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How long is too long?

Posted by dorothyamelia (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 31, 14 at 11:31

We listed our house in April and had an offer within two days. The original deal fell through due to buyers inability to come through with a mortgage, and we lost a month on the market. We had a dozen showings since. Our REA uses an online appointment tool that generates potential buyer feedback on the property (if the showing agent decides to use the tool). The feedback generated is basic but good, so far.

Our contract with our present agent expires in a month. We want to list with a new, hopefully more motivated REA. I am concerned that buyers will think there is something wrong with the house, because of the amount of time it has been listed. Should we take the house off the market for a few months and then relist? Has anyone on this forum had a similar experience? Suggestions/opinions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How long is too long?

For me as a buyer, the site I use shows previous listings so taking it off the market for a short time means nothing to me.

Why do you believe your agent is not motivated? Have you discussed your feelings with your agent, what is his response?
Do you know your house is well presented to its full potential, is your pricing good? Is your competition selling?


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RE: How long is too long?

What's the rest of your market like? How long are your comps on the market?

I sold one unit in seven days and one in 700 in the same complex in different economies.

My father is preparing to sell in a market where the closest comps average 400 days on the market and it's not completely uncommon for a house to be on the market for 4-5 years. These are extreme examples but the point is that if your house is not on the market excessively longer than other houses just like yours on the market, it may be the market.

And I don't think realtors play the same role that they once did. At least here, when people are interested in buying they look online and find the properties they want to look at themselves for the most part. Then the realtor may suggest others based upon that. But for people moving around within the same city, the realtor isn't really "finding" the properties for the buyer they way they once did. The exception is when the buyers are from completely outside the area and don't know much about the various neighborhoods. So I am not sure what realtor "motivation" has to do with it in this day and age. They can't easily upsell a property that has multiple photos and a description online that the buyer has not expressed much interest in.


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RE: How long is too long?

Thanks for the feedback regarding time on the market. I don't see an issue with keeping it on the market but was trying to gauge what others have experienced.

Realtors may not play the same role from a buyer's perspective, but I expected a little more guidance being represented as a seller. We have to pressure our agent to ask showing REAs to provide feedback. We kinda get the impression that we are bothering her when we ask questions. We have had more requests to show the house since reducing the price, but we initiated the price drop, not our agent. The feedback we received indicates we are priced just right and the house shows well.


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RE: How long is too long?

Post your listing.


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RE: How long is too long?

Following is the listing on Zillow. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/271-Butterworth-Ln-Langhorne-PA-19047/9032501_zpid/


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RE: How long is too long?

You have A LOT of kitchen pictures and no bathroom pics... What are you hiding?

Is your front door 6 feet wide, or is that a lens distortion?

And, the living room picture is not a good one. You should have that one replaced.

Have you considered the blue carpet in your pricing strategy?


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RE: How long is too long?

I agree with most of kirks comments. Too many kitchen pictures. I would make 10 the first kitchen picture, then get rid of photos 5 6 9 and 12. I'd also get rid of photo 3 - it makes the door look weird, and I would get rid of 24 showing the chain link fence.

It seems like you are trying too hard to sell the kitchen, not the house. Too many kitchen photos and too many kitchen details in the text. Simpler text "4 year old granite and stainless kitchen" is sufficient. This much sell makes me think house is priced high to recoup the kitchen investment.

Also I can't find details in the zillow listing such as sizes of rooms, location of bedrooms and baths, etc. for instance, are all bedrooms and the second floor? Is there a master bath? Is family room on first floor or basement?


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RE: How long is too long?

Nice house, great kitchen and beautiful yard. Looks like everything is clean and looks well maintained. Should sell if the pricing is right. A couple of little suggestions for you to consider:
- I agree with kirkhall. You should have some pictures of the baths and you have a few too many pictures of the kitchen.
- the living room looks small and a bit cramped. I think the furniture is comfy, but perhaps a little heavy for the space. Take off the cushions to streamline the couches. Take the tv out. Move the curtains out from the windows to make the windows appear larger and brighter. The picture over the tv is too big. Swap it out with one of the pictures in the dining room.
- replace the living room picture with one that doesn't have a dog in it. That turns some people off. And be honest with yourself. If there is an animal odor in the house, it has to be dealt with. (But your house looks very clean, so I doubt you have a problem there).
- pictures in the dining room should be aligned with the tops at the same height. The one that so high against the ceiling looks like you're trying to cover up a hole in the wall.
- it took me a while to realize you have crown molding. Walls don't have to be all white. It seems to me that white walls just make a house look dated. And white walls with brown trim (family room?) really look dated.
- the den has a fireplace that overshadowed by the tv. Move out the chair and quilt, then move the tv away from the fireplace, and put something with a splash of color on the fireplace hearth to draw the eye. The quilt is beautiful - could that go into one of the adult bedrooms or maybe even the dining room? The house seems to be predominately brown and white, so bringing some color in wouldn't hurt.
- backyard is fenced and well maintained. But I'd group all those flower pots that are on the deck. They're too scattered and distract from the view across the yard.
- the only change I suggest that costs money is that you change the chandelier in the dining room. And if you decide to keep it, have it lowered.

By the way, is this house really a colonial?

These are just my opinions. Nice house. Good luck.


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RE: How long is too long?

Actually I looked at your house and the comps and I think yours shows pretty well compared to most of them. Some are clearly estates with no updates, most have things that some buyers don't like, like multiple wallpapers, most have carpeting instead of hardwood in the LR. Your blue carpet is a negative, but there are similar negatives in almost all the other comps, I think.

But--there are about 70 listings in your area and a little over a dozen that are almost identical on paper, including price. It appears that there may be a lot to choose from in your target market.

I agree with the other comments: Reduce the number of Kitchen photos to maybe two good ones. The LR photos are very unflattering and make it look crowded. Take some things out at least for the photos. Show the bathrooms even if they are old. Not showing them makes people suspect the worst. Get them to take some of the pictures without the fishbowl effect.

I don't know that your agent can pester other agents into providing feedback. My Realtor who has been in the business for 30 years and is a top seller in good markets and bad (I am in Philadelphia area, too), said the business has changed a lot in the past ten years. She feels that in this area a lot of people became real estate agents in the booming period when houses were selling themselves, and they didn't have to do much, including being polite to sellers or other agents--or do much "work" to sell a house.
So while it used to be standard to leave a business card at the house, follow up with feedback and other niceties (and this was more work before everything was online), she feels that a lot of people who got into the business when it was easy, don't really like it now that its harder. For agents who may be reading this and thinking, that real estate is Always hard work, I agree, in most areas it is. But here, especially when prices are up, you can make a livable income selling a few houses a year.

I had one agent repeatedly not show up for appointments. Once he showed up about 5 hours after he was scheduled. I asked the Realtor if this agent could be Not allowed to make appointments, and she said in a fast market, maybe you could do that, but in a slow market you are hostage to the unprofessional agent and the potential buyer, no matter what a pain they are.


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RE: How long is too long?

House looks nice - I bet you have a contract before the listing is over. If not, I would re-list with a different agency that lists/sells lots of homes in your direct area. Not that there is anything wrong with your agent per say, I just think a complete fresh listing could get fresh showings and interest. Start looking now to compile of list of the top 2-3 agents that appear to be marking homes in your area. Go to their listings and drive by - do they have empty flyer boxes? Does their sign/info advertise the home nicely. Check the online photos and description - do they market nicely? do they clearly show price on flyer?

You might benefit from an agent that has homes similar to yours (direct comps). Why? When they get calls for showings on the comp home, they likely will steer a showing to your house as well. Also if they eventually have that comp home under contract, they can steer any calls (from old mag adds, etc) to your home since it's a comp.

I am afraid that a comp that has a 2 car garage might win out over yours (if you really have 1 CG)

You don't need feedback after every showing anyway, so just don't bug your agent for that every time.

It appears you have 1 car garage from the photos, and the listing that is linked above does't specifiy if 1car garage or 2 that I could see. If only 1 car, this can be a major negative, IMO.


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RE: How long is too long?

I, too, wondered if that was a 1 car garage at the end... and, yes, that is a big negative.


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RE: How long is too long?

It's a negative in the general scope of things, but it is one shared by most of the houses on the street, many in the development and several other of the listings at the price point.

A couple of the listings that have two car garages are detached. I think I'd rather have one attached than two detached, not sure.

In any case it's a negative that nothing practical can be done about.


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RE: How long is too long?

Whether you keep the same agent or go with a new one, I would suggest getting all new photos because it will refresh things a bit and so many of the photos are just wrong.

The photo of the tile would turn me off the house instantly. Tile is not easy to replace (it's labor intensive) and those colors are not my taste. The cabinet photo does nothing for me with the rug in front of it and what seems to be a vent in an odd place. (I looked again--it's a tile I don't like) The door photos do nothing for me except tell me that the only thing going for the house is a door that not everyone will like.

Also--get rid of the stool at the end of the kitchen peninsula. It blocks the flow of traffic. Actually I would also get rid of an additional stool. Dump the Mickey Mouse artwork. It's not appropriately placed in a dining room and does nothing for the staging of the room.


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RE: How long is too long?

The outside of the house seems cluttered. While the lawn itself looks very very nice, there is a multitude of pots and gee-gaws placed at the front door and on the patio. Less is more.


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RE: How long is too long?

Your home looks amazingly neat and tidy, which has a lot of appeal! I look at many listings online and most will not measure up to yours.

That being said, I like the suggestion of eliminating some kitchen pics. Instead, I would step back to include more of an overview of your kitchen as opposed to focusing on custom work. Oftentimes, sellers believe their splurges are what sell their homes and expect to be compensated accordingly. But the truth is, how many times has a Realtor mentioned features, upgrades in a home you are looking at and you couldn't care less. For me, custom anything is often over the top. I prefer simple, clean lines with no busy work. Some people are going to see that close up of your floor tile and will be turned off by the proposition of having to replace it. But if you pull back to get a larger view of your kitchen, they get more of the big picture. Pictures don't sell your home, they are a tool to lure buyers into your home so they can decide upon viewing if the home is right for them. Leave some little surprises for buyers. Some will love the tiles, some will love the kitchen in spite of them, some may love the rest of the home and decide to budget new flooring. Overall, I'd say the kitchen does show very well but I'd also get rid of two of those chairs; why hinder the view or impede the traffic flow of the area of your home you're the most proud of?

I would also take the table out of the hallway--it looks like the mirror isn't quite centered over it. It's a huge distraction, let them see just how much space you have. I agree with the poster that said the TV in the family room is a distraction. I'd pack it up if I had other TVs I could use. Retake the pic so the fireplace is the focal point of the room.

Living room pics would look better if you retake with more lighting.

I, too, love flowers but there are way too many pots going on. They're not complimenting the home but distracting from it. Too many little tchotchkes on the deck. Pull back and get a larger, better view for your pictures. Love that you included the deck in your staging! It looks inviting to sit at but too many treasures tend to steal the focus. People want to envision the whole room from your pictures, not see vignettes of your possessions, if that makes sense.


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RE: How long is too long?

Thanks everyone for taking the time to check out our listing and provide suggestions. As a start, we're going to ask our REA to add/remove pictures on the listing and modify the write up. It is so true how looking through the eyes of others find things you do not notice. We went through the pictures one half dozen times before we found our Murphy dog in the picture mentioned by hayden2.


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RE: How long is too long?

I'd leave your house on the market, but consider getting a different agent. While it may be true that a listing agent can't make someone buy your home, there's a lot that they can and should be doing to attract as many buyers as possible to it, and advising you on any changes you need to make.

This includes getting feedback from other realtors (the good ones network well, so are able to get it even from those that don't respond to the first request); watching the comps that come on the market and sell, to give you advice on tweaking your pricing if needed; taking good photos and having a great listing; keeping flyers stocked; and answering inquiries from prospective buyers quickly.

It sounds like yours is pretty passive. I think the photos are well done, and your house shows clean and well-maintained. The kitchen is beautiful. But I agree: show enough to pique interest, not too much that they don't need to visit. I'd also include bath photos and delete the one showing electrical wires running behind the lot,

Good luck!


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