January 29, 2024 | Selling

Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

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We’ve all seen it before. That “For Sale” sign on the lawn down the street, or the one you drive by on your way to work every day. It sits there, for what feels like eternity. Sometimes, it starts to collect dirt. Other times, it loosens in the ground and starts to lean or even fall over. Or you look at a listing online and the photos show snow, but you double check your calendar and see that it is in fact May, and a glance outside shows you beaming sun and flowers and trees blooming.

These properties, the ones that sit on the market for days and days, turning into weeks and then months. These are the ones we muse over, find the most interesting. “Surely there must be something wrong with it, but what?”, we think to ourselves, or ask whoever will listen. After questions about property valuations, it’s likely the most common question I receive on a daily basis. It can be from colleagues, sellers working with other agents, my own buyer clients looking at a possible home to purchase, or just about anyone with an interest (vested or otherwise) in real estate.

“Why isn’t that house selling?!”

It’s a great question, and one with many different answers. The whole purpose of prepping and listing a property for sale (which if done properly is an extensive undertaking in both time, money and effort) is to just that – sell the property. So, when a sale isn’t happening, it’s natural to ask why.

The most common reason a property isn’t selling, and the reason that if adjusted enough can also address any other reason a property isn’t selling, is price. Put simply, a property that is listed for a price and/or a seller with expectations of a price that is out of line with what the market is willing to value and ultimately pay for the house will not sell.

Toronto is too efficient of a Real Estate market for this to not be true. There are too many prospective buyers creating too much demand for a properly priced property to not sell. Even properties with other potential challenges (some of which we will outline below) can sell if the home is priced appropriately. How does the saying go? “Everything has a price”. That remains true in Toronto Real Estate.

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How Pricing Impacts Sale

Ultimately, the decision on pricing is made by the homeowner who is selling, but it is the responsibility of the listing agent to outline and explain to the seller what the estimated fair value of the home is and create a pricing strategy appropriate for that number.

Humans are inherently biased and will inevitably overvalue what they have over what belongs to someone else, and it is the agent’s job to ensure that seller is pragmatic about the valuation, and reactive to changing that valuation should the market not respond to the initial strategy.

Too often inexperienced or passive agents will allow the emotions and biases of a seller dictate the pricing strategy, both initially and throughout a challenging listing, and avoiding those difficult conversations is not in the best interest of their seller client, nor themselves.

Days on the market is inversely correlated with the final sale price, and an overpriced property can quickly get stigmatized. An experienced agent will help price the property appropriately from the outset and will be reactive to feedback received moving forward, ensuring the property is appropriately priced which is best for a homeowner to ensure they achieve their goal – selling the home.

With that said, even a home that is priced appropriately can remain on the market longer than expectations. In these cases, a significant driver of this can be a property that isn’t marketed properly or is listed sloppily.

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How Marketing Impacts Sale

Too often on MLS® I see listings that have countless errors, typos, photos taken with an iPhone, an absence of floor plans, and any other maddening mistake or oversight you can imagine.

This is the most significant financial transaction of most people’s lives, and I can’t for the life of me understand how so little care and attention to detail is given to the presentation of the property, but on a daily basis I see a more than few instances of this that shock me.

How Home Preparation Impacts Sale

To go further than that, failing to do some requisite preparation will cost a seller dearly in regard to how quickly they sell, as well as the final sale price. Every home should be staged, professionally cleaned, painted as necessary, fixed up in the inevitable places where there is the hypothetical loose doorknob or dripping faucet. Just as it is for the seller, this is likely the most significant financial transaction of the buyer’s life, and all of these little things can shape their perspective on the house, and failing to put in the work ahead of time and throughout the listing can cost sellers deeply. There are thousands of homes for sale in the city on any given day, and not taking the time to meet the standard of care that buyers have come to expect in this competitive market can cost a seller dearly.

Both these considerations again fall on the listing agent to communicate to the seller the need and importance, and to facilitate making them happen. Too often agents don’t understand, don’t relay to their seller, or are too apathetic to bother, and it is this incompetence or laziness that can make what should be a straightforward sale complicated and time consuming.

Other Factors that Impact Home Sale

There are also fundamental factors that can make a home spend a long time on the market. A tenanted property, a property with a suboptimal location (ie. On a busy street, or next to a new development or a fire station), or certain timing considerations (a property listed near Christmas or over the summer, historically slower times in our markets, as an example) can all increase the time it takes for a home to sell.

In many cases, these factors cannot be changed, so that will bring a seller back to the original point discussed in this blog, that the pricing must be adjusted should the market not be responding. In the situation where these factors can be adjusted, it again falls on an experienced and capable listing agent to flag these potential concerns and address them as quickly and appropriately as possible.

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In Conclusion

In the end, the prevailing reason a property isn’t selling can almost always be attributed to price, particularly in a market as efficient and fast-moving as Toronto.

While there are other considerations beside price that can impact the time a property spent on market, those can almost always be addressed by adjusting the proverbial pricing lever. Working with a capable and experienced agent will set a seller on the right path by ensuring they have a realistic and holistic understanding of the fair value of their home, and what pricing strategy is best to achieve a sale for that price (or beyond!), as well as be able to address any considerations that are within control prior to the property coming to the market, and doing everything possible to ensure the property is presented to the best of its ability when it does hit the market.

Doing so ensures the property sells for the best price, and as quickly as possible, no matter what the home is, and what market it’s being sold in.

That’s how we approach every listing at TRG, and if you want to discuss the process for selling your home, please reach out at any time by calling 416.642.2660 or emailing admin@torontorealtygroup.com. We’re always happy to chat!

Written By

Matthew Morrison


p: 647.308.4767

e: matthew@torontorealtygroup.com

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