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For Sale by Owner Articles • - Home Selling Tips

When It Won't Sell

By Robert Irwin
I recently received an email from a reader who claimed she had done all the right things to sell "by owner." Yet her home still hadn't received an offer in a month. She said she had a sign on the property, a flyer box on the sign, and she had listed it on the Internet.
"Why won't it sell?," She lamented. "Why don't I even have any lookers coming through?"
I'm sure it was very frustrating for her, particularly when we read almost daily in the newspapers about housing shortages and incredible price appreciation in most areas. However, sometimes homes just don't sell. Here are three things to do when yours won't sell:
Reconsider The Price - The number one reason that properties don't sell, both those listed with agents and those offered "by owners" is that they're priced too high.
Remember, that what you want to get for your home and what the market says it's worth can be two different things. It doesn't matter if you have a big mortgage, spent a ton of money on remodeling, and heard a neighbor say they got a zillion dollars for their property. If the market says your house is worth less than you're asking, then it is. A good way to check value is to do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). You'll find out what similar nearby homes have recently sold for. From there you can derive a price for yours. You can get recent sales prices from any agent, who will be happy to do a CMA for you in the hopes of eventually getting a listing. Many online companies also provide this service including Electronic Appraiser.
Another thing to consider is that buyers are looking for bargains from "by owner" sellers. So why not give them one? If you're saving 6 percent or so on the commission, why not spread the wealth around in the form of a couple of percent off market price? That way your home will be selling for less than a neighbor's similar, but listed property. It's a good way to start traffic flowing.
Check The Curb Appeal? Appearance, if not everything, is a lot when it comes to selling a home. What are buyer's first impressions? Have you repainted the front of your home? Have you mowed the lawns and upgraded the front landscaping? Is the driveway clean? What about removing distracting rubbish even including children's toys?
Remember, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression. If you see cars come up to your home, pause in front, and then speed away, chances are your property is suffering from poor curb appeal.
If you're not sure what to do, ask neighbors and friends to honestly tell you what they think of the front of your home. Once they're not worried about offending you, they may give you valuable insight into correctable drawbacks your property may have, drawbacks you may be totally unaware of.
Reevaluate Your Marketing - Do you have lots of pictures on your website? Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Are you running small ads in the local paper? (Size doesn't matter when you can say, "By Owner!") Have you put notices up on local bulletin boards? Have you invited neighbors (who might know buyers) in to see your home? Are you offering to co-broke (pay half a commission) to an agent who brings in a buyer?
Are you really doing everything possible?
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
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.
He can be reached through his website

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