Most home sellers have two main objectives: to sell quickly and for the highest price. The beauty of owning real estate (whether it’s a principal residence or an investment property) is that historically, it has yielded solid returns to Canadians who are in it for the long haul. Indeed, equity gains in Canadian real estate have been notable in some particularly hot markets, with the proceeds used to fund everything from the purchase of a bigger and better home, to retirement, travel, an investment strategy, or life’s next big milestone – whatever that may be.
A number of major cities across Canada have experienced tight market conditions over the last few years, but a slew of interest rate increases in 2022 have eased demand, prompting a market shift in many Canadian regions. In fact, balanced conditions are expected to occur in 60% of Canadian housing markets this year. This means sellers are unlikely to see the same frantic buyer competition that defined Canadian housing markets during the pandemic.
There are many possible reasons houses don’t sell, ranging from broader economic and market conditions, right down to the condition of the property itself. Here are some of the most common reasons houses don’t sell, and how to avoid them.
Reasons Houses Don’t Sell
1. Wrong Listing Price
To you, your home may be priceless. After all, you have an emotional attachment to the place you call “home.” However, to a buyer, that is not the case. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what the homeowner, or even the listing agent, thinks a house is worth. The only thing that matters is what the buyer is willing to pay.
The right listing price will likely be a combination of a few factors, such as the market conditions, the home’s condition and the seller’s circumstances. Home Value Estimators are readily available online and are a great resource to give you a ballpark idea of what your home is worth. I will pull recent sales of comparable homes in the same neighbourhood. Then, based on the condition of the home and how desperate you are to sell, I will recommend a listing price.
The listing price is the first impression homebuyers will have of your home. When a buyer decides to start shopping for a new home, step one is creating a budget. With this number in hand, step two is to browse online listings. Within that price range. Success can come down to a few dollars over or below that specific threshold. This is why it’s important to be realistic when it comes to pricing the home.
While overpricing a home is a concern, so too is underpricing it. Buyers may wrongly assume that a home priced well below market value has something wrong with it, or that the seller is hoping for a bidding war – both turn-offs for homebuyers.
2. Bad Listing Photos
Believe it or not, bad listing photos can be a reason that your house is not selling. Although many homebuyers will still drive around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in search of “Open House” signs, most shoppers today take a more targeted approach to their home hunt. They hit the streets armed with a budget, their list of liveable locations, the features their future home should have, and specific addresses of homes for sale that are worth an in-person tour. So, how do you get on that list?
Enter the real estate photographer and this adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. I will arrange for listing photos that will show your home in the best possible light.
On the flip side, don’t be a catfish. Nothing is worse than falling in love with the listing photos and taking the time to attend a showing, only to discover that it isn’t as it's presented. Good and honest listing photos are a critical part of your selling strategy.
3. Didn’t Stage the Property
While it’s important to showcase your listing in a realistic way, it never hurts to do a little primping before putting up the “For Sale” sign. Some buyers have trouble seeing past what a home is and visualizing what it could be. Staging a home can help highlight its best features, minimize the worst, and give prospective homebuyers some inspiration as to how they can use the space.
Remember that as a home seller, you’re not only selling the property but you’re also selling the idea of “home.” This is why putting an empty house on the market can be a big mistake. An empty house may leave the impression that it is smaller than it actually is, or that it’s uncared for.
4. Unfavourable Market Conditions
When it comes to selling your home, there are many things within your control. Others are wild cards, as far as the seller is concerned. Factors such as a growing or declining population, economic conditions, interest rates, housing demand and supply, and even the weather can all be reasons why a home is not selling.
What you can control, however, is when you choose to sell your home. I can help you time the market. I have the market experience to speak to what is happening in the real estate landscape, and to predict what may happen down the road.
While you can’t control things like the job and housing markets, these are still important factors to consider when deciding if now is a good time to sell. Determine when your house is most appealing to homebuyers. The return of spring tends to rouse homebuyers out of hibernation. Similarly, keep your ear to the ground for other circumstances that may affect home-buying trends, such as an upcoming employment boom or new developments in your area that may increase housing demand.
Sometimes it can be tough to pinpoint why a home isn’t selling. At other times, it’s painfully clear. I'll provide important insight into what you’re doing (or not doing) that may help or hinder the sale.
5. Didn’t work with a professional.
Selling a home can be complicated, even under favourable market conditions. Know that market conditions can change quickly, impacted by everything from local, national and international economies, to population fluctuations and even the weather. Especially in uncertain times, a little professional help can go a long way.
While most homebuyers and sellers will only have a limited number of transactions under their belt, an experienced listing agent has handled hundreds of home sales under a variety of market conditions. Let me guide you through the twists and turns of the housing market.
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Sam Chaim - Your Point Man in Real Estate
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