If your home is still sitting on the market after a few weeks of going live, you may be wondering why it isn't selling – and what you can do to move the sale process forward.
Here's the truth: If your home isn't getting any showings or offers, something may be wrong with your listing. Homes stayed on the market for an average of 17 days in March, according to the National Association of Realtors.
We've highlighted three common reasons why your home isn't selling (and possible solutions). For more tailored advice, a local real estate agent can help you pinpoint specific issues with your listing and help you find a buyer.
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3 reasons your home isn't selling (and solutions):
Why isn't my house selling? 3 possible reasons
1. Your home is too aggressively priced
Pricing your home fairly is crucial, even in a hot seller's market. If you've priced your home way above its fair market value, you might be turning off potential buyers.
Here's why pricing your home too high initially could backfire:
- Your listing could go stale if it sits on the market: Buyers can see how long your home has been on the market and may assume there's a problem with the house if it hasn't sold, or conclude that it's overpriced — and turn their attention to other options.
- It could cause appraisal issues: Going under contract on an overpriced listing could cause issues if the buyer's home appraisal comes in lower than your sale price.
Buyers might not be expecting a killer deal in a seller's market, but they want to pay a fair price for your home. Also, buyer's agents will likely run the numbers before a showing and tell their clients if they think the home's list price is too high relative to its valuation.
Pricing your home right should give you a better chance to sell it fast, too. Reducing your home's price should lead to more showings, and could potentially result in multiple offers.
"I would price it fairly at market value instead of going over, in the hopes of creating more interest, which could then lead to a bidding war," says Lorraine Weber, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker American Homes in Long Beach, N.Y.
Talk to your agent (if you have one) on pricing strategy and adjust the price to better reflect buyer expectations. Your agent should have experience negotiating with buyers' agents and course correcting if your home's asking price is too high.
If you're selling FSBO, get a broker price opinion (BPO) to determine your home's estimated fair market value, or connect with a top local agent through Clever to get a CMA and learn more about your options.
If you're getting showings but no offers, listen to home buyers' feedback on pricing. Sometimes buyers or their agents will communicate that they think the home is overpriced after their showing, and may point out some reasons why.
2. Your home's condition or appearance needs work
A home's poor condition or lack of aesthetic appeal can prevent it from selling, even in a hot market. It could mean your house is outdated, or needs major repairs.
Here's why: A house in poor condition generally has less online marketing appeal and attracts fewer showings than one in good shape, limiting your potential buyer pool.
In particular, you could be missing out on first-time home buyers who often desire a move-in ready home or don't have the money to make repairs. If the home's condition is really poor, your market could be limited to investors and cash buyers.
The following problems may drive away buyers that often expect these items to be in good working condition:
- A damaged or leaky roof
- Electrical issues
- Foundation or structural problems
- Plumbing leaks
- Termite damage
If you're targeting first-time buyers, you may want to make those repairs — or at least reflect the issues in your list price, if you haven't yet.
It's a good idea to get a pre-listing inspection to check for any major issues before you list (or re-list) the house. If the inspection reveals any issues, you can hire a contractor to take care of them, or reduce your list price to reflect the cost of the repairs.
If repairs aren't the issue, your home might just need some TLC to attract more buyers, like a fresh coat of paint.
"The house could have nothing wrong with it physically, it just might not appear well — sometimes there's a dog odor, a cat odor, or tons of clutter," says Weber.
Cosmetic improvements also have the highest return on investment of any changes you can make to the property. They're attention-grabbing in online marketing and during showings, signaling to potential buyers they have less work to do when moving in.
- Consider home staging, particularly if your house is empty.
- Avoid over-personalizing your home — for example, painting a large room a nontraditional color such as pink or purple can turn off some buyers. Try neutral colors instead.
- Invest in home improvements that add the most bang for your buck and bring more buyers into your home.
- Enhance your home's curb appeal — for example, by landscaping, installing a new garage door, or painting your front door.
- Think about whether it's worth it for you to make these repairs and improvements, or sell your house as-is and lower its price.
But you should talk to your agent — or find a local agent — to determine the best course of action.
3. Your marketing isn't strong enough
Most buyers find their home online on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor. In fact, 97% of all buyers used the internet in their home search in 2020, according to NAR.
That's why it's so important to nail your home's online marketing.
Good marketing — including photos and your listing description — draws more showings. More showings translates to more offers, increasing the probability of a successful sale.
Post your home on the multiple listing service (MLS): For more visibility, make sure your listing is posted on the MLS. Most agents send their buyer client's homes through the MLS, and agents might not even know your home is listed if it's not there.
Only licensed real estate brokers can access and list on the MLS, so you will need to either hire an agent or use a flat-fee MLS company.
Post your home on social media: Focus on Instagram in particular, which is popular among homebuyers and agents. Make sure to include high-quality photos with your MLS listing and social media posts.
Dark or foggy photos, or photos that don't show off the home's key features, may turn off potential buyers. Have your agent take new photos, or hire a professional photographer.
Consider adding video: It's even better to display one or more videos of your home. Zillow says its listings with a 3D Home tour (a kind of virtual walkthrough) attract 43% more views and 55% more saves than listings without one.
Craft a strong listing description: If need be, rewrite your current listing description to highlight your home's standout features and amenities. Focus on the positive features rather than the negatives. Lead with a summary and keep the tone conversational.
Host more showings: If you're not making the house available to be shown consistently, you won't get offers.
Hire an agent or make sure you're available to show the house upon request so you don't let interested buyers slip through your fingers.
Still can't sell your house? 5 potential solutions
You may still struggle to sell your home even if the above issues don't apply to you or you've already addressed them. Here are some more ideas for selling a house that has been sitting on the market for a while.
1. Hire a new agent
Sometimes the problem is the agent you've hired — or the lack of an agent. If you're using an agent and your home just isn't selling, consider whether you're getting bad advice.
Is your agent marketing your home to the wrong buyers or underselling your home's key features? Are they lazy or unmotivated? Maybe it's time for a change.
Finding the right realtor is crucial to achieving a satisfactory sale. Try switching up your agent. Hiring a discount real estate brokerage can get the process moving again, allowing you to sell your home and save money.
Discount brokerages charge rates as low as 1% or a flat fee instead of the 2.5–5% listing fee that realtors traditionally charge. Your savings can be significant if you hire a 1% agent compared to a traditional agent.
You may find that you have to lower your home's asking price to achieve a sale, but the savings you get by switching to a discount brokerage can sometimes offset the cost of selling at a lower price.
2. Re-list at a different time of year
It's possible you've chosen a bad time of year to list your house. Spring and summer are usually the best seasons to sell a home.
Here's why: The onset of spring and warmer weather prompts more people to go out and tour homes. Families are eager to buy a home before school starts in the fall.
If you're struggling to sell your home, try taking it off the market and waiting for a more favorable time of year.
The day of the week that your home is listed can also have an impact:
Thursday and Friday are often considered the best days to list. A Redfin study found that houses listed on Thursday sold the fastest and were the most likely to sell within 90 to 180 days.
Listing on a Thursday or Friday gives buyers and their agents the chance to line up showings for the weekend — and lets your agent prepare an open house, if desired.
Debuting your home late in the work week often results in offers by the following Monday.
Sunday through Wednesday are arguably the worst days to list. If you're having trouble selling, try taking your house off the market and listing it again on a Thursday or Friday.
3. Sell to a cash buyer
If you're really struggling to find a conventional buyer for your home, you might consider selling to a cash buyer. Cash buyer companies will purchase your home quickly and with minimal hassle, putting money in your pocket faster than a traditional sale.
Most cash buyer companies will buy homes in any condition or situation. If you can't find a willing buyer because your home is in poor condition, a cash buyer company could be the right solution.
The catch is that cash buyers will offer a price that's significantly below market value — usually around 70%. But this is a good option to look at if you just can't sell at market value.
4. Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyer companies are large, tech-driven real estate companies that buy and resell homes quickly. Most iBuyers can make an offer on your home in 24–48 hours and close in two weeks or less.
An iBuyer may snap up a home that you can't sell to traditional buyers, making it a good option if you're stuck. The tradeoff here is that iBuyers offer a slightly reduced sale price and charge a service fee of 5% of more.
5. Rent out your home
If you're having trouble selling your home, another solution is to take it off the market and rent it out. Turning your home into an investment property is a great way to safeguard capital and generate income.
Make sure you hire a property manager, set an appropriate rental price, and screen tenants before offering a lease. Also, don't forget about reporting rental income on your taxes. You should consult with a tax professional if you go this route.
FAQs about why you're home isn't selling
In a hot market with strong demand and low inventory, homes change hands quickly. The average house took 17 days to land a buyer in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, though this varies according to local market conditions.
If your home is sitting on the market for more than a month, you might have a problem: More than half of the sellers polled by Clever Real Estate expect to accept an offer on their home within a month of listing, and nearly two-thirds expect it will take 10 or fewer showings to accept an offer.
Consider whether your house is priced right, if it's in good enough condition to sell, if you need a new marketing strategy, or if you need to fire your agent and hire a new one.
The most common reasons for a house failing to sell in a hot market involve the home's price, its condition, or the way it's being marketed.
You may be pricing your home too aggressively, turning off potential buyers and causing the listing to go stale. Talk to your agent to discuss pricing strategy and adjust the price to better reflect buyer expectations — or find a realtor if you don't have one yet.
Also, consider whether the price accurately reflects your home's condition. Some homes fail to sell because they need repairs or improvements, from cosmetic changes to major overhauls.
Finally, evaluate your online marketing strategy. Not using the MLS to list your house is a big reason why some homes never find buyers.
Depending on the market, older homes can be more challenging to sell. The older the home, the more likely it is to have electrical issues, foundation or structural problems, pests such as termites, and hazardous materials such as lead paint or asbestos.
To get your old home sold, consider getting a pre-listing inspection to determine potential issues, and make repairs the property might need. You can also hire a 1% commission realtor to help you save on commission and offset some of your repair costs.
Determine if your marketing strategy needs work, and if necessary, consider lowering the price to match buyer expectations.