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It seems like bidding wars and record-high home prices are all you hear about in real estate news these days.
No one talks about the other side of the coin: a home that just won’t sell. According to a Redfin study of major cities nationwide, nearly 71% of home listings are considered stale. That means they’ve been sitting on the market for a month or more.
If your listing contract is set to expire, you might feel like a home deal’s about as likely as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series (sorry, Cubs fans).
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You might have an uphill battle ahead of you—but the battle can be won. Here’s how.
Put Your Price in Its Place
When you look at the reasons most homes go unsold, overpricing usually tops the list. That’s because it’s an easy mistake to make. Fond memories have a funny way of muddling market value.
These questions can help you separate numbers from nostalgia:
- What is your price based on? If you said your mortgage balance, an online home value estimate or warm and fuzzy feelings, try again. There’s really only one right answer here, and that’s what buyers are willing to pay for your home.
- Is your price competitive? You’ve been told all your life not to compare yourself to others. But this isn’t a question of self-esteem. It’s a just-the-facts-ma’am check to bring your high hopes back down to earth. Ask your real estate agent to pull a comparative market analysis so you can see what homes like yours have fetched in your area over the past few months.
Be Honest About the Condition
With home renovation shows all the rage right now, you’d think every buyer is jonesing for a fixer-upper. The reality? Most folks just want the shiny, happy “after” picture.
What do buyers see when they look at your place: a move-in-ready home or a to-do list? If your home’s the only one in the neighborhood sporting shag carpet and a well-worn roof, you either need to bring it up to date or adjust your price accordingly.
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Your real estate agent can help you decide where to spend your fix-up dollars. The good news is simple, low-cost projects usually bring the biggest bang for your buck, according to the latest cost vs. value report from Remodeling.com.
Consider a New Agent
Your agent should have advised you on how to price and prep your home before going to market. If the advice you got was off-target—or your home hasn’t gotten any attention since the For Sale sign went up—it’s time for a fresh start.
Don’t waste another minute after your listing contract expires. You need an agent who kicks it into high gear before your home even hits the market. A true pro is honest when they need to be and brings an endless list of contacts—and ideas—to expose your home to as many buyers as possible.
Partner with an agent who has a minimum of four—preferably 10—years of experience and closes 35 homes or more a year. That proves they’re in it for the long haul and they know how to get results.