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6 Things Preventing Your Home Sale

dog in bed with stuffed animals
Don’t let easy fixes stop you from selling a home.

Nothing’s more frustrating for a seller than having your home sit on the market. And sit … and sit … and sit.

Maybe buyers are touring your house but not making offers. Or maybe buyers aren’t visiting your home at all. Either way, you’re starting to feel like the last kid to be picked in dodgeball.

But as the last kid picked in dodgeball knows, there is always hope for a comeback. The reason a home sits on the market longer than expected often boils down to a few easy-to-fix issues. Here are six of the big ones that might stop you from selling a home.

1. You’ve priced it too high

No matter what you feel your home should be worth, the hard truth is, it’s worth only what people are willing to pay. Research what the comps — or comparable homes in your area — are going for and listen to buyer feedback. If people are consistently telling you that price is an issue, it’s time to pay attention.

Trust your real estate agent to inform you about a fair price for the current market. If you’re dead set on getting your ideal asking price, take an honest look at whether you need to make upgrades to your home or wait for a market uptick.

2. No one knows it’s for sale

Simply sticking a “For Sale” sign in the lawn won’t cut it. Today’s buyers do the majority of their home searching online, which means you need to get your home listed on major real estate sites (such as Trulia). You’ll also want to make sure your online listing includes plenty of high-quality, well-staged photos.

3. It’s got glaring issues

It could be a big issue (such as a failing roof or wonky foundation), or it could be a small but obnoxious issue that buyers just can’t get past (your beloved wall-to-wall pink carpeting, let’s say). Either way, the fact that your home isn’t selling means buyers are consistently finding something wrong with it. Ask potential buyers for feedback after you conduct showings; their answers may help clue you in to the problem.

Some buyers are willing to accept a lower price or a closing credit for a home with a sticking-point issue, but others are turned off from the start and figure it’s not worth the hassle of fixing it themselves or trying to negotiate a concession.

4. It doesn’t show well

Make sure there is nothing stopping buyers from falling in love with your home during showings.

Open blinds and curtains to let in the natural light and put lamps in especially dim areas. Remove any bulky furniture that may make rooms hard to navigate. And take care of small items you’ve been putting off, like fixing sticky drawer pulls or a leaky faucet. A number of small updates such as these could be turning off buyers.

5. Buyers can’t picture themselves living there

Buyers are more likely to make an offer on your house if they can picture their own daily life there.

Clean and remove clutter and get rid of personal items such as family photos along the stairway and your kids’ artwork on the fridge. If your home is currently empty or near-empty, or your furnishings aren’t to most buyers’ tastes, you may want to consider hiring someone to professionally stage your rooms.

6. You’ve neglected the curb appeal

More than one buyer has pulled up to a house whose listing they liked, taken one look at the exterior, and driven away. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your home is on the inside; if buyers aren’t willing to step in the door, then you’ve immediately lost them.

A few simple fixes can make your curb appeal irresistible. Weed and mulch the flower beds, trim the hedges, clear the walkways, and repaint any flaking siding. Consider adding some homey touches such as a wreath on the door or a bench on the porch. You don’t need to overspend on landscaping; just focus on making your home look presentable and welcoming.