The real estate market is hopping and houses in your neighborhood are selling like hotcakes. You, however, are stuck owning the house that won’t sell.
Owning The House That Won’t Sell
We first need to get some common anxiety issues out of the way. There is no curse on your house. Real estate agents are not conspiring against you. Home buyers are not tasteless idiots. Well, not all of them. If you’re stuck owning the house that won’t sell, there has to be an identifiable reason and you should be able to find out what it is. This is particularly true in the current real estate market.
The single biggest and easiest issue to address is the price of the home. Simply put, are you being reasonable when it comes to price? What are the comparable home sale prices in your area and how does your price compare to the sold houses that most resemble the condition of yours? If you are asking for more than similar houses, finding a buyer is going to be difficult. Remember, the issue is the appraised value, not what you subjectively think your home is worth.
One area where people get into trouble is improving beyond their neighborhoods. This occurs when you pursue home improvements that add substantial value to your home, but can’t be supported by the surrounding houses. For example, assume your home and those around it all appraise in the $250,000 to $285,000 range. If you redo kitchens, bathrooms and add a full second story to the tune of $150,00, your probably think your home should be worth roughly $400,000. This is incorrect. Nobody is going to buy a $400,000 home in a $250,000 neighborhood. In such a situation, your best bet is to hold on to the house and pray the neighborhood appreciates over time.
If price isn’t the issue, you need to objectively evaluate how your house is different from those in the neighborhood. Ask a realtor to come take a look at the house and offer suggestions. If all else fails, hire an appraiser to come appraise the house and pay very close attention to the report.
Finally, one of the biggest problems I see with houses on the market is a lack of charm. It may sound superficial, but you want a potential buyer to be able to see themselves in the home. Don’t strip out personal or charming items. Instead, add flowers with a nice fragrance, plants and so on. Buyers are looking for a nice home, not a set of hospital rooms.