Sometimes it’s abundantly clear why a home would be a tough sell – the roof is damaged, it’s in a bad neighborhood, there is visible water damage, et cetera. The price point could also be wrong, but that’s an easy one to suss out. On occasion, however, the reasons a home sits on the market are far more insidious and difficult to discern. Hopefully you have a savvy listing agent who can help you ferret out the problem(s). Of course, you have to be receptive to the feedback: agents are often in the uncomfortable position of having to point out flaws to a homeowner while trying not to offend them. The following are just some of the secret reasons why your home may not be selling, as informed by the anecdotes of seasoned agents.
For the most part, sensible buyers will look beyond cosmetic defects that require a coat of paint or a quick trip to Home Depot. This is the smart thing to do – just because the master bedroom is painted sky blue and you prefer neutrals, you aren’t going to reject the house. But sometimes, the cosmetic defects in a home are just too egregious to overlook. Imagine walking into the living room of a condo and the carpet is a sea of 1990s-vintage hunter green. Or a home with three bedrooms, which are painted neon blue, purple, and sunshine yellow. Major ugh, right? There is a reason why smart agents will tell you to neutralize a home before you try to sell it. People are possibly going to reject that shag carpet from the 70s, but not a sensible, inexpensive beige rug.
When it comes to selling a home that has pets, the mantra to take to heart is, “out of sight, out of mind.” It’s really best if prospective buyers don’t know that you have pets, which means taking the animal(s) and removing all their accoutrements – kitty litter boxes, crates, food bowls, and so on – before you have a showing. Pet odors are a very sensitive issue, as owners can become “nose blind” to the smells that their “furbabies” have created in the house. If you own lots of pets, especially the free-roaming kind, this can be an issue. Nobody is going to buy a house in which six dogs, five cats, three nursling squirrels, an iguana, and six cages full of exotic birds exist. No matter how good a pet owner you are, questions will be raised about the cleanliness and upkeep of the house.
Mold is a menace that terrifies every homeowner, as well as anyone shopping for a new place to live. It is a spreading, devastating terror that causes widespread damage to a home, and it’s extremely difficult and expensive to contain. Mold can actually be dangerous for the residents of a home, which is part of the reason that it is so feared. One small spot of visible mold in the garage can lead to walls being torn out and entire rooms’ worth of space needing to be remediated for rampant mold growth. If your prospective buyers see, smell, or otherwise detect even a hint that there may be mold growing in your house, it isn’t going to sell until you fix the problem, regardless of the price tag.
This can be extremely frustrating since you can only do so much about it, but if there’s an open house going on and your neighbors are blasting loud music or arguing in the back yard, it is going to send your prospects right out the window. You’ve heard, undoubtedly, that an eyesore of a home brings down property values for the dwellings surrounding it. But if you have undesirable neighbors and not enough privacy to shield yourself from them, you are much less likely to sell your home. The best thing you can do is build the tallest privacy fence that your township will allow, and make your home a enclave against the outside world. This may not be possible in all situations, but you need to try to address the issue.
If your home isn’t moving, it can be a frustrating experience. A good agent can help you look deeper to find the root cause.