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When attempting to sell your home, there are several key factors that can prevent it from being snapped up by potential buyers. These include location, pricing, and the condition of the home inside and out. Understanding these elements is crucial when it comes to figuring out why a house doesn't sale in the greater Raleigh-Durham, NC housing market. That's why our West & Woodall Real Estate agents are here to shed light on the most common reasons why your house may linger on the market and what you can do about them.

Price is Too High

When you're trying to sell your home, setting the right price is a delicate balance that can significantly impact the sale process. Here are some key points to consider when thinking about how your home is priced.

Market Analysis Missteps

Terri Reynolds

According to West & Woodall REALTOR Terri Reynolds, "The #1 reason a house usually isn't selling or even getting good activity is that it's priced too high." REALTOR Lori Smith agrees that accurate pricing is vital to getting your home sold. "To get people in the door, it has to be priced right."

Overpricing can lead to extended selling times and may ultimately result in a lower final sale price. Conversely, underpricing your home could mean you're leaving money on the table. That's why it's essential to conduct a thorough market analysis to determine the most competitive and realistic price for your home.

Overpricing can lead to extended selling times and may ultimately result in a lower final sale price. Conversely, underpricing your home could mean you're leaving money on the table. That's why it's essential to conduct a thorough market analysis to determine the most competitive and realistic price for your home.

Matt Lawing

REALTOR Matt Lawing adds that "the vast majority of houses can sell at the right price. Often, the only reason a house isn't selling is price. When we're assessing the value of your home, we will look at 3-5 homes in your area that have sold recently that are close by and of a similar style and condition. These are commonly known as 'comps.' Based on the performance of similar houses, we will be able to make a determination of the likely sales price. It's important, though, to remember that no agent can ever know exactly how much the home will sell for, and if the sales price is too high for the demand, it will have a hard time selling.

Emotional Pricing Pitfalls

A common mistake is allowing sentimental value to inflate your asking price. While your memories within the home are priceless, buyers will evaluate your property based on market value, not personal attachment. Terri explains, "Unfortunately, a lot of sellers think their property is worth more than it actually is." This discrepancy can lead to an unrealistic listing price that deters buyer interest.

Buyer Search Behavior

Most potential buyers have set search parameters, including price ranges. If your home is overpriced by as little as 10%, you could be cutting your buyer pool in half because your listing may not appear in their search results. This loss of visibility can significantly reduce the number of showings and interest in your property.

The Stigma of Overpricing

A home that remains on the market for an extended period often becomes stigmatized, leading buyers to assume there may be underlying issues with the property. This stigma can be challenging to overcome, even with subsequent price reductions.

While it may be tempting to list your home at a high price point, especially when selling in a hot market like North Carolina's Triangle area, the repercussions of overpricing can be significant and far-reaching. It's crucial to price your home correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and avoid the pitfalls that can lead to a prolonged and frustrating selling experience.

Lack of Curb Appeal

When you place your home on the market, the exterior is the first thing prospective buyers see. Its attractiveness, or curb appeal, can make or break that crucial first impression.

Hope Galunas

REALTOR Hope Galunas says, "Lack of curb appeal will cause buyers to disregard a listing that may be a good buy. Exterior yard maintenance and neatness, especially around the main entrance, is critical. First impressions are lasting.”

The reason you want to make a good first impression is that a well-maintained exterior sets a positive tone, making buyers eager to see more. It's a visual promise of quality that can encourage buyers to explore the property further and even overlook minor interior flaws.

On the flip side, poor curb appeal can lead buyers to assume the interior is equally neglected, potentially causing them to bypass the property entirely or offer a lower price.

Ways to improve curb appeal so you can sell your home

Here are some things that you can do to improve curb appeal and get your home ready to sell so that you reduce the chances of it sitting on the market.

Brooke Fulford
  • Update outside lighting. According to Hope, "Lighting that is new and clean helps to give a home a warm and welcoming feel even during the day. It can even become an important part of the accents for a home that helps it stand out.
Samantha Abel
  • Paint front door. REALTOR Samantha Abel advises, "Find a color that pops and that will draw people into your home. The cost to update paint is minimal, and it will add character to the home so that it stands out from others in the neighborhood."

Unappealing Interior

When preparing to market your home, it's essential to consider the appeal of the interior. An outdated interior and lack of staging could be a big reason your house doesn't sell because potential buyers may have trouble envisioning it as their future home.

Hope offers these insights when it comes to making your home appealing to buyers.

  • Outdated kitchens and baths are often a deterrent to buyers who prefer not to renovate a home upon purchase. If possible, sellers could make some less expensive updates such as paint, cabinet hardware, and flooring, prior to listing. Otherwise, the home’s price should reflect updates that the home needs.
  • Pet, cigarette or other odors are an immediate turn-off for most buyers. A seller should deep clean and may need to paint to remove odors. Pets should be removed for showings and open houses.
  • Empty homes can cause buyers to walk away because they can’t imagine themselves living in them. Staging a home is important to ensure the spaces are inviting. This is especially true for the living room and master bedroom. If personal furnishings cannot be left, hire a professional stager to ensure that potential buyers might see themselves living in the home.
  • Dirty or cluttered homes are not appealing for potential buyers. That's why it's important that the home is clean and organized, especially in the closets, cabinets, and pantries. If there's clutter, it will lead a buyer to assume that there's a lack of storage space. Homeowners can eliminate clutter by packing as much as possible and storing boxes off-site.

Deferred Maintenance

Overlooking repairs and maintenance issues is one of the top reasons for why a house might not be selling. Addressing these concerns is not just a matter of aesthetics; it's about ensuring the structural integrity and safety of the property. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to identifying potential problems early, which can minimize their impact on property value.

According to Hope, "A home takes longer to sell if there is deferred maintenance, especially when it’s obvious to buyers. Siding in need of repair, peeling paint, broken masonry, etc. are outward signs to a potential buyer that the sellers have let maintenance lapse. Those items should be addressed prior to listing.”

Here are some key points when considering how deferred maintenance plays a role in why a house doesn't sell.

Structural and Foundation Integrity

Jeanette Hussey

Unaddressed structural and foundation issues can be a red flag for buyers, as they may lead to serious safety concerns and costly repairs down the line. To safeguard the value of your property, consider these issues as investments and seek professional help from experienced structural engineers or foundation repair companies to address them promptly. REALTOR Jeanette Hussey  says that if the issue isn't structural or it's something minor, "you at least have the engineer’s report to present to potential buyers that it has been investigated and it’s not a problem.”

Transparency and Maintenance

Be upfront about any past repairs and the current condition of your property. It's essential to disclose any past structural issues because hiding them could lead to legal repercussions and a loss of trust from prospective buyers.

Bert Woodall

West & Woodall Co-Owner and REALTOR Bert Woodall explains that North Carolina law requires sellers to complete a Property Disclosure Statement, which is a questionnaire about the structural condition of the home. This statement asks about roof leaks, crawl space or basement issues, or any problems with heating, air, plumbing, etc.

If anything is found during an inspection and the sale doesn’t go through, the seller should disclose those findings if the house goes back on the market. While they are not required to do so, Bert points out that “it could lead to legal jeopardy if they are found to have known of an issue that was not disclosed.” Agents, on the other hand, are bound by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission to disclose any material facts pertaining to the property.

With all of that being said, Jeanette notes, "Homes with deferred maintenance will usually sell on the low end of the price range, but, in most cases, they will sell to someone willing to take care of those items." If your goal is to sell your home quickly though, keeping up with regular maintenance is crucial.

Location

Lori Smith

Understanding the role of location and neighborhood factors is essential when you're trying to sell your home. If you're wondering why a house doesn’t sell, consider if the location is a drawback. Lori notes, "A good location like a nice neighborhood, or being convenient to amenities, or as is the case with many of the homes that I sell, whether they're at the lake, these are all elements that can significantly influence the desirability and value of your property."

Jeanette acknowledges that location is one factor that can't be changed, so it's always better to consider that element when purchasing a home. "If you buy on a busy street or maybe a home with a steep driveway, keep in mind not everyone will like that."

Ineffective Marketing Efforts

Kirk West

When talking about selling houses, the effectiveness of your marketing efforts can be as critical as the home itself. West & Woodall Co-Owner and REALTOR Kirk West says this is one of the big areas where having an experienced and knowledgeable professional real estate agent can make a significant difference in how quickly your home sells.

Utilizing digital home selling platforms and targeting the right audience with your marketing efforts makes sure your home is able to get in front of buyers who are interested in your area. In addition, having high-quality photos of your home, developing professional-looking marketing materials, and making sure that all differientors are accentuated are key to reducing your home's time on the market.

Lori offers this example of how shifting marketing tactics to adjust to rapidly changing market dynamics helped her sell a home that wasn't getting a lot of attention.

"I thought it was priced pretty well, but we didn't get any showings. I started looking, and a bunch of new construction properties had gone on the market right after we listed it. They had the same square footage but were priced lower. I knew that my property had as much if not more to offer than those homes, so I had to emphasize what set it apart. It was in a better location. The neighborhood wasn't cookie-cutter, and it had a lot of character. All the houses were different, and it offered more privacy on a cul-de-sac. We stressed those things in the marketing materials, and the house sold.”

When to Change Tactics for a House That's Not Selling

If a house isn't selling, it may be time to change tactics. Our agents explain when and how that might happen.

  • According to Hope, "If a home hasn’t had much activity or an offer within two weeks in a good market, sellers need to consider making changes to address items that have been raised by their agent or noted in the feedback from prospective buyers who have looked at the house. A price drop may be required."
  • Jeanette says, "If you're not getting offers on your home with a good amount of showings, that usually indicates a price adjustment is needed. I recommend giving it two to three weeks in this market before making an adjustment."
  • Lori usually gives it about a month. "If I put a house on the market and I don't have what I think is a considerable number of showings within the first 30 days, I'm going to go back and review similar homes that sold in the area during that timeframe, and what their price points were - both asking price and final sale price. Then I'll discuss it with the client, and we'll determine if any changes need to be made. A lot of it depends on the seller's timeframe. If it's a second home, and they don't need to sell it right away, they may just want to leave everything as is and give it a while longer."

Bottom Line on the Top Reasons for Why a House Doesn't Sell

Understanding why a house doesn't sell is pivotal to making informed adjustments and ultimately being able to see that "sold" sign in your yard. To increase the chances of your home selling promptly and profitably, it's vital to adopt a balanced approach that considers market analysis, effective marketing strategies, and making sure that your home is as appealing as possible. By doing these things, you can avoid common pitfalls and align your expectations with the realities of our local real estate market.

If you're ready to take the next step and want an experienced real estate professional to guide you through the process of selling your home, contact us at marketing@westandwoodall.com.

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