The question we’re asked at ListingDoor so many times is “Why won’t my house sell?” These are mostly folks who hired real estate agent and were disappointed, and are ready to try something different. What we tell them – and all homeowners we talk to – there are three big reasons their house won’t sell. The mistakes have to do with pricing, their home’s condition, and marketing.

Pricing

Agents don’t always accurately determine selling price. They’ll come up with a price – sometimes an arbitrary price – that isn’t realistic, sometimes just to get your listing. This does damage on three fronts: Buyers are going to run from pricing that is unrealistically high. The other thing that can happen is that it “puts blood in the water” for the sharks waiting for you to lower your price. Pricing your home too high also gives your neighbors a powerful advantage. It helps them sell their home at a fair price.

Even if your home is a beautiful, desirable property, buyers won’t come to look at it if they think the price is unreasonably high. They’ll wait for the reduction you’ll inevitably make so that you can get it sold. In the meantime, you’ll end up with what’s known in the real estate industry as a “stale home.” Your home is anything but stale, so don’t price it to seem so!

Another mistake is pricing your home based on active homes. Not smart. Your home should always be priced on sold homes. If there’s less inventory (homes on the market) then you can push your pricing a little higher. If there’s an inventory glut, you should adjust to the market and go about 1 or 2 percent below.

Your Home’s Condition

Three words reflect how your house should look when you put it on the market: neat, clean, and uncluttered. Notice we didn’t say “have fabulous features and updates,” or “be in an upscale neighborhood.” Clean and tidy trumps most other features. This is good news for sellers. A little elbow grease and attention to small details costs virtually nothing. A remodeling job usually costs thousands.

Here’s a short list of how to get your house in showing shape (Hint: It’s also a good time to take those pictures that will go on your website, flyers, social media, and yard sign):

• Clean up all clutter. This is the most important thing you can do.
• Have good lighting. Open the drapes, turn on lamps, and make sure all bulbs are working.
• Turn off ceiling fans. They can make weird blurs in some photos.
• Put away all personal items in the bathroom.
• Take everything off your counters, take the magnets off your fridge, and hide the pet bowls. Hide the pets, too.
• If you have workout equipment in the living room, remove it!
• If you have young children, their stuff is probably everywhere. High chairs, baby gates and other big baby gear needs to be stowed away.
• Trim the trees, mow the lawn, and blow away the fallen leaves. Put away the garden
hoses, trash/recycling cans, and hide the sign for your security company. Move cars if parked in front of the house.
• Clean the pool if you have one. Make sure there are no toys lying around.
• If you have anything overtly political or seasonal in plain view, put it away.
• Give the inside of your home a good deep cleaning: floors, carpets, windows … the works.

Marketing

Listing a home on MLS isn’t marketing. Know this to be true. All that’s doing is letting agents know that your home is for sale. Do it and be prepared to be flooded with calls from realtors wanting to list your home. With 94 percent of all homes being found on the Internet, let’s face it, MLS’s outdated features compared to other listing websites is like marketing in the Dinosaur Age while living in the Technology Age.

Buyers and sellers are using Zillow, the largest, most viewed real estate portal. That’s a good thing. But it also means you’ve got to package your home to stand out from the crowd. When buyers browse Zillow, they’re not going to call and visit every home that fits their search criteria. They’re going to narrow down their picks to about 40 homes. Then they’re going to narrow those down to about five homes. These five homes are the ones they’re going to visit. Most buyers look at five homes or less before making their decision.

Here’s a secret about the difference between using an agent and selling your home yourself: real estate agents are still in the Dinosaur Age, just like their MLS. Modern marketing methods are critical. Without them, your home will not stand out and make the top five.

It takes modern marketing techniques to get buyers to come to your door. If you think a house is just a house, look at what Mike Lindell, the inventor of a pillow design, did with My Pillow. Mike isn’t selling a square piece of stuffed cloth that you put you head on at night. He’s selling better sleep! His pillow, which has a patented supportive fill that adjusts to your body and supports you through your sleep, has won awards for the most comfortable pillow. Mike’s My Pillow is on the map.

Likewise, you’re not selling a home; You’re selling a lifestyle. You’re selling pride, comfort, good times that build memories. Keep that in mind as you put together your marketing materials.

The other thing that Mike did to make his pillow a sales sensation was he sold it direct, without the middleman. That’s what you’re doing. You’re cutting out the agent and selling directly to your buyers. You know your home better than any top agent. That’s why you’re going to sell it faster, for your asking price.

Our goal at ListingDoor is to help you be a successful seller like Mike. We’re going to help you wrap up that house like a package, put a big bow on it, and let buyers come unwrap the gem inside.