We are in a red hot seller’s market here in the greater Boston area. Inventory is low and market times are blazing fast. Yet you might be left wondering why some houses sell so fast why others linger on the market forever.
First let me start off by saying you only hear about the real estate success stories, not the real estate stories that have gone bad. Seriously, when is the last time you heard someone bragging that their house has been on the market for 6 months with out an offer around the water cooler? Probably NEVER! A home seller certainly does not want to talk about maybe some bad choices they made.
In this very hot sellers market you are going to hear a tons of stories of homes that have sold in one day with multiple offers over asking. And, that is certainly a great place to be in for a home seller…. and it is certainly happening all over the greater Boston area as well as many parts of the country.
HOW LONG ARE HOMES TAKING TO SELL?
Let’s take a look at the Haverhill MA Real Estate Market. In the past 6 months, it took an average of 35 days for a 459 homes to get an offer. That is the average days to an accepted offer. You should expect your home to be on the market for 35 days to get an offer if properly priced and prepared for the market.
Here are the data points of how fast home sold in Haverhill MA for the prior 6 months. We are looking at the time it took a house to receive an offer. Figure on another 30-60 days to actually close and show as sold.
- First Day- 14 Homes
- 1-10 days- 211 Homes
- 20-30 days- 124 Homes
- 30-60 days- 65 Homes
- 60-90 days- 24 homes
- 90-120 days- 24 homes
Furthermore, 53 homes expired unsold after 204 days on the market in the same time period. Approx. 11.5% of the homes on the market expired unsold. In slower markets expect that number to reach as much as 30%. There were also 190 homes in Haverhill that experienced 260 price changes in that 6 month period.
So while more than half the homes signed an offer in under 30 days, there are still a fair amount of homes that languished on the market.
Today, you should definitely expect to get an offer on your home in 2-4 weeks on the market. If it has not gotten an offer it is time to sit back and determine why!
WHY DO SOME HOMES LANGUISH ON THE MARKET UNSOLD?
I have been doing residential real estate for over 15 years. I can tell you every house is saleable. A good listing agent can help get most homes sold fast and for top dollar in any market.
Lets take a look at some of the top reasons your house may be languishing on the market without receiving an offer.
YOUR HOME IS OVER PRICED
This is probably the single biggest reason why your home is not selling. Overpricing your home even a little can have long lasting effects that will make your home languish on the market.
Of course you want to get the most for your home but your home is going to sell for what a group of buyers is willing to pay for it. Price your home based on fair market value determined through comparables home that have sold in your market.
Be realistic about your homes flaws. It may have the square footage of other homes, but is there a flaw in the layout or location? Are you trying to compare a 1960’s colonial to one built in 2014? Pricing a home is not merely about square footage their are many other factors to be considered.
YOU CHOSE THE WRONG LISTING AGENT
There are a bunch of reason why home sellers choose the wrong listing agent. We will discuss the top two.
You chose the wrong listing agent. Your choice was based soley on the fact the agent gave you the highest price they could sell your house for. You failed to look at your homes comparables and the strength of the agents marketing plan. The agent told you what you wanted to hear, not the hard truth. This is a practice called buying a listing, where an agent over inflates the suggested list price of your home to get you to sign the contract.
The second reason is the home seller will enlist a family member or friend to list their home. Real estate is a serious business with a lot of money at stake for everyone. Hire the best agent for the job and that agent may not be a family member or friend.
When it comes time to hire a real estate agent hire the agent with the best marketing plan, market information and reputation…. not the agent that gives you the highest number for your house.
FAILURE TO PREPARE YOUR HOME
Yes it is a hot sellers market, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on properly preparing your home for the market. Many of the homes that have sold very quickly have taken weeks and even months to prepare their homes and are in tip top showing shape.
Ignore preparing and staging your home and it will turn off buyers. Basics start with a good cleaning, de-cluttering and depersonalization of your home. Realize many good listing agents are also offering home staging services to their sellers and your home maybe competing with professionally staged homes.
Before listing your home do the necessary repairs. Today’s buyers are spending so much on a home they don’t want to be saddled with thousands of dollars of repairs shortly after moving in.
NOT MAKING YOUR HOME AVAILABLE
I have said it before and I will say it again. Showing your home is inconvenient. But, you need to make your house available and if possible show in a minutes notice.
Remember a buyer’s schedule may not match your schedule. Home buyer’s have job’s lives and families they need to work around to be available for showings. Be as accommodating as you possibly can. You have to show your home to sell it.
FAILURE TO PROVIDE TOP NOTCH REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY
The days of snapping a few photos with a point and shoot camera or a cell phone and sticking them in the MLS are over. The Multiple Listing Service is filled with real estate photos professionally taken or from agents that have invested in equipment and education to provide professional results.
Failure to provide top notch photos is going to put you at a disadvantage over the competition. Home buyers now are making so many decisions online before ever stepping into your home.
Remain flexible and sit back and think before making decisions. It is easy for a seller to get cocky in a seller’s market. But as an agent I can tell you if you dig in your heels over $500 or a $1000 dollars in price negotiations or buyer’s home inspection repair requests, you will probably regret it down the road.
As a rule of thumb your first offers are generally your best offers. These are the home buyers that are educated about the market and have felt some pain. They are ready to buy.
Remove the emotion and carefully consider the scenarios.
LAST THOUGHTS ON WHY DO SOME HOMES LANGUISH ON THE MARKET
These 6 reasons why your house is languishing on the market ultimately falls back on you and/or your agent. As a listing agent sometimes we have to deliver cold hard truths. While you may not want to hear it your listing agent owes you honesty.
I deliver harsh news to my seller clients all the time. Maybe they are unrealistic about price, maybe they aren’t cleaning up their house, maybe they are not allowing showings to happen but it is a listing agents job to keep it on track. They owe you that.
So as a home seller did you hire a yes man or woman as your agent? Did you hire them because they agreed with everything you said because they just wanted a listing? Or worse yet, did they counsel you properly and you ignored their advice?
Honest, open communication is key between a home seller and a listing agent. You need to have an agent that isn’t scared to tell you the truth and will back up what they say with data. When you meet with agents feel out how they are at communicating and presenting all the facets that go into selling your home.
Believe it or not even in a sellers market just sticking a sign in the ground isn’t good enough anymore to get your house sold. Over the years I have taken many expired listings. Home that have not sold while being on the market for many months with another agent. I repackage the listing….. lots of time some preparation was ignored, we review pricing and I present top notch real estate photos and go on to sell that very same house in weeks after it sat around unsold.
Make sure the agent you hire has a solid marketing plan, good communication, accurate data and a good reputation and avoid your home languishing on the market unsold.