10 Likely Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling



So you've listed your home for sale and after multiple showings it just isn't selling. Or worst yet, you have had no showings at all. That means it's time to make some changes especially if your home was on the market and the listing has expired with no sale.

The average number of days on the market varies in South Central Kentucky. Just look at the data below. As of the beginning of the first quarter in 2020, the median DOM (Days on the Market) for residential property in each county in our market is as follows:

Allen County: 102
Barren County: 84
Butler County: 39
Edmonson County: 81
Logan County:74
Muhlenberg County: 107
Simpson County: 80
Warren County: 81

In general, a home is going to sell for the most amount of money in the first 30 days.

Buyers today are more savvy than in the past thanks to today's technology. 44% of today's buyers look online first for homes they are interested in before they call a real estate agent. More buyers are looking at comparable homes and the longer a home sits on the market they tend to ask "What's wrong with it?"

The longer a listing sits on the market, the more the sale price will fall. So for every day, week or month your home sits on the market, it is statistically going to sell for less than listing price. But don't lose hope! Don't stress about it! Making a few changes will bring your home back to buyer's attention.

Here are 10 likely reasons your home isn't selling.

1. Pricing

When it comes to a home not selling, if it isn't condition of the home or condition of the market, it is price. Pricing your home incorrectly is the biggest mistake many home sellers make. Removing your emotional attachment to the home and realizing that buyers set the market through what they are willing to pay, will help you to not over price your home. Your agent, is there to guide you and will help you set the price according to many variables. Setting your home price is not as easy as "I think it will sell for this". A thorough look at what has sold in the last 6 months, what is currently on the market, looking at other expired listings, your home's condition and location all play a factor in pricing strategy. 

So, what do you do if your home is priced too high? Consult your agent about a change in the price. When your home is being shown, your agent or the buyer's agent should provide feedback in regards to what may be a reason their buyer didn't make an offer. If it's price, consider a price drop. If your home is listed and you have had no showings and no offers within the first 3 weeks, a price improvement will help your home sell. 

For example: If your home is priced at $155,000 and the client hit count (ask your agent to get this data for you) is 10 and your home had 2 showings and no offers, then that means you may need to reconsider your pricing strategy. Lowering your price to $149,977 will likely reach more buyers whose budget is under $150,000. Your client hit count will increase. If condition is not a factor and location is not a factor, you should see an increase in showings and more likely to receive a fair offer. 

On a side note, when considering a price improvement, really make it an improvement! Don't be a $1,000 drop each week for 5 weeks to get to that $150,000 mark. You would be missing out on 5 weeks worth of potential buyer pool!  By then, those would be buyers, have already found another home that fit their budget. And if other homes in your neighborhood are selling and yours is not, those would be buyers might have just bought your neighbor's home instead. 

2. Listing Photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If your listing photos elicit an "I have no words for that kitchen." then you are losing potential buyers. High quality High Dynamic Range photos that show your home at it's best makes all the difference in how your home is perceived by would be buyers. Did your agent take photos with their phone? If so, it may be time to find a new agent or hire a photographer to take your listing photos. As a listing agent myself, I include HDR photos as well as 360 degree HDR virtual tours of listings. Buyers love being able to walk through your home without having to leave the comfort of their own home. If your home fits their requirements and is appealing to the buyer, they will schedule an appointment for a private showing. 

Unique photo requirements. Does your home sit on a lake or situated with a perfect view of hole 9 at a golf course? Do you have more than 2 acres of land that is part of the sale? Aerial photos will improve buyers perception of your home's value. I, as a licensed drone pilot, ensure that if your property needs unique photo perspectives, it will be done. Specialty buyers want to see where you home sits in proximity to the dock on the lake. What views will they get of hole 9 from your home's backyard? 

Not all homes will need aerial photographs. But, in today's tech savvy world, I believe a true virtual walk though tour (not just photos made into a video tour) increase buyer's desire to schedule a showing. Recently, I had a listing in a hard to sell area (small remote town) that drew the attention of buyers from Tennessee because they went to the virtual walk through tour and decided they wanted a private tour. Less than 30 minutes into the showing, they made a full price offer. They had already known it would fit their needs, it fit their budget, they liked the layout. Their private showing confirmed this was the home for them. 

So, take a look at your listing photos? What message are they conveying? Are they dark, blurry, out of frame or look like they were taken with a phone camera? If so, it's time to rethink your photos. Opening windows, blinds, timing of day can draw in the natural light and brighten your photos. Do your photos use the latest technology of HDR or 4K? Do you need 360 or aerial? Talk to your agent, they will know what photo strategy will work best for you home. 

3. Listing Description

I've looked at many expired listings and can say that many times the photos are great, the pricing is right, but the description fell flat. Your description needs to appeal to buyers. Give your buyers a mental picture of what it is like to live in your home. Do you have picturesque views of rolling hills in your backyard? Is your home situated on a quiet cul du sac? Is your master bedroom just a bedroom or an en suite?  Let's take a look at a listing description of a recently expired listing. 

This property is located in the highly desired South Warren County area. It is a 4 bedroom 3 bath 2,145 square foot home. Listing price was $174,900 and the current market value is approximately $190,000. The agent did adjust the price down to accommodate for the house needing updates. However, the listing expired. Priced right - CHECK! Location - CHECK! Appropriate photos - CHECK! And here is the description...

"4Bed. 3 Bath, Great location. Home needs updating."

I just cannot make this stuff up people. Truth is, in my professional opinion, that description did more than fall flat. To fall, you must be in an upright position. This description didn't even get off the ground. The very beginning stages and buyers are already going to be looking at what it NEEDS done to it rather than what it HAS to offer.

I drove by this property to get a feel for the area and how the house was situated. The home was appropriately landscaped with a winding walkway to the front door lined with green monkey grass and yellow day lilies. The driveway is paved. The front yard was lush green carpet of grass with mature shade trees. It's curb appeal...as I would say CHECK! So how could this description be worked into an more appealing ad to buyers? How about this...

This spacious 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath 2145 square foot home situated on beautifully landscaped mature tree lined 0.39 acres in the highly sought after South Warren County area awaits your refreshing vision. Priced 8% below market! Don't miss out on the opportunity to own this gem! Call to schedule your private showing today! 

See how we took out needs updating? Those are negative words. We can use more positive words to reflect that there are some necessary updates without giving the buyer an immediate "no" vibe. Refreshing vision simply conveys that it will need a new look without giving it a negative connotation upfront. 

When I work with sellers I ask several questions to help me construct an appealing description. Often times the sellers will know more about the area. For example: What prompted you to purchase the house yourself years ago? If they say "We liked that it was close to the school and park. But we are empty nesters now and that is not a necessity for us." Well, right there is a key element to what first time home buyers or a family looking to upgrade will be looking for! 

So, take a look at your description. Was it appealing? If not, ask your agent to revitalize the listing description. If it was, and your home is priced right, and the photos are great, there may be other reasons your home has not sold. Let's take a look at a few other reasons to consider. 

4. Property Condition

In Kentucky, you are required by law to notify potential buyers of repair issues. This is done through the Sellers Disclosure. The same holds true even for those repairs you didn't know you needed. Once you have accepted an offer, the buyer is going to hire a home inspector. The home inspection can take up to 3 hours or greater depending on the size of your home. The home inspector is trained to look for any number of repair or maintenance issues. The buyer will then ask that you either make those repairs or take a lower offer due to the repairs needed. 

In some instances, a buyer may be working with an FHA or USDA loan. Those loan types have a more stringent requirements for approval. If your home needs significant repairs and you elect not to fix those issues, FHA or USDA may require them to be completed before the sale can close. If you are adamant about selling your home AS IS with no expectation of repairs, then be prepared to lower your price to accommodate for such repairs and ask your agent to specify to other agents the transaction will need to be a cash only sale. But remember, doing so will limit your buyer pool. Especially if your home is in the price range of a sellers market. You don't want to be the lone wolf who couldn't sell their home because you were not willing to address issues with the home. 

Not every problem is a money sucker. Some minor repairs to take a look at for your home that you may not notice yourself but you can be sure a buyer will, and some that will hold up the appraisal are:

Loose doorknobs or hinges, burnt out lights, dripping faucets, peeling paint, caulking around windows, replacing worn out vapor barrier under the house.  

Additionally, as a buyer's representative, I have come across many homes that have open or damaged junction boxes in the attic or basement. Often those get missed by a homeowner because those are the least visited areas. Other electrical issues to look at are the panel. 100amps is recommended for most homes though some require 200 amps. Having yours inspected by an electrician will help determine if yours may be out of date and in need of an update. More simpler electrical issues that get missed by sellers are simple fixes such as a faulty switch, face plate cover cracked, broken or missing on plugs or switches. The most often noted item in need of an update in home inspections, as well as appraiser reports, are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) plugs missing. If you have plugs near a water source such as the washer, kitchen sink or bathroom sink, replacing standard plugs with GFCI will ensure to the buyer that any water getting in the plug area will trip the circuit and cut off all electricity to it to minimize electrical fire hazards. Additionally, this will help your home be more loan friendly as FHA and USDA will often ask for those to be replaced. Not all plugs need to be replaced. For example you may have 3 plugs in your kitchen. One of those plugs controls all the others. So a GFCI on the lead plug will trip others if there is a problem. Always consult a licensed electrician when in doubt. 

Other minor fixes that can improve the appeal of your home to buyers is to give your walls a fresh coat of paint. You may love red in your kitchen, but buyers today are looking for neutral colors. If your carpet is 5-7 years old, replace it. If you are lucky enough to have hardwood floors under the carpet, remove the carpet and give the hardwoods a fresh refinish. Today's buyers desire hardwood floors over carpet. I hear it very often "The carpet needs to go. I wonder if there is hardwood under the carpet?"  And if there is a snag in a corner somewhere, they may attempt to pull it up and see for themselves. 

Update your curb appeal. If buyers pull up to your home and the lawn is in dire need of mowing or the shrubs block the view from the bay window, they already have a feel that your home is not maintained. Trim shrubs, consider adding a few planted flowers where you can and mow the lawn. If your gutters are moldy or a downspout needs replaced, replace the downspout and pressure wash your gutters or paint them if needed. If they are faulty, consider that in your pricing or be prepared to fix them. While we are talking about downspouts, be sure to put in downspout extenders or a splash block to divert water away from the foundation. Clean your gutters thoroughly before listing your home. Trim any tree limbs that may touch the roof or side of your home. Paint or replace any shutters. You can paint your shutters for under $30.00 and a fresh paint job on your gutters and a pressure washing on your house can improve the curb appeal. 

Bathroom or kitchen in need of an update? Some simple updates that won't break the bank can give your kitchen or bathroom a refreshed look without the expense of a complete update. Paint the walls and/or cabinets to give an updated look. Change hardware on cabinet doors and drawers. Change the fixtures such as faucets. If your light was put in when the house was built in 1985, it's time to change the lighting. Make sure both of these rooms are kept clean. Clean the grout, repair any cracked or damaged tile or laminate. Remember: kitchens and baths are the two most important areas of a home that buyers notice first. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to look for, but rather the most common items found in a home inspection and appraisals that can hold up the closing of your home sale. Solving these problems before you list will help speed along the closing when you do get an offer on your home. 

Ask your agent to walk through your home and indicate areas that might need addressed. 

5. Not Loan Friendly

As noted above, if your home is not loan friendly due to repairs or other issues that affect the home financing capability, your home will sit on the market longer and may need a cash only buyer. For example: Fannie Mae has set guidelines that mortgage companies are required to adhere to when lending on a home. If your foundation was put in the year the home was built and has had no updates or doesn't meet today's standards, it could be a hindrance to lending. Old pier and post foundation? Crawl space less than 24" in height? Manufactured home not on a permanent foundation? These issues would need addressed to make your home more loan friendly. 

6. Staged Not To Sell

Not all homes need an expensive staging to appeal to buyers. Often times your current furniture can be re-positioned in a way to appeal to buyers. Simply removing an old table that is worn and has scratches can change the way a buyer perceives your home. Remember that less is more. Buyers want a home to feel large but yet inviting. Open drapes or blinds and allow as much light into a room as necessary. Your mahogany coffee table may be beautiful, but give it some flair with a pop of color and coordinate with decorative pillows on your sofa. 

According to a study by the National Association of REALTORS a staged home will sell 87% faster and for 17% more than a non-staged home. Vacant homes don't provide a buyer with a reflection of the home's full potential. So your bedroom is large enough for a queen size bed, 2 end tables and a dresser? Great! Let's show them that! Empty rooms can feel smaller. 

Does that mean you HAVE to stage? Not necessarily. Some vacant homes will sell due to other factors where staging would not matter. Others may need a simple staging to give it a feel of home without great expense. 

Staging a home can cost anywhere from $250 and up depending on the size of the room, how many rooms you want staged, if you are using your own furniture and just getting accessories, and several other factors. Your agent can help you determine if your home needs staged and can refer you to a trusted staging expert.

7. Marketing

Marketing your home correctly is key to getting your home sold. The more exposure your home has, the more buyer pool that is reached. Ask your agent about their marketing strategy for your home. If they don't have a specific plan, it may be time for a new agent. 

In today's market online presence is imperative. Utilizing social media and specialty websites to spread the word about your home is important. Even exposure in the MLS system is valuable. What do I mean by that? In the South Central Kentucky market there are approximately 700 active agents. Does your current agent have multiple MLS exposure or are you marketing to the same 700 agents as Joe Seller down the street? I, personally, made a choice to switch brokerage firms last year in order to increase my marketing reach for my seller clients. I belong to 2 REALTOR associations and our firm has cooperative agreements with 3 additional associations in the state of Kentucky.  What does that mean to you? It means that listing with our firm your home is exposed from South Central Indiana to North Central Tennessee and East to Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati and Lexington Regions. Approximately 6,000 agents are exposed to your listing. 

Does your home require a specialty site? Perhaps? Is it on 6 acres and can be considered a mini farm? Is it lake or golf community property? Is it in a resort community? Then, yes, specialty website presence would increase your exposure. Last year I had buyers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan and Colorado look at a listing on Barren River Lake because the home was listed on lakehomes.com. Ask your agent if they do specialty website listing.

And while we are on the subject of specialty marketing, does your home qualify for a various use home? What does that mean? It means could your home have many uses other than just a primary residence? For example: You own a lake home and it is your primary residence. That's great!  But that home could also be used as a second home (vacation property) or as an investment home (think AirBNB). So your home, as you see it, is just a home to live in. Where your agent needs to be able to look past it's current use and see what the potential use is for that home. Are they marketing to second home buyers? Are they marketing to investors? Can they provide potential buyers with data necessary to use it differently? If someone wants to use it as a second home and short term rental it when they are not using it, does your agent know the regulations? Can they provide nightly, weekly and seasonal rates for an investor looking to just rent out that lake house? As a Certified Resort and Second Property specialist, I make it a point to include this information to all buyers and their agent and in marketing advertisement to reach a broader audience. 

Social media plays a big role. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram are the most visited social websites. Marketing your home for sale on these sites is imperative to reaching local buyers. Targeting Markeplaces and local buy/sell groups improves your home's visibility. 

I have reviewed many expired listings and often come upon an agent may have posted the home on their own business page but never boosted it as a paid advertisement or put it on marketplace or in groups. Worst yet, the seller approved a price drop and the agent never posted a price improvement on their own page. How are Joe and Betty Buyer supposed to know the price dropped if it isn't advertised? 

As a seller, I believe you should know what you are paying for when you hand over that commission check at closing. Ask your agent how they intend to market your home. If they don't have a diverse marketing strategy with a social media plan in place, it's probably time to consider a new agent. 

8. Market Conditions

Current market conditions play a role in your home's ability to be sold in a timely manner. Pricing your home accordingly will determine how long your home sits on the market. Remember buyers set the market prices. Your agent does not and neither do sellers. I once reviewed an expired listing that was priced $700,000 above what other homes in the same neighborhood had sold for in the 6 months prior to the home being listed. A savvy agent will be able to tell you if your pricing is ambitious compared to what the market demands or not. If they are not willing to have an honest, up front, open conversation about the true market price for your home, I feel they are doing you a disservice. This only sets you up for high expectations when the reality is, your home will not sell and will bring on feelings of disappointment. 

Your agent will look at current market conditions and will be able to tell you if your home and its current market value are situated in a seller's market or a buyer's market. But wait!  You say. I thought we were in a seller's market? That is not necessarily true. For example: 15 homes sold in Simpson County in the month of December 2019. Of those homes 100% were priced under $199,000 on average. The same held true for the month of November 2019 where 25 homes sold and those sold were under $199,000 on average. So that means that homes priced under $199,000 are still in high demand (seller's market) those homes priced higher are still waiting for the right buyer to come along (buyer's market).

I hear this often as well, "We had the house appraised and it came in at $xxx,xxx." Yes, that may be true that your home is appraised at a higher value. However, that is not to say that buyers are willing to pay that price for your home. As a seller, expect buyers to come in with any offers less than what your appraised value may be. Remember, you as the seller are wanting to make the most money off of your home, but buyers are looking for the most home for the least amount of money. Be willing to negotiate as needed to get your home sold. And that may mean letting go of the "it's worth more" mentality. You have an emotional attachment to the home so it is natural to feel it is worth more. It's where you raised your kids. It holds memories. That means a lot to you. But, the buyers don't take that into consideration when they make an offer.

Ask your agent what the current market conditions are for your particular home. After they have run a thorough comparative market analysis for your home, they will be able to help you design a pricing strategy most appropriate for your home and to tell you if patience will be key. If your home is priced in a buyers market range, be patient. If your home is priced in the sellers market range and all other factors are good (photos, description, condition, etc) your home should sell within the market absorption time. 

What? What is absorption time? Your agent should discuss with you the current "absorption rate" in your market. This would mean how many months of inventory are on the market currently. If the current market shows an inventory level of 6.1 months (As Simpson County does at this time) that means it will take approximately 6 months for your home to be absorbed (sold) in the current market. Having the right marketing plan in place and all other factors discussed in this article in line, will help your home absorb into the market faster. 

Think about it. If you spill something, you want a great paper towel that will absorb the spill quicker. So you need to be working with an agent that can position your home to sell (absorb) quicker in the market. Your agent is your paper towel in the real estate market. 

9. Communication

After a showing your agent should receive feedback from the agent that showed the property or from any prospective buyers they have shown the home to. Not all agents will provide feedback. But for those that do, your agent should be discussing this feedback with you. What is the recurring comments made on the property? Can those issues be addressed and improve the marketability of your home? If so, are you willing to address those issues? If so, once addressed, is your agent going back to those buyers or other agents and informing them the issues have been addressed? You can't fix what you don't know needs fixed. 

An absent agent is a sure sign they are not making your home a priority. If you have reached out to your agent and not had a response in several days. It may be time to have a heart to heart with them about your communication expectations. Yes, agents get busy. Yes, we have multiple clients. However, a short text informing you they got your message and will get back with you by tomorrow afternoon or later that day doesn't take much effort. 

10. Complacency

Complacency contributes to lack of a home selling as well. So who is complacent? Often agents can become complacent. They get comfortable with how things have worked for them in the past. They may feel they have been in the business so long that their name alone can get a home sold. Simply putting a sign up in the yard should suffice. Right? Simply putting it on the MLS and give it a kiss for good luck should be enough. Right?  Well, truth is, it is not enough. It takes more than that to get a home sold. So how do you know if your home listing expired due to complacency? Ask your agent how they have marketed your property. If complacency is a factor, it may be time to find a new agent.


Not an exhaustive list but there you go! The 10 likely reasons your home isn't selling. When in doubt, get a second opinion! Ask another REALTOR to review your listing and uncover factors that may have played a role in your home not selling.

If you have listed your South Central Kentucky home for sale and your listing has expired with no sale, before you re-list your property, sign up below for your Complimentary Expired Listing Analysis! That's right! It's FREE baby!  And you are under no obligation to list your property with me. Just one of the services I provide to sellers in the South Central Kentucky region. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Sign up and get your FREE audit! 


Comments