and upper level is 3646 and you have 1304 square feet in the basement (which normally doesn't sell for the same amount per square foot). The house that is priced exactly at what you are priced at has bigger overall square footage with 5067 on the main and upper level and 850 in the basement. The comparable also has better curb appeal with what appears to be new landscaping--but, it's been on the market almost a year. Granted, yours is more renovated, but the point is that this price range is not moving well at the moment.

The other house that is comparable to yours doesn't have a basement, but is only 8 years old and is very upgraded as well, I have shown it and really liked it, the floor plan was great...so, buyers going to see homes will probably be drawn to this newer one that is also a bit lower priced.... Everything else in the neighborhood is currently priced $100,000+ less than yours....

The most expensive house in your neighborhood sold for $387,000--in the last 6 months, so that gives a small indication of what buyers are actually wanting to pay for homes in there... there was one house that sold for $639,000 in June 2008. It was a completely renovated house with 5,166 SF, with 1.39 acres and a 3 car garage. Basically, it sold for $124/SF--but, it was much bigger and had detached guest quarters, estate sized acreage... The buyer for that property was probably much different from the type of buyer that would be interested in your home because the $639K home had a lot of features that are unique to that particular property.

I think you have a great agent...I think that you should probably have more pictures of it...based on the current listings you're competing against, you may want to reduce a bit...as others have already said, find out from your agent, what particular things made the buyers not want to put an offer on your house vs another....was it because they just started looking? was it the floor plan? was it the style of the home? was it the price? was it the perceived value vs. asking price?

Just my 2 cents...
Web Reference: http://www.RotarTeam.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Dear Joanna,
It is hard to tell why buyers looked at your home and then did not make an offer....
Could be a number of reasons. I would think, if they just walked in on open house days, they may just have been curious! But if they were brought in by a Realtor to see your home, then they should have known the age of the home and a bit more about it before even deciding to see it and they knew that it was old!

But you know liking a house, is like falling in love...... When the right couple comes along and they fall in love with the curb appeal, the architecture the old mixed with the new, they will not say it is old.... So may be
the price range was ok, but those buyers truly did not really want an old house.

Many of my buyers will tell me from the beginning that they do not want a home that is older than 10 years or 15 years etc. ---- I wish you would have received a little more detailed feedbacks, so that you could have done something with the information.

It sounds to me that you did a lot to your home, and since you liked it when you bought it and then did all the improvements, someone else should as well. But many times buyers are worried about things like plumbing and electric being old and foundation etc. so they worry.....

Sit with your agent if you are working with an agent and discuss to get more detailed responses from agents, they may be more honest and direct than buyers who want to be polite.

If you are not working with an agent let me know and I gladly connect you with one of My trusted Realtor colleagues or select one of the local agents responding to you on this site.

I am not from your area, but if you even come across someone moving to Illinois, Chicago or Northern Illinois send them my way - Would you?

Good luck on your sale, your home sounds interesting any photos anywhere, I'd love to have a look
By the way you are very lucky to have had 28 showings (could it be the price????)

Sincerely yours,
Edith YourRealtor4Life! Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
I really appreciate all your answers. My husband and I are going to crunch some numbers and see how much more we can reduce our price. One more question, though. While we did complete renovations of 3 of the 4 bathrooms, we only did a partial renovation of the master. We did this because we needed a usable bathroom while redoing the others. We planned to do a complete redo at a later date. Should we even bother with it if we are going to reduce our price, not redo it and offer some money to the buyer, or redo it and only lower the price a little if at all?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
It didn't link. I just did my homework :) I looked you up on tax records, and you're the only Joanna that had a house built in 1983.
Web Reference: http://www.RotarTeam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the current buyers are investors (myself included) who won't buy anything that doesn't make good business sense--no matter how nice the property looks.

There are 2 reasons for why a property doesn't sell: 1) ugly property (which yours isn't), or 2) ugly price (when compared to everything else on the market).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
This might be a dumb question, but how did you see pictures of my house? I was wondering how to link to the listing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
I would sit down with your agent and review what has been selling in your area over the last six months. Then determine if you are priced correctly for the market place at this time. One thing I do for my sellers is bring in Sheri Robinson she is an Accredited Staging Professional. Staging your home can make a huge difference in our current market and I have great success with Sheri. You can reach her at 865-919-3175. Staging for most sellers is very affordable and Sheri is great to work with when you are selling your home. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
What I would do is sit down with your agent and see what the common themes are with the feedback given from your showings. I had a seller that had 46 showings and we received the same feedback, "did not like floorplan" consistently. I urged them to knock out a wall between the kitchen and the dining room and it dramatically changed the feel of the home. Soon after, we had a contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
If you are priced like the new homes, then yes they will go for the new homes. You need to have the comps run against homes more your age. I would think that it is not only the mop ceiling, but the height of the ceilings and the openess of the floorplan. Newer homes have higher ceilings and very open plans.

When you price your home against similarly aged homes your updated home will most likely be the buyer's choice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Since the newer homes seem to be your competition, you might want to look at how your price compares to them. If a buyer looks at a new home and an older home (and the price is comparable), they will probably go with the newer home. If you could make your price more competitive, your home might become too good to pass up, regardless of the age.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
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