Top 12 Reasons Why Some Houses in Maryland Don’t Sell Fast
Have you ever noticed that some houses in Maryland sell very quickly, while others remain for sale for longer periods of time? Why does this happen?
What is the difference between the houses that sell fast and the ones that do not?
When houses take a long time to sell, many people blame the REALTOR® whose sign is in the yard. It’s logical to think that real estate agent is not doing his or her job to sell the house.
Certainly, like any profession, some real estate agents work harder than others. Many homeowners hire local REALTORS® to sell their homes. This is a best practice, since local agents know the communities and local real estate market better than real estate agents who are from areas.
Local REALTORS® also know the other local real estate agents, which is a huge benefit when marketing a property and negotiating a contract. Real estate agents from other areas are often less knowledgable. These real estate agents can actually be a disadvantage to homeowners who want to sell their house fast in MD.
1. The Property is Overpriced
Overpriced houses in Maryland simply do not sell. It’s truly a wake-up call for many homeowners when they learn that, no, they don’t determine what their homes are worth. The true value of a house is determined by what buyers are willing to pay for it, not what the homeowner wants to get for it.
Today’s home buyers are savvy and begin researching houses online long before they start going to look at houses. When they are ready to go look, they already have a very realistic understanding of what houses are selling for in a particular neighborhood. Those same buyers won’t even go look at the houses they think are overpriced. A higher-than-market-value price isn’t fooling anyone. Instead, a seller should compare their property to similar properties that have recently sold in the area to get a better idea of its true value. It’s the only real way to know how much buyers are willing to pay.
Another mistake is adding on the cost of any renovations to the list price. Not all renovations add value. And the renovations that do add value frequently translate to less value than many homeowners realize. For example, a completely remodeled bathroom or kitchen doesn’t necessarily add up to the amount of money that was spent for those projects.
A third mistake many homeowners make when valuing their property is relying on the automated estimate found on Zillow. Zillow is the #1 website buyers use to search for homes, and the website provides lots of helpful information on homes for sale in Maryland. Relying on automated estimates typically results in an inaccurate valuation.
What is the best way to determine the actual value of your property? Ask an experienced local REALTOR® to do the research and provide you with an accurate value of your home. This valuation will be based on the comparable homes that have recently sold, and will also take into consideration the features of your home, as well as the overall condition and any upgrades.
2. The Listing is Poor
When the listing of a house for sale in Maryland is poorly written, a lot of buyers will skip over it. Buyers want to read about all the wonderful features of a house, and like to visualize what it might be like to live there. While a listing description should never be embellished, it should definitely attract the attention of potential buyers.
Poor listing photographs also have a major impact on house fast a house might sell. Buyers pay close attention to the photos. If they don’t like what they see, they will not even look at the house. Photos that are dark, blurry, and don’t show each and every room of a house do not help a house sell fast. Likewise, photos that show rooms full of clutter are not attractive to buyers.
What is the best way to ensure a great listing? Assist a local REALTOR® by providing all the wonderful details of your house. And make sure high quality photographs are taken by either your real estate agent or a professional photographer. Photographs should include both the interior and the exterior, with unique features being highlighted.
3. It’s Difficult to Get an Appointment to See the House
Some homeowners are very selective regarding when their home can be shown to buyers. Too many limitations make it extremely difficult to sell a house fast. Buyers want to look a houses based on their own schedules. Today’s buyers work a variety of schedules. Some buyers work during the day, some work at night, others work on weekends. If the seller makes it difficult for an agent to show, and denies showings, guess what? Interested buyers typically will not make another attempt to see the house. For example, if a buyer is relocating, that buyer will likely be in town for a few days specifically to look at houses. When the seller says “no” to a specific day or time, that buyer will not try again.
What is the best way to have the most buyers see your house? Be flexible and allow your house to be shown 7 days a week, during morning, afternoon and evening hours. Plan to be inconvenienced. It’s the only way to expose your house to the most home buyers, and increase the chances of selling your house fast.
4. The Homeowner is Home During Showings
A home owner’s flexibility is a must when showings are requested for their house. This means being willing to leave at a moment’s notice so a REALTOR® can show the house to their buyers. Buyers don’t want to have the seller lurking around while they are looking at a property. This makes buyers very uncomfortable and they won’t stay in the house as long as if the seller wasn’t there. Homeowners who are home during showings are intimidating to buyers, and those same buyers will not feel at ease in viewing the house.
What is the best way to avoid this scenario? Homeowners should make sure they are not home every time their house is being shown. This also applies to open houses.
5. The Homeowner is Too Attached to the House
Maryland homeowners who are too attached to their homes often have a hard time selling their house fast. They have a hard time negotiating offers, and don’t want to take even a penny off the price. They also have a very difficult time reducing their list price if they insisted on overpricing from the start. They often feel their house is the best house on the block and worth more than it is really worth. This can make it difficult to come to an agreement with a buyer, and the house remains for sale.
What is the best way to detach from a house? While it is not always easy to detach from the memories inside a house, the best advice is to focus on the positives of moving on to the next location.
6. The House Isn’t Spotless
Dirty, unkept houses leave a bad impression on home buyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to walk into a dirty house, then walk out without looking at the entire house. Dirty houses make buyers think the house has not been well-cared for. If the house is dirty, what else hasn’t been taken care of? Buyers equate dirty houses with lack of maintenance of the entire house. Clean houses sparkle and impress buyers. Dirty houses do not sell fast.
What is the best way to “fix” a dirty house? Make sure carpeting has been steam-cleaned and other floor surfaces have been mopped. Remove all signs of pet hair. Clean the windows. And in general, make sure all countertops are clean, showers and bathtubs are clean, and the whole house dusted. Yes, keeping a house constantly clean when selling a house is a chore. However, dirty houses can take a lot longer to sell.
7. The House Isn’t Staged
The first thing buyers do when they walk through the door is try to imagine themselves living there. Houses staged with furniture and decor give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. Furnishings help a buyer “feel at home”. Staged houses sell faster than houses that are not staged.
What is the best way to stage a home? Professional home stagers specialize in home staging, but also add an expense to a seller’s budget. Homeowners who do not want to go this route should consult with a local REALTOR® who can provide tips and ideas without breaking the bank.
8. Too Much Personal Decor
Buyers want to envision themselves living in a house. Personal items such as family photos and collections make buyers feel like they are “just visiting”. Buyers will begin to pay more attention to family pictures and other personal items, and less attention to the house itself. When buyers can’t envision themselves living in a house, it can take longer to sell that house.
What is the best way to eliminate personal decor? Since a seller will ultimately need to pack up to move, it is best to start by packing up personal touches in the home before the house is listed. Wrap and pack away all family photos, awards and plaques. Have trophies on display? Pack them up. Deer heads on the wall? Yes, they need to be packed up, too. Collections of some sort? Pack them up. Plastic storage containers or sturdy boxes are great for this purpose.
9. Home Improvements are Too Personalized
A great example of this is murals on walls and unusual paint choices. Buyers will view these as “work” they will need to do before they move in. This can make it take longer to sell a house. The same thing applies to “sparkles” and “glow-in-the-dark” decorations in kids’ rooms.
What is the best way to de-personalize? Remove these types of items before listing the house, and repaint with a neutral color. Ta da! Buyers can move right in, and there is a much greater chance of the house selling faster.
10. The House is Too Cluttered
Got Clutter? It so, it will be an issue when selling a house fast in Maryland. Clutter takes up space, and makes rooms look small. Even when a house is very clean, clutter is nothing more than “stuff” that takes up space. Clutter makes it difficult for buyers to see everything they want to see, and is very distracting. Clutter can be as simple as too much furniture in a room, or it can be too many papers on a desk, too many unorganized craft supplies, too many kids’ toys, too many pet items.
What to do with clutter? Getting rid of all the clutter is the answer. A home seller will need to pack up to move, so reducing clutter before the property is listed is a smart thing to do, and is less to pack later! Get rid of unnecessary “stuff”. Pack up the items that aren’t needed on a daily basis. Donate items that are no longer needed or used. The idea is to create as much space as possible and to have a house that appears neat and organized to potential buyers.
11. The House Needs Too Many Repairs
A house in need of repair will not be popular, unless it is priced at rock bottom. Unless buyers are looking for a fixer-upper, they want a house with things that are not broken.
Most of today’s buyers have a home inspection performed after getting a house under contract. The home inspector will find anything that needs to be repaired or replaced. The buyer will then expect the seller to have those repairs completed. Often times, a licensed contractor will be required to make those repairs.
Even a house in need of minor repairs – dripping faucets, ratty carpet, walls in need of patching – loses perceived value. Right now, the majority of homebuyers are millennials and a recent National Association of Realtors study finds that these buyers neither have the money nor the desire to make repairs after they purchase a house. “They want to cook in that kitchen from day one and entertain in the backyard that very weekend,” according to Consumer Report’s Dan DiClerico.
In addition, if there are any major repairs needed, very few lenders will approve a loan for a buyer to purchase the house. This means the deal will fall apart and it will take even longer to sell the house.
What to do about things that need to be repaired? Unless a homeowner absolutely cannot afford to fix what’s broken in their house, making repairs is a must. Very few buyers want to buy a house that needs repairing. Sellers who don’t want to make repairs will only attract investors who might have interest in buying their house. And investors will not pay nearly the sales price the seller hopes to get for their house. When a homeowner know it’s broken in advance, they should save time, money and aggravation by fixing whatever needs to be fixed.
12. The House Isn’t Marketed Properly
Yes, for-sale signs in a front yard are common, and, full-color fliers are attractive. But it takes a lot more to sell a Carroll County house than an MLS listing, a sign and colorful fliers. Sure, it’s easier during a hot sellers’ market, but it isn’t always easy.
And, even though buyers might line up for certain types of homes, and homes in good condition in decent areas, a house won’t sell fast and for top dollar if it isn’t marketed properly.
Buyers search online. Gone are the days of looking in newspapers and magazines for houses for sale. Proper marketing now requires extensive (and creative) online marketing. Online marketing should include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and as many other social media sites as possible. Blog posts and single property websites are also effective marketing tools. The REALTOR® listing a house for sale in Maryland needs to use a tremendous number of marketing strategies to help sell a house fast.
While it is the listing agent’s responsibility to market a house for sale, it’s the seller who bears the responsibility of giving that REALTOR® something to work with. Avoiding these TOP 12 MISTAKES gives home owners the best chance of selling their house fast.
BONUS TIP TO SELL A HOUSE FAST!
When buyers drive by or approach a house for sale, their first impression is formed by what they see on the outside. What buyers see on the outside must be compelling enough to make them want to see what’s on the inside. Houses with neat, freshly- cut lawns and colorful, manicured landscaping will grab a buyer’s attention. Power washed sidewalks and siding also add to those great first impressions. Updated or newly painted front doors and clean windows can also add to the overall exterior appeal. The bottom line is, houses with inviting curb appeal tend to sell faster.
The Bottom Line… Why Don’t Some Houses Sell Fast in Maryland?
Homeowners only have one chance for their house to make a good impression on buyers. The basics of getting a house ready to put on the market for sale are no longer choices, they are necessities. Houses that are ready and priced right will sell faster. The rest? They take a lot longer to sell, and often sell for less.
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