Aug. 26, 2009

Why Isn't Your House Selling? 10 Likely Reasons (Part 1 of 3)

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that the past 18 months have seen record numbers of homes hit the Bellingham real estate market.  And not just Bellingham's market, but all markets across the country. The combination of panic, desperation and fear has caused "For Sale" signs to spring up faster than Rush Limbaugh's assistant when somebody yells "free cake".  The good news is that the tide seems to be turning toward a more balanced and stable market. However, that isn't really all that reassuring if you've been watching your house sit on the market for 6 months and your agent keeps pestering you to drop the price.  There are lots of reasons why your house could be getting the cold shoulder. Some of the usual suspects:

1. Your house is over priced. Duh! That's always the first thing anybody will tell you, especially your agent! And while that may be true, it could also be-

2. Your house is ugly. Sorry... but houses aren't people, and looks do matter. I don't care how much personality or sense of humor it has- if your house is bright pink with wood paneling and tortoise-shell mirrors, I'm not calling again!

3. Your house is viewable by "appointment only" because you have sensitive pets...and 12 kids...and visiting relatives. Hey, do you want to sell the house or not?!  Nobody's gonna buy it if they can't even get in to see it.  Make it easier for people to get in there.

fdr-bathrobe4. Your house smells like 1933. Again, sorry, but if your house smells like dust, mold or the recently deceased, and the walls are the color of Austin Powers' teeth, it's time to make some changes.  Try some new paint and re-carpeting. You'd be surprised at what a difference that makes for a minimal expense. It doesn't even need to be nice carpet- the buyer will probably just tear it out and refinish the hardwood floors somebody decided to cover up in the early 60's for god-knows-what reason. The point is, it won't smell like FDR's inaugural bathrobe anymore.

5. Your house smells like cats. Litter-boxes are very much like screaming children: if you have them, it doesn't take long before you figure out how to pretend they aren't there.  However, other people don't have that luxury. Other people can still hear and smell... Imagine you're out at a restaurant and I'm at the next table over from you. Although you are evidently oblivious to it, I CAN hear your kids screaming and whining, no matter HOW good you've gotten at hiding inside your parental isolation bubble. The same is true when it comes to the stench emanating from that cat-toilet you keep in your bedroom. Look, I'm not going to judge you for letting an animal repeatedly relieve itself five feet from where you sleep. To each their own, as they say…But come on, it stinks...and I don't want a house that smells like that, and neither do my clients. End of story.

6. You have a collection of life-sized circus animals on display throughout your yard.  I have actually seen this... Hey, I get it...the grandkids love the zoo and you thought it'd be super-cute to create a happy place for them to visit.  Well that all changed when you decided to put your house on the market. It's not about the grandkids, anymore. Now your house is reduced to a punchline for snarky blog writers, and the first reaction of visitors is snickering and laughter. Probably not the reaction you want at an open house. Lose 'em!

Click these links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

This post simultaneously published by Rob LeRoy at

Rob LeRoy is a Seattle real estate agent and social media marketing coach with eXp Realty.

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