By Robert Irwin
A big fear in the backs of the minds of most people considering selling "by owner" is what to do if your home doesn't sell? What if you list it with yourself and, despite working hard, you simply can't find a buyer?
A positive attitude is best - think what if it does sell? However, even if it doesn't, it's hardly the end of the world. Here are the 5 big reasons your home might not sell and what to do about them. Sometimes it helps to check these out even before your home on the market.
THE BIG 5
Price is too high
Bad marketing - not taking advantage of the Internet
Resale market is bad.
Location is poor.
House shows badly.
YOUR PRICE IS TOO HIGH
Remember, your house isn't worth what you want or hope. It's worth what the market will bear. Perhaps you didn't do as good a job of checking comparables as you thought. Today's buyers become very attuned to what a house should sell for. If your home is even a few thousand over market price, they may shun it and not make offers. Go back and recheck the comps. Try being even more scrupulous this time.
A house is not a better mousetrap. People won't line up to beat a path to your door just because you put a sign out. You have to advertise, list online providing pictures and details... in other words get the word out. Until people know your home is for sale, they can't buy it.
RESALE MARKET IS BAD
Currently real estate has regions where prices are weak, and other areas where the market is stable or even still declining. Analyze your area. Are any homes selling, even agents' listings? If the market's bad, it may simply take longer to sell "by owner." Try again.
YOUR HOME'S LOCATION IS POOR
This can be tough to accept. A corner lot is often a detraction because you have traffic on two sides and a smaller back yard. High crime areas, bad schools, noisy neighbors all can take away from your house. Do an honest-man analysis of your neighborhood. If there's a bad feature, you might need to rethink your price.
YOUR HOUSE SHOWS BADLY
Don't accept your own opinion. Get the advice of experts-- Contact two or three agents. Tell them that you've had trouble selling and ask if there's a problem with the house. They'll be happy to help in the hopes of eventually getting a listing. Perhaps you've only one bath (a difficult sell), maybe you need new carpeting or paint. Do the work, or adjust the price.
If you've considered the five main reasons a property might not sell, have taken what corrective steps you can, and still your property doesn't sell, what now?
You can always list. But, an agent may not be able to any better than you, depending on the problem.
Take your home off the market. Sometimes a property gets stale after being "for sale" for a time. Try again after a month.
Rent it out. You might get enough money to cover your monthly payment and with new financing, and you may be able to buy another home for almost nothing down.
Do a "lease-option" - Here you give your tenants the option To buy, sometimes a way to both rent it and sell it. (Check out a good real estate book for details.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn. In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column forOwners.com.
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.