Selling House in a Down Market

NiniBettyMarch 16, 2012

I am new to the forum and my first post.

I am a widow lost my husband of 44 years in 2007. My question is about my home. We built our retirement home in 2001 on a lake with large lot (2 1/2 acres)and 3200 square foot home. The house and the yard are much to large for me to handle alone and I listed the house with a real estate agent October 1st . The house has been shown 4 times . The agent has a website and a sign in the yard. No other advertisement .

Any suggestions on ideas to spark interest in the home and things that I might need to do to help with the showing?

I need very much to get in a smaller place with a smaller yard closer to family.

Thanks for any suggestions .

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By "no other advertisement" do you mean it's not in the MLS? I think most home buyers find homes via the MLS, so if you're not getting any showings that way, additional advertisement probably isn't the highest priority. You have to figure out why the listing isn't getting people there. Maybe the price is too high, maybe the pictures aren't good enough, maybe the house doesn't have some feature people expect in the area.

If you post a link to your listing, it might be easier to give feedback.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Thanks for your reply. The house is listed in MLS.
No other advertisement I was referring to no directional signs, fliers or open house just the real estate MLS and a sign in the yard on a ded end street. As for the price I had it appraised by an independent appraiser the month I put it on the market. I listed it for 20,000 less than the appraised value.
Hoping for more traffic this spring. We have more interest on the lake and visitors in the spring and summer months.
A link to the listing.

Here is a link that might be useful: My House

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Pretty house. I think your listing needs some pictures of the lake view from that back porch. Looking at the photos, I would never guess the lot to be over 2 acres.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Need some good photos of the lake and pool.
Staging and more and better interior photos will help.
The house is very nice, but not shown at it�s best, needing better photos. Need to address more benefits of living there. Market the house to everyone living around the lake, they might have friends who want to live there.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:46PM
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....,but not shown at its best,....

GW, archaic no edit feature....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:51PM
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I think you need to have a talk with your agent. Only 4 showings is saying that you are substantially overpriced for your location.

Your main home pic is a little high contrasty to be able to tell the details. It's also of the rear of the house, not the front, which is a pet peeve of mine. You should always begin a home tour with the "face" of the home, or with a shot showing the spectacular view from the home if that's more appealing than the home itself.

The home itself doesn't show well when compared with other photos of listings in your area. You also have several pictures of the family room with the looming red brick fireplace wall, but no pictures of the master or any baths. The kitchen pic looks dated with the oak cabinets, white appliances, white counter, white backsplash, and center island with no ventilation. That would be a big turnoff to many.

OK I found additional pics on Zillow including baths and master and it's not any better news. The master looks small and the baths again look dated. There's also a lot of pictures of furniture rather than the rooms on Zillow. The biggest sin though is that it appears that you are advertising it like it's lakefront, and pricing it like you are lakefront, but you aren't lakefront.
Your competitor at 734 Lay Lake is priced similarly. It's similarly dated looking. But just look at the view that they have compared to you!



That view is worth at least 25K more than yours, if not more.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Regardless of what the appraiser said, it would seem like 4 showings in almost 6 months means that you are significantly overpriced particularly if you want to sell soon.

I don't understand why your link if that is to your local MLS only has 6 pics while Zillow has 24. I did look at the pics on Zillow.

I would probably paint the entire house. There are a lot of colors and they aren't neutral and many people won't like them. The kitchen to me looks dated and I might consider painting the cabinets.

The photos aren't very good. They are too closeup in many rooms so it is hard to get a real sense of what the room is like. Everything seems to be pics of furniture that, frankly, is not very appealing. I would strongly consider some staging.

You really don't get a sense of a large yard or acreage with the pics. I don't think lack of advertising is your problem. I think I would focus on price (most important), better staging (and perhaps repainting), and better photos. Sooner rather than later so you don't miss the prime selling season.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 11:13PM
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I agree with the other posters about the price & the pics. To me, the big brick fireplace is not a big selling feature, and to have 3 of the MLS pics showing that is not good. More pictures on MLS would help - including some of the outside.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:42AM
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And while you are talking with your agent, have him or her correct the grammar in the first sentence of your writeup - remove the apostrophe in "it's":

"Lay Lake living at it's finest" should be "Lay Lake living at its finest." The word "it's" has one meaning and one meaning only - it is.

And it is an "inground," not an "ingound" pool. This is just sloppy work by your agent.

I agree with the comments made about the photos - you are trying to photograph the rooms, not your furniture. I love the photo of the front of your house - I would rearrange them so it shows first.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:11AM
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Your house looks clean, well-maintained and uncluttered. Great job there! I wouldn't bother with repainting or updating. If your competition is similar, you're fine. And you're clean and uncluttered, which is the main thing.

I agree you need to select better photos for the MLS. Either get all 24 on it or pick a wider range and the best ones.

I too looked at the zillow photos and have the following comments:
1. The photos of the basement living areas aren't very good. They either need to show the whole open area or just one of the sub-areas (couch lounging area, table/eating area). All the photos have 1 1/2 areas in them, making it feel more choppy or cluttered, which isn't how the rest of your house shows.
2. The first dining room photo looks like a picture of your china cabinet. The second DR photo is too dark. Need a shot of the whole room, even if you stand back in the LR to take it.
3. One of the bathroom sink photos has the photographer's reflection in it.
4. Take the photo of the back of the house either when it's overcast or when the sun is shining on the back. The existing photo has it in a shadow.

The back porch and yard photos are good.

BUT I don't think the photos are keeping people from looking. It's more likely the price. If it were me, I'd sharpen my pencil and look closely at the appraisal, which comps were used, and how adjustments were made. Have your realtor pull more recent comps to see what the price trend has been.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:42AM
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I walked in your shoes....we built our house in 2000, 4090SF, had an agent's showing, picked a realtor, MLS, etc. We had several showings, but it was not until I did something that may not work for you. I put a For Sale sign in the yard, and put on it. "contact any realtor", but before I did this, I wrote a letter to every realtor in town and said I was willing to give anyone a one day listing if they brought me a qualified buyer. WOW, the showings started because they knew they didn't have to split a commission with anyone.

I wanted to move "back home" after DH died recently because there is no one here for me. I signed a contract last Saturday for $267,500 (listed for $299.900) and will close April 12....and they are giving me 2 weeks after that to live here, have my sales, and out by May 1st.

In this terrible market here, I am glad to be able to put this behind me......did I get what this house was worth, NO, but we did enjoy living here for 11 years and it was debt free, so I am looking ahead and not back. Life is for the living and I am moving back to family and friends.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:19PM
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Congratulations Phoggie on your contract. Tne one day listing was a very creative approach. My home is also debt free so not any pressure financially to move quickly but more of an emotional one. Your right life is for the living. Good luck in your move.

Weedyacres thank you for the constructive advice
I plan on talking to my agent next week about new pictures and pricing.

Today I mourn for a friend who lost her daughter yesterday from kidney failure. Makes me put everything into prospective. Life is for the living!!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:49PM
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I don't understand why your link if that is to your local MLS only has 6 pics while Zillow has 24. I did look at the pics on Zillow.

It's because the agent isn't paying for "enhanced listings" on will just "sweep" the first four pictures from MLS without the agent or broker subscribing to enhanced listings. At the very least the agent should make sure that the first four MLS pics are the best.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Guess we're sort of in your shoes. We put our 'old' house on the market last April. In 6 months, we had only 3 showings. My agent was someone we'd dealt with before, was established and who we trusted. I could NOT get him to do any open houses, getting directional signs was a struggle, he only had the house listed on his website and the usual MLS ones. At the end of the listing, we took the house off the market, did a little more work on it (stripped some wallpaper, did some more painting, etc.). Mind you, even when we started, the house was in good condition, well-maintained, pretty, nicely decorated and staged and appropriately priced.

This January, we re-listed with a different agency. One of our neighbors is a young (about 30) real estate salesman who was honestly, more help to us last summer than our original agent was. He wanted our listing, and contacted us within a couple of hours after the sign came down. When we were ready, we listed with him. He's been absolutely amazing!!!!! He's had our house on the usual MLS sites as well as on: Facebook, Twitter, Craig's List, etc. He put a gorgeous slide show of our home on Youtube. Within weeks, he held 2 open houses for us. He's been fantastic about keeping in touch and keeping us informed every step of the way. Well, guess what? We signed a contract to sell only SIX WEEKS (to the day) after signing on with him. And we sold for only about $15,000 less than we were listed at last summer (we actually are getting about $40,000-50,000 MORE than what similar homes in the neighborhood have sold for in the past year).

Honestly? Even in this market houses ARE selling. But it's more important than ever that a seller find an enthusiastic, web-saavy agent. In the 6 weeks our house was on the market we had OVER 25 showings, and were still getting requests for showings for a couple of weeks after we'd worked out our deal with the buyers.

I'd highly recommend letting your contract with this agent run out, and find yourself a hungry, motivated young fellow or girl who has a lot of sales (our guy is always going to closings--he sells a LOT).

And yes, the more photos your agent posts, the better the potential buyer is able to evaluate the property. And it's apparently a fact that these days MOST buyers do their looking on the internet--it's the first introduction they have to your home.

Just to repeat--a good agent is the best tool you'll have for selling your home. I am still floored by the difference in the services we've received from this fellow, compared to what the other agent was willing to do. There's just no comparison at all--and it was his enthusiasm that sold our house, definitely! And don't forget, after you do contract to sell, having a good agent is going to help getting through the process as calmly as possible--ours is directing us every step of the way, and he's really made things go smoothely for us.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Azzalea, Thank you for the input. My current listing will expire the end of April and I have to make some plans now.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 10:43AM
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