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We’ve had our house on the market for several years – with four different realtors. We’ve raised the price; we’ve lowered the price. According to our current Realtor, it is priced right. Comps are difficult because our house is unusual; most people seem to want a cookie cutter house. We’ve followed all the usual recommendations – cleared clutter, reduced furniture, painted, opened windows, turned on lights, have great photos and hired a stager. We’ve had dozens of showings and three main complaints: it’s a wood frame house, it has too many stairs (it’s 3 stories, 4100 sq. ft.), and it’s a reverse layout (millennials do not want children on a different level than parents). None of these can be changed without a major remodel. Our house is old (40 years – with us as original owners) and needs updating, but it is carefully maintained. I would appreciate any suggestions. If we lower the price anymore, we will be giving it away.

Lynn, Location Withheld


Where to start? Your dilemma is one I have seen more times that I would care to admit and unfortunately it is somewhat likely you will not appreciate my solution to your situation. Although your current Realtor thinks your home is priced right, I will also assume that the previous three agents thought it was priced right and were apparently wrong since it still has not sold! One thing about your situation that is a little different is that typically in our market if a home is not priced correctly the market will eventually catch it. What I mean is that the market has been appreciating steadily and that over time it will eventually catch even the most overpriced homes…unless the pricing is just totally unrealistic. As I provide information to help you evaluate your situation, keep in mind that when selling a home you can only control three things: how well your property is marketed, how well it is priced and the overall property condition. That’s right, when you boil down all the extraneous things people want to make selling a home about, these are the three primary things you can ultimately control, or have influence over, that will positively or negatively impact your ability to sell.

It sounds as though from a condition standpoint you have gone to great lengths (clearing clutter, reducing furniture, painting and hiring a stager) to ensure your property is in great condition and is well prepared for showings. I am also going to read between the lines that since you have had “dozens” of showings that your Realtor(s) have marketed it sufficiently enough and your photos are good enough for buyers to find it and choose to come take a look. Ultimately a market stat that I have heard and used over the years is “for every 13 showings you should have an offer.” I realize that that number may be 9 showings for some houses and 16 showings for others, but ultimately if you have had “dozens” of showings and no offers, you likely have a pricing problem.

To be totally honest, unique and dated can be a lethal combo. You narrow your buyer pool by having a home that has a “unique” layout and one that is in need of a cash infusion. The complaint about kids being on a different level is a very real issue for families with young kids (under 10). If a family has 3 teenagers then they are much more open to having them on a different level, but young kids and stairs everywhere is just not desirable, regardless of the generation. Let’s also put into perspective the idea of updating a 4100 square foot house. The bigger the house, the more expensive it is to update. Updating a 4100 square foot home is much more expensive than updating a 2500 square foot house and to a younger family (and that is who buys large homes with multiple levels) the cost can be very intimidating and keep them from pulling the trigger. In order to “lure” them to buy, there has to be some significant monetary upside to putting in the work and money to bring it up to current tastes.  

I believe your answer is relatively simple if you’re willing to hear it. You can keep the price where it is and eventually the market will catch you and you will find just the right butt for the saddle or you can lower your price to make it more appealing to your target buyer. To really solve the puzzle you must also find out what the buyers are buying instead of your home. Knowing what they are buying will tell you a lot about where you stand in relation to your competition and what you need to do to become more competitive. Remember, it is a competition and your perception of “giving it away” is clearly not the perception of the buyer pool thus far or your home would already be sold. Several years on the market, in this market, is too long. Stop and listen to what the market is telling you! Don’t hold it against me, I warned you that you might not like my answer! Make some adjustments to get more competitive and view your home through the eyes of your buyers and I bet your results will change.  

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team


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