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The Top 7 Reasons Why Homes Don’t Sell

David Bartels

Meet David Bartels - Selected as one of America's Top 100 Real Estate Agents, he is among the Top 1% of of all agents nationwide and leader of the #1 ...

Meet David Bartels - Selected as one of America's Top 100 Real Estate Agents, he is among the Top 1% of of all agents nationwide and leader of the #1 ...

Feb 8 9 minutes read

Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty

The Top 7 Reasons Why Homes Don’t Sell

Plus some tips to avoid them!

by Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley on February 22

1) Hiring a family member or friend to sell your home, even if they’re not the best choice

More than ninety percent of all Realtors do the same thing - they put up a FOR SALE sign, enter the home on the MLS, promote the home on a bunch of websites, hold an open house, advertise ineffectively on social media, and make a brochure for the home... and pray they find a buyer.

It is possible that your friend or family real estate agent may get lucky and sell your home using these techniques, but the length of time for the sale will usually be much longer and the amount netted will be less.

1 in 95 California adults are licensed to practice real estate (so almost everyone knows someone licensed to sell real estate), but that does not make them experts at pricing, marketing and negotiating for the best results.

Solution – Interview prospective real estate agents and choose the one that gives you the most confidence by asking questions like:

● How many homes have you sold in this area, and on average, how long did it take?

● In what price range do you sell most of your homes?

● What do you think about the condition of my home, and what would you do, if anything, to sell it for the maximum price?

● What is your marketing plan for my house?

● What can I expect in terms of communications?

Click the link to download 8 questions to ask your real estate agent.

2) Looking at the home thru a Seller’s eyes instead of a Buyer’s eyes

With so many home search websites out there, many sellers and agents will look at the sites "guesstimates" and average them to get a price for their home. 

Other times they will look at previous sales and determine the price based on those things. 

The problem with these methods is that they are inconsistent.  Sometimes Zillow’s (or similar sites) estimates are too high, sometimes too low, and sometimes just right. Even Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, recently sold his home for forty percent less than Zillow’s Zestimate 

Solution – It is critical to look at what the current competition is for the subject property, what similar properties have recently sold, and what direction the market is heading. 

The most motivated buyers are looking at the market and inventory numerous times a day and know exactly what homes are selling for and all of the properties for sale. 

Always keep in mind, sellers are competing with individuals that not only want to sell but also HAVE TO SELL. 

Interviewing agents and finding one that is aware of all of these things will help get the home sold in the quickest time frame.

3) Not using video and professional photography

Buying a home is almost always based on an emotional experience and people tend to make the decision to purchase based on their feelings. They don’t generally select a house; they fall in love with one. 

So the objective is to generate enough emotion to entice prospective buyers to want to see your home in person. Regardless of how much your home sells for, a good photo can help to get a homebuyer through the door. 

Though this is obvious to most people, the average agent is incredibly cheap when it comes to spending money on marketing. Many will take the photos themselves on their iPhones, Androids, or their DSLR cameras. 

According to, 92 percent of homebuyers use the Internet as a key part of their home search. That means that listing photos are a critical factor — it will determine the selling price of a home, how quickly it sells and or perhaps whether it sells at all. 

The old saying still holds true, you never get a 2nd chance to make a great 1st impression. If homebuyers aren’t sold on the images they see online chances are they will move on. It can also affect their perception of a home prior to seeing it. 

A good photograph will have a positive emotion associated with the home. 

Solution – Spend the money! We never think about the cost to get the images just right when we are preparing to market a home for sale! Insist on professional photos, virtual tours and you-tube videos. Interviewing agents and finding one that feels this same way will almost always help get your home sold. So choose a real estate agent that insists on professional photography and isn’t concerned about the cost of taking this important (and critical) step.

4) Price Band (Search Buckets) Errors

Most homes are listed at prices that have 9’s instead of whole numbers. For example, it is extremely common for a property to be listed at $499,900 instead of $500,000. Doing this is a major mistake! Most real estate websites and apps have price bands that end in whole numbers. For example, Zillow’s price bands are $450,000 to $500,000 and $500,000 to $550,000.

When a home is priced at $499,900, none of the buyers searching from $500,000 to $550,000 see the home in that search. What makes it worse is that the lower price band buyer is at his/her limit. Whereas, the higher price banded buyer would be at his/her beginning point. If the property is on the market for $500,000, both sets of customers would be able to see the home in their search. This gets you more virtual traffic and leads to more showings and more offers. 

Solution – If possible, price the home in a way that it will be in both price bands, $500,000 instead of $499,900.

5) Photo Order

According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average attention span for a person is eight seconds (one second less than a goldfish). Each year it gets shorter and shorter. The way most real estate apps and websites are set up is to show only the first photo of a home. To get to the next one, you need to click on the next one and so on.

The problem is that almost all Realtors and For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers put the front of the home as the first photo. Nearly all homes’ BEST photos aren’t the front of the house. The problem is that with an eight-second attention span, most potential buyers may never have the patience to get to the best photo or features of the home and will click to the next property.

Solution – Put at least the first five best pictures of the home as the first five photos. Most people that have clicked thru the property's top five photos will continue to click away to see the others.

6) Thinks he/she knows how to market on social media, but has no clue

If I had to give you my best guess regarding how many real estate agents or sellers know how to market on social media effectively, I would say only about two percent know what to do. The majority of agents have very few sales that they made from a direct social media advertisement.

Most of them put too much information online, and the potential buyer has no reason to get more details from the real estate agent or seller. The strategy would be okay if the property sold itself, but hardly any properties sell themselves.

Solution – This solution is a lot more complicated than the other solutions. One of the most important things to do is not to give all of the information in the ad. Think of it like a movie preview that teases the buyer into contacting the agent for more details.

The reason you want the customer to communicate with you is because you have a much better chance of answering questions and giving more benefits to purchase the home. If your agent is a pro at social media advertising, he/she will know everything about who the most likely buyer to target.

Suggestion: Interview listing agents and determine who really gets social media marketing. Ask to see other ads that the agent has used to successfully bring in buyers. How do they target their audiences and what do they use to entice buyers to want to learn more about a given property?

If a person knows exactly who the most qualified buyer is and when to advertise to her/him, the chance of getting a home sold is much greater.

Bottom line, interview agents until one proves that he/she knows exactly what they are talking about.

7) Poor accessibility to view a home

Buyers have dozens of options available to search for homes online.

An agent might be showing 4 or 5 potential homes to his or her client and it’s not likely that they will reschedule or circle back to you if your property isn’t available.

Your home should be available for showing at any time, even though it may be inconvenient on occasion.

Solution – Sellers should do what they can to make the house show ready at all times and have a plan that allows the home to be viewed with just a little notice.

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