Top Ten Reasons Your House Isn't Selling!

Posted by Andrew Slater on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 at 8:01am.


10) Timing:

Spring is typically the best time of year to sell a house. Looking at the chart below, you can see that May has the most sales in Saskatoon, except for 2020, of course. (And we all know what is happening this year!)

Depending on your situation, though, you might not have the luxury of selling in May. But here in Saskatchewan, it is the time of year makes the most sense. This gives you the opportunity to have an end-of-June possession for both the house you're selling and the one you're buying. It also means you won't disrupt the school year and, if you time it right, you also won't lose out on too much of your summer vacation time either!

Now, this isn't to say your house won't sell at any other time of the year, but the average sales price is higher in May, June, and July. This is due to the Law of Supply & Demand, as there are more people looking to buy during these months.

9) Marketing

Is your property being properly marketed? Nowadays, putting a sign in the ground and listing it on the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) is the bare minimum, even in a seller's market. I cringe when I hear, "All we need is one buyer!" Really?! I guarantee you, the more people that are interested, the more money they will offer—fear of loss is a powerful motivator! 

So, how do you attract more people? You need more than great pictures, but at least that's a start! In 2020, a few poorly lit, blurry pictures is NOT attracting potential buyers. You're setting yourself up for NO showings or low-ball offers. Pictures should be professionally shot and you should have a video tour of your property, as well.

In today's day and age, it's also critical to be aware of your online presence. Not only do you need to be using the usual tools—, Point2Homes, etc.—but you also need to be utilizing social media and search engine optimization, too. I would even take it a step further and determine what type of buyer would be most interested in your property, then use that demographic to target that buyer more effectively with my online marketing. Why advertise to a demographic that isn't going to be interested in your property? You're just wasting time and money!

Open houses are also still a key component in real estate marketing. I recommend doing a virtual open house and then marketing it online while promoting the in-person open house that will happen the following weekend—killing 2 birds with one stone!

8) Curb Appeal 

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

People buy with their eyes. If potential buyers pull up to a house and it looks bad, it will put them in a negative mind set. Then, when they go inside, they will be noticing all the negative aspects of the house, rather than focusing on the positives.

At the very least, to boost your curb appeal you need to cut the grass, pick the weeds, and clear the clutter. To go even further, paint the exterior and the front door, plant flowers, repair eaves and downspouts, and replace missing or damaged shingles.

7) Location

There is not much you can do about the location of your property (except next time you buy, use a REALTOR® that will give you better advice). If you live near train tracks, an airport, busy roads, or a hospital, you are going to have a tougher time selling and will get less than if the house was in a better location.

6) Dated

There is a lot you could do about this....but don't. You are just throwing away money! Kitchens and bathrooms will usually get you close to 100% return on your investment. If you spend $20,000, you should get close to $20,000 more for your property. Other renovations get less of a return, and your time and money would be better spent in de-cluttering and staging instead!

Note: If you do have a dated property and are going to live there for some time, there are some do's and don'ts regarding renovations that can increase the value of your property. Consult with your real estate advisor first!

5) De-Personalize

Buyers are trying to imagine themselves in your house, and if it is full of personal items, they won't be able to get a mental picture of what that looks like because you are literally everywhere! Put away the family pictures, trophies, and awards. If you have an area that has your kids' heights marked on a wall, take a picture of it and paint over it. As much as it may not feel right for your family right now, it's important to remember there's a new family moving in that will be looking to make their own memories!

Oh, and if you're into the occult, keep in mind that the Christian couple will be out the door before they get their shoes off! You want to be as neutral as possible.

4) Cluttered

Again, potential buyers want to imagine themselves in the house, and they can't if there is too much stuff distracting them. Rule of thumb: less is better!

Take half of whatever is in your closets and cupboards out—buyers need to see there is lots of room for their stuff. Minimize furniture—you want the rooms to look bigger. Minimize items on counter tops, window sills, dressers, and shelves, as well.

Here, we're also talking about staging. Rooms need to have a "flow" and a purpose. And using an extra bedroom as a "storage container" is not considered a purpose! If you have a lot of stuff, consider renting a storage facility while your house is on the market.

To take it to the next level:

  • Closets: make sure all hangers are facing the same way and shoes are neatly organized.
  • Cupboards: organize containers to have all the labels facing out and cup handles facing the same way.
  • Bathrooms: put out clean towels and organize the cupboards.

You get the idea. Do most people live this way? Of course not! But this is part of marketing your property! Psychologically, you are selling a "feeling". You want potential buyers to feel good when they are viewing your house. Don't believe me? Take a look at the ads on TV and notice how much the actual product is shown or discussed compared to how much of a lifestyle is portrayed!

3) Repairs

You need to look at this objectively, which can be hard. I suggest having your real estate advisor go through your property and make suggestions. That leaky tap might mean nothing to you, but potential buyers and their agents will notice it. The list of what to look for is extensive but a few examples are; sticking windows, drawers and doors, leaky taps, missing handles, scuff marks, holes in walls, etc.

Don't do any major repairs unless they are necessary. For example, if the shingles will need replacing in the next 2-5 years leave them. If they should have been replaced a year ago, have them replaced. Buyers don't want to buy a house and then have to spend money repairing something right away.

The best return on investment when preparing your house for sale is painting! A fresh coat of paint goes a long way—just make sure to use a neutral colour. White, light grey, and light blue are all excellent choices!

2) Dirty

The number one turn off for potential buyers is dirt! And I'm not talking about the day-to-day kind that you can pick up with a quick flick of the vacuum and duster. A good, deep clean is going to be extensive and take time, depending on the condition of the home.

The internet will give you plenty of ideas for ways to do this, such as shampooing carpets and furniture, cleaning windows (inside and out), fridge, oven, microwave, and grout in between tiles! Odours are a turnoff as well, including diffusers and air fresheners!

If you don't have the time or the desire to do a deep clean yourself, you can always hire a professional cleaner. Remember, the house should stay clean until the buyers take possession.

1) Price

Any home will sell if the price is right! The more desirable it is and the condition it is in, the more money you will receive!

To get the most money from the sale of your house, you need to prepare before you list the home. Consult with an experienced, local REALTOR® to ensure you sell your house for the most money and in the shortest time. I tell clients the following: "If it's not compelling, it's not selling!"

Bonus Tip!

How to Sell a House


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