Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Once you decide to sell your home, that’s all you want: to sell your home. The worst nightmare can be your home sitting on the market with minimal showing and no offers. How frustrating in today’s hot seller’s market.

There can be hundreds of reasons why a home isn’t selling, some more common than others.

Priced Incorrectly: Even if everything about your house is on point, if it’s priced wrong for the current market, it’s not going to sell. Be sure to use the best Realtor in your neighborhood who will provide you with a list price that they derived from looking through comps. The Realtor’s price may differ from the price you want to list it for, but at the end of the day, the listing price should be guided by comparables, not emotions. When residential real estate inventory is low, the market is hot for sellers. But that doesn’t mean buyers will overpay for a home. 

Online Photos are Subpar: The first stop for buyers is usually Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia as well as Realtor websites. If they see a home with terrible photos and bad lighting, they will keep on scrolling. Don’t use an i-phone, hire a photographer. Professional photos will make your home look at its very best online. They know all the right angles to give you the best light possible. They make homes look larger and showcase their best features. Make your home stands out against all the other homes people are seeing online. Money spent on photography could mean less time on the market and more money at closing time.

Beautiful Online but Not Once Inside: Too much furniture, galleries of personal pictures on the walls, or knick-knacks everywhere can make it too hard for buyers to imagine that they live in your house instead of you. Are your bathrooms clean? Your walk-in closet jam packed or organized? How about your appliances in the kitchen – do they sparkle? Not every buyer is a pet lover, so seeing, hearing, or smelling your dog or cat is something to be avoided at all costs. Don’t let your mess cost you a sale.

Needs to Much Work: A long list of maintenance issues can turn buyers off and potentially decrease the value of your home. More importantly, buyers expect the condition of your home to match the description. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don’t want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it’s just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.

No Marketing: You’ve got great pictures, but your Realtor might not be using the many social media resources. Social media should be an essential piece in your Realtor’s marketing package. There should be very focused marketing – your home should be directed towards the correct audience (age, financial status and motivation of buyer) for your home. Highly targeted online marketing can include specialty websites, targeted online ads, and targeted and boosted social media engagement. The more buyers your home is exposed to, the more showings there will be, and the higher chance of an offer being received.

The Bottom Line: Hire an experienced, knowledgable Realtor. To find that person ask neighbors, look at homes for sale in your area on the internet and see the photos used, look through social media at who is using it properly to market homes, and then interview several. Taking for granted the importance of hiring a top agent can stall the sale of your home.

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Price Your Home To Sell not Sit on the Market

How much is your home worth? That is the first question most homeowners ask when it’s time to sell. Having the best Realtor is key to getting the “right number”. You need someone who will price your home properly, quite possibly the most important thing a skilled Realtor can do. Too many Realtors tell sellers what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear to sell their home.

Pricing a home is a skill that takes training, understanding of the market and the comparable sales (comps). When a home is listed too high, buyers pass on even looking at it. It will end up being on the market for a long period of time and the price will eventually be forced to be lowered to be competitive. But, by that time buyers assume there must be something wrong with the home and it will gain a bad reputation and continue to be bypassed. Even the buyers who do look at it will lowball the new price and the home will end up being sold for less than what it would have had you priced it correctly to being with. Homes sell for the most money when they are on the market for less than 30 days in almost all markets.

You don’t want your home priced lower than it is worth, but you want it low enough to create excitement among buyers and possibly even multiple offers coming in. This is an excellent option if you want to sell a home fast.

A good Realtor will make sure that the seller’s home shows up in online searches. To make sure this happens, a proper price is paramount. If the neighborhood comps are lower, the house may not show up if it’s even slightly higher! For instance, if the comps top out at $300,000, and the buyer wants a 4 bedroom home in that neighborhood under $300,000, the house listed at $325,000 won’t even show up in the search.

Pricing a home to sell properly is a skill that the best Realtors have. It is the most critical piece to selling your home. The right price is 75% of the marketing for any home on the market. It’s what will attract buyers. So, when you are interviewing Realtors to sell your home, ask the question “what’s my home worth” and know they can’t tell you what it will sell for but expect comparable sales, pending sales, and active sales. Finally, ask to see a track record of their previous listings – the original price and the final sale number. And, don’t be afraid to ask for a personal guarantee from them.

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The First Home Showing is Online

“According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of home buyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online. What will they see? The home’s exterior – including the front entry, yard, driveway, sidewalk — should serve as a snapshot of what’s to come when potential buyers enter your home.” (HGTV)

Curb appeal is important, but to get potential buyers actually to and then in your home, it is all about your home’s web appeal. Your first showing usually happens online. Studies show that sellers and their agents have seven to 10 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention online and if not, they swipe left, pass on the home and move on to the next one. In such little time, you’ve got to make sure your Realtor has upped your web presence!

Start with preparing and staging your home, both inside and outside. Once it has been staged, the key to creating Internet attention is to compose sharp, clear photos that are big and bright! Using a professional photographer can mean the difference in your home selling or not even being seen. Remember, if the photos do not show well, the home will likely be passed over with a simple click of the mouse, with little chance of consideration for an in-person viewing 

What is your home’s best feature? Is it the recently updated chef’s kitchen or the beautiful outdoor pool and patio space? How about that marble fireplace or the home’s front exterior? Whatever it is, be sure to take plenty of photos of the home’s best features. Your Realtor may even want to make one of these photos the first picture that buyers see in the MLS database and other online real estate marketplaces. We recommend walking the home with your real estate agent to assess the property’s best selling points. Prior to the photo shoot, be sure to point out these features to the photographer.

Remember: when it comes to listing photos, quality trumps quantity. Unless your home is the size of a castle, there’s no reason to have 100 listing photos. Not only is having an excessive number of photos overwhelming for homebuyers, but it also doesn’t leave them wanting more. On the other hand, if the listing has too little photos, most buyers will wonder what exactly the sellers are hiding. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with guidance as to the appropriate number of listing photos. Just be sure to choose only the best for the listing. After all, no one needs to see 10 photos of your master bathroom.  

The Bottom Line: So many decisions are being made by home buyers just by the photos they find of your home online.  Make sure your home is at its very best when it comes time to take the listing photos of your home.  When it comes time to hire a Realtor don’t be afraid to ask to see some of the listings they have done so you can check the quality of their real estate photography.

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Home Selling in The Fall

There’s less competition

Spring seems to steals the show when it comes to selling a home. Reason being that sellers want to capitalize on the weather and with it the beautiful curb appeal. However, because so many sellers want to take advantage of this, the market becomes more competitive making your own home more difficult to stand out from the rest. It’s thought that Fall is a quieter real estate market, but there are many advantages to putting your home on the market for the season, including less competition.

The serious buyers are out

Summer vacations are over giving buyers less time to spend house hunting. Those that are shopping in the Fall are dedicated buyers. Chances are that those who come to view your home are in the middle of a serious house search, which could perhaps make an offer all the more likely. You are now dealing with a more serious pool of buyers. By the time September or October rolls around, these buyers are itching to get their move settled. Nobody wants to move in the snow or during the busy holiday season, so potential buyers usually want to get things signed and sealed as quickly as possible.

Curb appeal

Curb appeal is thought to peak during the Spring, and we all know how important it is to have your property looking its best when you have it on the market. The colors of the leaves are turning beautiful golds and reds making for a dramatic and incredible backdrop for your home. Throw in some potted flowering mums and keep the late-flowering plants cleaned up and you’ve got curb appeal that blows away Spring. Be sure to keep up with the raking as the leaves fall!

Appeal to the senses

The fall and winter months are associated with certain smells and flavors ( pine needles, cinnamon, peppermint, and pumpkin pie). Beyond setting the mood with decorations, you could try appealing to buyers’ senses in multiple ways. When it’s chilly outside, it’s important to make buyers feel warm in more ways than one. Aside from keeping your thermostat at a comfortable level, it’s a good idea to make your home seem inviting.

The Bottom Line: Marketing from a good Realtor will always be a big part of selling any home, and if you sell at their busiest time, which is spring, you run the risk of getting a little less attention than you may want. However, grab them during the off-season of Fall or Winter and your home will be given more attention. There will be extra challenges in selling in the Fall, but if you embrace the season, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a buyer. Take all the necessary steps to improve your chances of selling.

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How to Stage Your Home Like a Pro When Selling

When you stage a home, you’re trying to show it in its best light. It should be styled in a way that highlights its best assets while downplaying its faults. Professionals real estate agents understand this, and that’s why they go to great lengths to ensure that any home on the market is immaculately clean and equipped with fresh, attractive furnishings. But if you’re selling your own home, you’ll face a unique set of challenges. 

Unlike real estate companies that have robust communication streams and many hands on-deck, you’re likely trying to keep in touch with potential buyers while juggling your own job and personal responsibilities. Luckily, staging your home doesn’t take much more than a bit of foresight and some elbow grease. Read on for our best tips on staging your home like the pros when it comes time to sell.

Do a deep clean 

Doing a thorough cleaning of all the living spaces is one of the most important steps when it comes to staging your home. Nobody wants to live in somebody else’s mess, and every imperfection that a potential buyer notices deducts from their estimated value of the home. 

So you’ll want to clean every corner of your home. Make sure the floors are vacuumed, the windows are polished, and any dust or dirt is gotten rid of. 

When cleaning, pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen appliances and countertops should be sparkling clean, free of any grease or food matter. In the bathroom, the toilet and shower should be so clean that they basically look unused. The room should be spotless, all the way down to the grout. 

Take care of clutter

Too much clutter can make a space look small and crowded. And it doesn’t just encroach on the space, it also forces your own style and personality upon potential buyers, whose sensibilities may be entirely different from your own. 

Therefore, you should store away all the unnecessary items and trinkets you would usually have around the house and just keep the essentials. Don’t stuff all your clutter into an empty closet either—visitors are going to want to look over every part of the house, and when they open up a closet to see shelves full of random items it’ll have a negative impact on how they perceive the closet space. If you don’t already have a new place where you can store your excess stuff, then consider renting a temporary storage unit. 

Clear out personal items 

While the family pictures on the mantle might make you feel at home, they won’t have the same effect on the strangers who are visiting your house. In staging your house, you should make an effort to depersonalize it. 

Remove family pictures, personal items, and anything else that makes the house uniquely yours. By doing this, you’ll provide visitors with something of a blank slate, and potential buyers will be able to envision the space as their own home rather than feeling like they’re taking a tour of someone else’s. 

Keep pets away 

Even though dogs and cats are beloved by so many, it’s unlikely that potential buyers will find them appealing. Instead, they’ll probably be more focused on the stains and smells left behind by a pet. This is why you should remove any signs of your pet from the house. Clean up fur, treat lingering stains, and put things like food bowls, toys, and pet food in storage. 

Make visitors feel at home

While you do want to clean up the house and remove your personal effects, you shouldn’t make the space completely sterile. Potential buyers want to feel like they’re in an idealized version of what the house could be, so cater to that idea by creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors. 

There are many ways to go about achieving this. You could offer freshly baked cookies at the door or put out a healthy smoothie for guests to enjoy. You might also pick up some fresh flowers and put them in a vase or set the dinner table to make the space feel even more homely. 

Turn up the lighting 

One of the first things visitors will notice when walking into your home is the lighting, so make sure your house is well-lit. Clean windows and open curtains around the house to let natural light inside. This is an important step, as the amount of natural light a home gets is a major consideration for many potential buyers. 

Also, switch on the lights in the home and bring in supplemental lighting anywhere that needs it. Purchase bright new light bulbs to replace any of the existing ones that are weak or burnt-out. 

Apply a fresh coat of paint  

Clean up the walls of your house for visitors by removing any previous wallpaper and applying a fresh coat of paint. It’s a simple task that can completely transform the room and make it look new again. 

When choosing the paint color, opt for neutral shades rather than bolder ones. After all, you want to cast a wide net and bright, bold colors on the walls might not appeal to everyone. So stick with warm neutral shades that add to the welcoming atmosphere you’re attempting to build. 

Optimize the exterior

Curb appeal is extremely important when you’re trying to sell your home. Potential buyers most likely won’t even walk in the house if they’re put off by its exterior. This means you have to ensure that the facade of your home and the yard, if you have one, are in great shape. 

Trim the hedges, cut the grass, and remove any unsightly weeds from the yard. If the paint on the outside of your home is peeling, consider giving it a touch up or, if that’s too much work, power wash it to remove dirt and grime. Also give the outside of the windows a good washing to make them sparkle. 

In addition to making all the existing parts of the exterior look nice, you might even introduce new items that improve the look of your home, such as freshly planted flowers or patio furniture. 

By properly staging your home, you can make it sell faster at a higher price. Every bit of time and work you put into the staging will likely pay dividends in the end. So be sure to go the extra mile in trying to turn your old house into a stranger’s dream home. 

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Selling Your Home? Create an Inviting Space

sold sign with realtor

Smart Design Choices to Make the Most of Your Space
No matter what size your living space is, there are a lot of smart design choices to help you make the most of it. You could be living in a small space by choice or necessity, but either way, there’s no need to put up with miniature things and clutter everywhere. Here are some essential tips to transform your home from a claustrophobic area to a fun, comfortable, and functional living space.


Prioritize Organization
The first thing you need to do is get organized. If you’re not one of the lucky people who seem to be born with exceptional organizational skills, then it’s time to learn this skill. Take time to go through your house and plan how you can make the most of your space. Make notes of where you can creatively organize your space. For instance, you might be able to install open shelves in your kitchen for more space, or you could loft your bed in order to add more floor space.

Streamline Everything
When you live in a small house or apartment, it’s essential to constantly evaluate your possessions so that you’re not keeping unnecessary things around. Whether it’s clothes you haven’t worn in years or receipts for stuff you’ve already broken or lost, it’s vital to minimize the clutter as much as you can. In much the same way as learning to get organized, you can also pick up some storage tips that will help you to increase the amount of free space you have. If you can, try to rent a small storage unit where you can house items that you don’t use regularly, but you’d still like to keep, such as holiday decorations, camping/fishing gear, beach umbrellas, and other seasonal belongings.


Leverage Color
Using color to your advantage is something that can totally transform your living space. Painting your home is also one of the most affordable ways of changing its look and feel. You can choose lighter hues for the walls to create an airy effect and make your indoor space feel a lot bigger. When it comes to creating the illusion of space and depth, neutral colors are the best choice. You’ll be able to expand the room with just a coat of paint. You can then add a bit of color and texture to create interest. However, try to stay away from large prints and particularly loud patterns as these tend to dwarf your space, making it feel smaller.


The Bottom Line
When you want to sell your home, there are many other tips and tricks to help you transform any room in your home and make space feel and look a lot bigger than it actually is. Other smart design options include using furnishings that work to visually expand the room, such as low-profile seating to create an illusion of high ceilings. You can also pick furniture that does double duty, such as having a
trunk/coffee table, or a coffee table/fish tank. The sky’s the limit, but you can get started right now by using the three tips outlined above to add more space and depth to so you can make the most of the space in each room.

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Title Search Company for Buyers and Sellers

Resources

The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

BUYER

Buying a home may be the single, largest financial purchase in your life and can signify a much-anticipated milestone. That’s why Title First offers a host of resources to help you understand this important personal transaction.

SELLER

Selling a home can be complicated and finding the right owner’s title insurance is just one piece of the puzzle. Title First can simplify this process by giving you the tools you need to get you through the selling process.

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Are You Ready For Your Interior Home Inspection?

It’s in a seller’s best interest to make sure their home is as ready as possible for inspection. All homes that have been lived in usually have a bit of damage from simply living in it.  After your home has been on the market and someone is interested in buying it, you have to pass the inspection.  Home inspection seems nerve-wracking but they are necessary before any sale. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for the day when the interior of your home is being inspected. 

Heating, Cooling, Water Heater: Each should have a date of their last inspection on them. If not, they could be flagged by the inspector.  If you can’t find a sticker, have your Realtor give you the name of a licensed contractor to come to have a look to see if any repairs or changes should be made and make sure all are running properly. 

Bathrooms: How is the grout in the shower, around the sink and in the tub looking? This one is an easy remedy if you see any cracks – match the grout color and fill in the damaged areas.  Make sure any pipe work that was performed meets legal standards and guidelines. For example: If you put in your own custom shower, note that the inspector will check below the surface to make sure that the membrane was installed properly and there isn’t water leaking below the shower that could damage the sub-floor and drywall.  The inspector will flush all the toilets and listen for any leaking sounds. Often you will just need a flapper valve if you hear a sound.  Cheap fix. 

Electrical: Test your outlets. For as little as $10, an outlet tester can be picked up at a home improvement store. An inspector will try every single one in your home. Be sure the cover plates are not cracked – another cheap and easy fix.  Every light fixture should have a working bulb and your smoke detector should work. 

Plumbing: Fill all your sinks part of the way and then pull the plug to see if they drain normally. Did it take a long time to fill the sink? It might be because you have low water pressure and is often a really easy fix. Occasionally, this could be an indication of a bigger problem within your plumbing system. It’s best, at that point, to hire a professional to come to see before an inspector. Check inside cabinets under sinks for moisture or around the valves.

Kitchen Appliances: Repair any that may need to be fixed as the inspector will run the dishwasher, the stove, oven, garbage disposal, vents, and fans. If you bought a new appliance while you lived in the home and installed it yourself, mistakes may have been made during setup. Check the water and drainage lines from a new dishwasher or refridgerator

Windows & Doors: Each window should be able to open, close and lock. If you find any hard movement, it can be easily fixed using spray silicone from the hardware store. Repair any caulking around the doors and make sure all the knobs/deadbolts are working properly. 

The Bottom Line: This is just a quick checklist of some of the things that you, as a homeowner, can look for and fix before an inspection inside your home.  Some of the issues may need the help of a professional.  The best advice we have heard is if you want the inspection to go smoothly, have your home inspected before it even goes on the market. This way, anything you can’t fix yourself, you will have time to find a reasonably priced contractor instead of rushing and paying top dollar after the fact. 

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Facebook Can Sell Your Home

technology

Take advantage of Facebook to sell your home — and be certain that the  Realtor you choose is social media savvy. The Facebook universe is voluntarily giving up its demographic information daily and 1.5 billion members can be directly reached. 

Video: Currently Facebook is fond of videos versus still images, which means the powers-that-be are at work with the algorithms of the platform that make the decision as to what a user will see on their newsfeeds, and video is at the top right now. Giving a tour of your home either live or prerecorded focusing on the best selling points of your home should be one of the first things posted. Invest in a photographer/videographer, it will pay off in the end.

Photos: Hiring that photographer/videographer will come in handy for these. People love pictures. Plain texts on Facebook rarely get the views that a post with a beautiful photo gets. Take advantage of the fact that social media users are visual beings and are attracted to properties they see while casually scrolling through Facebook. 

Post with a link within the text: In other words, put up one of your beautiful photos, with a short, well-worded text and the link at the end to click. Facebook wants us to stay on its platform and not navigate away. If the picture is the link to the MLS listing, the weight for the algorithm will be weighed much lower and miss newsfeeds. 

Facebook ads: Put aside a little money beyond the costs of advertising in your local classifieds, and consider buying a Facebook ad that goes to a web page showcasing your home.  The precision is incredible – you can target users according to various criteria, including location, gender, age, education, workplace, etc. Best of all? You don’t need to spend a lot of money on an ad. Start low – even just $5. 

The Bottom Line: Embrace Facebook for home selling. Over 90% of homebuyers start their hunt online and they will never even get in the car to go see a home for sale if the online presentation is not compelling. Write posts about what made YOU buy the home. Make the posts personal and detailed. Facebook’s ability to target posts and ads to your core demographics are invaluable.  69% of Realtors use Facebook because it works. Find that Realtor


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Selling A Home in January

Unfortunately, many people assume incorrectly that homes do not sell in the winter. Spring wins as people believe it is the best time to sell, but a good realtor will tell a seller that putting their home on the market in January to beat the competition.  After the holidays, people are back at work and looking online for their next move, and with the mindset of so many sellers to wait until Spring, the home on the market in January will have less competition. 

Real Estate becomes flooded come spring and summer and is dominated by high supply and high demand, meaning a home becomes one of the many for sale. Think about selling in a period of high demand but low supply, and being one of the few and standing out from the crowd and with less risk of getting lost in a market overload in the Spring. 

Redfin, a real estate organization, took a look a home sales from 2010 through 2014 to determine how well homes sold based on the season. The findings were surprising for many people, because they went against the standard assumption that winter was a time to avoid trying to sell a home. They found that, indeed, homes did sell best in spring, but only by a small margin. The next best time to sell a home turned out to be winter, followed by summer and then fall. Winter home sales were only one percentage point lower than the figures for spring, with summer trailing quite a bit behind.

The buyers are more serious in the cold, dark months of January and February. It’s not so hard to go house hunting in the beautiful months in Spring and Summer, but to go out in the frigid temps to look at homes means that buyer is motivated. 

January is the most popular month for corporate transfers. People who are transferring for work are highly motivated buyers and are limited to the time they can spend looking for a house. Take advantage of this situation, especially if living in an area with corporate headquarters, or major employers. 

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