People decide to sell their home for a variety of reasons. Maybe you need to upsize to accommodate a growing family or downsize now that you’re an empty nester. Perhaps your career is taking you to a different community or you need to reduce your costs to meet your budget.
The reasons may differ, but once someone makes the decision, goes through the exercise of listing their home and endures the turmoil of allowing potential buyers and strangers into their home, the process will gain momentum.
Like the rolling boulder in the opening of Indiana Jones, so is the emotional process of selling a home and entering a new phase in life. And just like in the movie, when the boulder crashes into the cave opening and Indiana dives to safety, so goes the hope of the home seller, escaping to a new and exciting future. Or so you hope.
But, what do you do if after your contract comes to an end, your home is still not sold?
The easy thing to do is blame the Realtor® for not selling the home. But the reality, is that you did not hire the Realtor® just to sell your property. You hired the Realtor® to help YOU sell your property. That is not to say that the Realtor® may be without some responsibility. But there are a lot of factors involved and that may just be one of them. The sale of a house involves a partnership.
So let’s look at what you should review to ensure success moving forward. You are in partnership with your Realtor® and their team of professionals. Before you burn bridges and throw your and their investment away you should:
- Review the Realtor® – Now wait a minute you might say. Didn’t I just say not to blame the Realtor®? Yes, but that does not mean you shouldn’t review the efforts of your agent. Look at what the agent said they would do and did they actually do it? If your agent presented you a marketing plan that is robust combined with a promise of solid effort and good communication, did they deliver on those commitments? Did they say they would bring in professional partners like a photographer, a stager, etc.? And did they? Or did they walk around with their iPhone snapping poor quality pics, and just tell you their opinion on staging your home? Did they invest in advertising efforts to sell your home, or just efforts to promote themselves? In short, did they do what they said they would do or not? If they did, is it their fault the home has not sold yet?
- Review the price – A home is often the largest single investment most people make in their lives. Therefore it makes sense to try to maximize that investment for the highest price possible. Take note of the word “possible”. “Possible” does not mean that you get to decide absolutely that you will sell your house for the top dollar, relative to the sold comparables. “The market” will decide what it will pay for your home. That amount will change with forces that drive price – supply and demand. It will also take into consideration how your house compares to other products/options available to buyers. Your Realtor® should be able to provide you with the data to make a price determination but in the end, that crucial decision is one for the market. Regardless of what you think your home should fetch – are you willing to over pay when you buy, because another seller thinks the same way?
- Re look at your marketable product – When you have lived in a home for a while, it is easy to overlook any flaws. Let’s be honest, we all do that. The chipped paint on a wall or worn carpet doesn’t affect your overall enjoyment of the home. So why should it affect a buyer? The fact is, buyers choose what they can overcome or not. And, the more they add up the cost of little fixes, the less likely they are to choose a property. Talk with your Realtor® for the feedback they received for any repairs and fixes you can do to change the buyer’s mind. There may be small fixes or changes you can implement to improve your saleability.
- Re-examine your presentation – Go back to your Realtor’s® staging consultant and the advice they gave you. I understand that you have lived in your home for a long time and it is comfortable. But, the goal is not to continue in the home, it is to move on. Many or all of the personal and family treasures can be boxed and stored, so that potential buyers see the home as theirs and not yours. Clutter, personal tastes, smells and design may be sabotaging your efforts to sell. You are now a house seller, not a home dweller.
- Review your own decisions – Buying and selling a home are investments that involve a lot of money. But, we too often get lost in the emotional side of the transaction. We get emotional about the value, about maintaining our current lifestyle, and certainly about not wanting to disrupt our family. So we often make poor decisions when selling a home. We try to maximize our ROI, so do not respond to recommendations by the professionals we hire. We do not adjust the price to the market. We do not reinvest in the home with fixes that will help it sell and we often ignore the advice of those looking to help. We forget to re-stage the home for every showing. So often, we can sabotage our own efforts to sell.
So in conclusion, if your home did not sell in the time frame you had hoped for and contracted to, yes, it is absolutely disappointing. But instead of looking to assign blame, look at what you can do to achieve success in the next round.