“It’s a hot seller’s market,” they say.
“You’ll sell in a heartbeat,” they insist.
Then the weeks turn into months, and you still don’t have any offers on your home. The real estate market might indeed be sizzling, but for some reason, it’s fizzling for your home. This doesn’t mean your home is unsellable, but it could be time to rethink your strategy if it fits one of these three scenarios:
Unique features are normally a good thing for a property, because it will make it stand out from others on the market. But this can backfire when buyers can’t see past those features to how they’re actually going to live in the space.
Diana Sutherlin, a broker with Compass in New Jersey, recalls one gorgeous home that underwent a complete renovation. Normally, it would’ve sold quickly, but there was one idiosyncrasy, as she calls it: The soaking tub in the beautifully redone primary suite was in the bedroom. The sellers had opted for a layout that’s not unheard of in European properties, particularly in high-end hotels. But it left American buyers perplexed.
“It kind of invalidated the property in a way that it never should have,” Sutherlin says. When the sellers recognized the tub would be an issue, they offered to take it out for a would-be buyer, but “you can’t put the genie back in the box,” she explains.
If your property has an odd feature or needs updating to the point where it’s a turnoff to buyers, Sutherlin suggests removing the listing, doing the work, and then re-listing. Depending on the scope of the work done, you could list at a higher asking price.
This one goes out as a word of caution to condo and co-op owners: You might run into trouble if your neighbors directly upstairs or downstairs list their units at the same time.
Units in the same line — the “B” units in a building, for example — will typically have the same layout. And since they’ve also got access to the same amenities as you, there’s not much to differentiate them except their floor level. The supply and demand shifts, and you’ve essentially now got a buyer’s market.
“You’ve completely tilted the negotiating power to the buyer side,” says Sutherlin, who suggests taking down the listing until the other unit is in “a solid contract.”
If that strategy bursts your bubble, consider this: Sutherlin recently sold a unit in a bidding war that increased the price by six figures over an identical unit that closed only the month before. It could pay for you to be patient as well.
It’s natural as a seller to want to cash in at a time when property values have soared. But you won’t get many bites if your asking price is way above the comparable homes in your neighborhood. For buyers with home financing on the line, they can’t purchase a home that will potentially appraise for less money than their offer, which means your home might stay on the market.
If you’re not in a rush to move, then you might be fine with your home lingering for a while; this is actually quite common in the luxury market. You can drop the price as time goes on, but know that buyers will likely wait you out — or move on to a property that’s more within their reach.
However, if dropping the price isn’t palatable, you might want to think about removing the listing and waiting the market out.
It can be disheartening when your home doesn’t attract offers in a market where demand far outweighs supply. But don’t count it as a failure, Sutherlin says. Timing is everything when it comes to real estate, but when you take control back and delist your property, it gives you time to rethink your sales strategy.
“You’re the one in power,” says Sutherlin. “You’re the one that has the property that somebody is going to want to buy.”