Selling a home can be a ton of hard work, stress, and pressure. And if that home doesn't sell or even get any offers soon after hitting the market that pressure can build.
This is how it felt to us at least when we put our first home on the market at the start of 2010. The longer the home sat on the market, the more the figurative nooses around our necks seemed to tighten. Eventually, our home was on the market for over 500 days before it sold, and I think there were several critical reasons why.
Initial Asking Price
The longer we're home owners, and the more we learn and understand about real estate and buying and selling homes, the more we begin to realize that the initial asking price for our home was probably the main factor in having our home stagnate on the market for so long. Having bought in 2008 for just under $300,000, putting the home back on the market in 2010 for $310,000 probably wasn't the best idea. Being first time home sellers though and listening to the advice of our real estate agent, we went ahead and did it, leaving us overpriced in what was one of the worst US real estate markets in history.
Not a good start to our first home sale.
Mistakes in Staging and Upgrades
We put a significant amount of money into staging and upgrading our home for sale. New paint, new blinds and window treatments, tile flooring repairs, new kitchen cabinet paint and hardware, a new garage roof, and a new back porch awning were some of the more major adjustments we made.
However, we made one fatal flaw, and that was not updating the kitchen beyond just the cabinetry. Stainless steel appliances and granite countertops would have made this space (the first space prospective buyers entered into) pop, and would likely have recouped us the price of the renovations when we sold and cut months off our home's time on the market.
Not Changing Agents
We made several mistakes when it came to our listing agent. First off, the agent was a family friend, which made it more difficult to consider dropping her. Secondly, we were concerned about the opportunity cost of making a Realtor change. We feared that the time we were off the market would have us missing out on potential opportunities. And finally, we weren't sure another agent could do anything different than our current agent was, so we stuck with her. Unfortunately, I think it might have been worth a shot to change, but as time when on, it became harder for us to know when to pull the trigger. It became a situation of, "Well, we've stuck with her this long. We might as well ride it out", which I think was the wrong attitude.
Wrong Type of Advertising
It's not that our home wasn't advertised. It was. We were on the Internet, in featured home mailers and fliers, and similar promotional items. However, one area in which I feel our home was hurt in marketing was in our description.
We were promoting our home, but not the area in which the home was located. This left a focus off things like the community center and pool being only blocks away, the middle school two blocks the other way and similar features that people look for beyond just a home. Had we touted this information rather than "fresh paint throughout" or "new window treatments", I think our home may have sold faster.
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The author is not a licensed financial or real estate professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or real estate advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.