11 Reasons Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

Posted on Jun 1 2017 - 12:06pm by Housecall

House sold sign

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on June 1, 2017. It has been updated to reflect current conditions related to the coronavirus. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

By Charles Muotoh

When you first put your house on the market, you might be hopeful for a quick sale—especially if you've put a lot of money into improving the house over the years and if the neighborhood is one that has historically attracted a lot of buyers. While you shouldn't panic if the house doesn't sell the moment you list it, you should begin to worry if the weeks start flying by without any real offers. If this is the case, here are 11 reasons why your house may not be selling.

  1. You overvalued your property. If your house is overpriced, it's simply not going to sell. Compare your property to similar properties that recently sold within your area to get a better idea of its true value. An experienced real estate agent can give you an accurate value of your home. Additionally, don't make the mistake of tacking on the cost of any renovations you made. You can't just assume that the cost of a renovation translates to added value.
  1. Your listing is poor. If the listing of your home includes a poorly written description without any images, a lot of buyers are going to skip over it. Make sure you and your REALTOR® put an effort into creating a listing that attracts the attention of buyers. Make sure to add high quality photographs of both the interior and exterior of your home. Don't forget to highlight unique features as well.
  1. You're always present at showings.* Let your agent handle your showings. Buyers don't want to have the seller lurking over their shoulder during showings, especially during an open house. This puts unwanted pressure on the buyer, which will make them uncomfortable and likely chase them away.
  1. You're too attached. If you refuse to negotiate even a penny off your price, then there's a good chance that you've become too attached to your home. If a part of you doesn't want to sell it, or you think your house is the best house in the world, odds are you're going to have a lot of difficulties coming to an agreement with a potential buyer.
  1. You haven't had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.
  1. You haven't staged your home. If you've already moved out, then don't show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.
  1. You kept up all of your personal décor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal décor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
  1. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child's room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn't mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don't want to pay for features they don't want.
  1. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.
  1. Your home is in need of too many repairs. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don't want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it's just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.
  1. You chose the wrong real estate agent. In my opinion, choosing the right real estate is simply the most important decision you make in selling your home.  A good REALTOR® makes all the difference in selling your home within a reasonable time.

All these things can be fixed once you realize your mistake; however, the longer your property stays on the market, the less likely it will sell at listing price. One of the best ways to avoid making these common mistakes is by working with a professional real estate agent.

Charles Muotoh is the owner of dcrealestateguru.com, a full service real estate firm focused on leveraging digital marketing strategies to serve buyers and sellers of real estate in the Washington D.C. area.

*Due to the current conditions related to the coronavirus, showings may be conducted virtually in your area. Your agent will be able to keep you apprised of local market conditions and policies.


47 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Margaret Mardis June 9, 2017 at 7:39 pm -

    Very good!

  2. Birmingham Builders June 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm -

    Hey Charles,

    As a builder myself, I can tell you one of the things that you could have mentioned. Like number 9 says, sometimes the home needs too much work done to it before it can match it’s valuation.

    But often times, a simple DIY touch-up to the exterior and interior makes a huge difference to perspective home owners. Even something as small as repaint on one of your walls makes your home go from looking dirty to good as new.

    Could not agree more with number 7 though. Huge mistake many make to make the property seem “homely”.

    • NikkiJ76 September 20, 2019 at 2:35 pm -


  3. hesther November 17, 2017 at 6:21 am -

    I agree ?#1

    #2-14 refer to #1……

  4. Angela Cooper-Elrod November 17, 2017 at 7:42 am -

    #1 is correct.

  5. Daniel Hilts November 22, 2017 at 4:50 am -

    Very good as well as the comments from others

  6. Fran March 22, 2018 at 3:40 pm -

    You cannot be serious. I’m thrilled when a listing of mine sells! I wouldn’t think of holding back until I find my own buyer. That is highly unethical. I wouldn’t do it.

  7. Andy Esbenshade May 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm -

    If a home is a dump, and priced as a dump, it will sell. If a home is over personalized and priced as an over personalized home it will sell. If a home needs too many repairs and is priced as a home that needs too many repair. It will sell. If a home is not cleaned, too cluttered or not staged and is priced appropriately. IT WILL SELL Not rocket science. It a a good agents job to make sure this is discussed and or addressed with sellers when listing. If someone wants to hire me and doesn’t want to take my professional advice , it a lot of circumstances I don’t take the listing. A lot of times I get it after it doesn’t sell.

  8. Denean Gable July 23, 2018 at 11:50 am -

    Usually my senior clients have a hard time with too many personal items in the home. To ease their anxiety I explain that they’ll be moving soon so this will help with the packing, moving process if most items are already packed safely away.
    When I take a listing I have it professionally cleaned for the first open house, and I stage them as well. In the 16 years that I’ve been a Realtor I’ve always done this.
    Location location location also should be important in selling quickly and for top dollar.

  9. Sheree July 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm -

    Realtors are too often pushing to get a listing reduced possibly due to the fact that they might lose the commission if the property expires. I have found many times, that if the property is priced properly a reduction isn’t necessary. Not all lookers are a good fit for the property they are viewing. Sellers sometimes get overly anxious after several showings with no offers and insist that they want to reduce the price. But I’ve watched over the years and so often the price wouldn’t have changed a thing if it hadn’t been reduced because the right Buyer for the property finally came along and the element that made the Buyer want the property couldn’t be duplicated.

  10. Brandon Richards August 17, 2018 at 6:07 pm -

    Good read, thanks for sharing this post.

  11. Myers & Myers Real Estate October 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm -

    Great article and some great advice. I am surprised how some brokers will do so little to sell a home. Lousy pictures, poor descriptions, not filling out the MLS correctly, not properly coaching the sellers.

    Even with all these issues, every home will sell at the right price. Price will over come all other short comings.

    However, the broker may not be looking our for the best interest of his client.

    Thanks for the article

  12. Mary Tinker November 29, 2018 at 2:14 am -

    Hi Charles! I encountered some issues last year when I was trying to sell my home. I thought the process will be smooth and fast, only to realize that the problem was with my agent. After a lot of troubles, I came across a licensed real estate investor named Central Valley House Buyer. They offered me a fair, ALL-CASH offer for my house. I took the chance and true enough; their process was easy and hassle-free. They were able to close escrow within a week or so.
    Thank you for this very informative post-Charles. These will be very helpful for homeowners who want to sell their houses fast and easy.

  13. wishang December 27, 2018 at 12:39 am -

    Great article and given great advice for selling my house.This advice is very useful for seller.They will follow these tips for selling my home.Thank you for this informative article.I will sharing your information to other persons.

  14. Es Kiusmi December 28, 2018 at 7:19 pm -

    If you think is the agent, just have a friend call a second agent and ask to see properties like yours in your area, See if the Listing Agent you hired cooperates fully with other agents. That means: do they return calls/texts/emails from your agent requesting a showing; do they provide a good showing to the other agent’s buyers, do they show the highlights of the house? I have found many times a listing agent does not want to sell the property to other agent’s buyers because he/she have to share the commission.

    • NikkiJ76 September 20, 2019 at 2:43 pm -

      If that’s the case then that listing agent is unethical. Bottom line for me as an agent is to do what is in MY clients best interests and I’d prefer not to act as a “duel or limited” agent because not only does my liability goes up but my goal is to keep my clients for life. The other reason I’ve found is it can also create issues with the seller not wanting to pay the full commission to me. That happened once and because of it I’d rather keep the relationship with my seller and ask a colleague to assist the buyer.

  15. Susan January 4, 2019 at 7:37 am -

    Definitely over valuing your property doesn’t help your property to get sold and taking away all decor doesn’t help also. Great Tips!

  16. wishang January 31, 2019 at 2:20 am -

    Thank you for this article.This advice is very useful in this seller and follow this tips for selling my home . This tips are great information in this blog .They are very useful informative article.I will sharing in this your post .

  17. Olivier Lepage March 12, 2019 at 5:19 am -

    Great article and some great advice. Every tip you have mentioned above have definitely nailed down the most important aspect a real estate agent or their respective clients should have to know. I will be sharing in this your post.

  18. Westrom Group Real Estate March 14, 2019 at 2:45 am -

    Great post about Homes selling. This post is great information on this blog. I really appreciate your efforts put on this post. Thanks for sharing this

  19. Sandy Viveiros March 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm -

    Here in the Houston Texas area it’s: Price, Condition, Location that sells a home

  20. Gerald Hardiman March 18, 2019 at 5:16 pm -

    So true in every aspect!

  21. I Buy Houses Fast April 16, 2019 at 4:34 am -

    Great post about Homes selling. These tips are great information in this blog. They are a very useful informative article I will be sharing in this your post.

  22. Kay April 29, 2019 at 12:35 pm -

    This article perfectly outlines all of the points I discuss with my clients that are debating whether they need to hire a professional home stager. Whether the home is being sold occupied or unoccupied, there are so many things to take into consideration when showing a home with hopes of getting it sold fast and at the price the seller deserves. Thank you for this article, I look forward to sharing it with my clients moving forward!

  23. Oliverduke May 14, 2019 at 5:35 am -

    Thank you so much for this article. It is providing best 11 reasons for home not selling.I want to sell my house so it is helpful information for selling house.I will follow your tips for selling my house. I will share your tips to other users.

  24. donna m rinaldi May 31, 2019 at 11:33 am -

    One of the best things I’ve read regarding real estate!

  25. Chuy May 31, 2019 at 1:54 pm -

    Stageing is mostly done to secure the listing. not really to sell the home. its shameful how staging gets pushed. working of expanding my staging props. Im joining the bandwagon.

  26. Paul Pastore June 3, 2019 at 6:52 am -

    A seller must be coachable. Even a great agent is useless if their advice is ignored. Some seller as ‘frequently in error, but seldom in doubt’.

  27. Jagriti Singh June 10, 2019 at 3:10 am -

    I think it is a realtor game. If it was their place it would be sold! Also, they would be asking more money for it. Good luck! I am sick of the whole process. I see realtors sell their place for way over market value in a short time. They work together on the properties they want to sell

    • Ellen Tallent July 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm -

      Not true at all. A home will not sell if it is overpriced. Plus, if the buyers are getting a mortgage it has to appraise. I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience, but you are wrong.

  28. Marvin Von Renchler June 17, 2019 at 6:48 pm -

    I have never been a fan of staging. Its a lot of work and money—how many of you have unstaged listings that didn’t sell, staged them and immediately sold?

    I agree with 8. Personally, I feel invasive if its too personalized. I also wonder if they will be super attached and not motivated to deal.

  29. Paul Pastore July 18, 2019 at 5:36 pm -

    You selected the right agent but are not listening to what they are saying. Are you being stubborn, prideful, or greedy?

  30. Joe Garcia September 14, 2019 at 5:42 pm -

    Great points! One more you should add is: As a seller you must be open and available to show when another agent calls, as much as possible. I had one seller who was “busy” or it was inconvenient for her to show it, 90% of the time. I told her, “you’re turning away potential buyers!”

  31. Kim Cardoso September 14, 2019 at 5:46 pm -

    I’m constantly astonished with the bad listing photos and typically those homes sit on the market. It’s obvious they were taken by the listing agent and I’m embarrassed for my client to see them. We make enough money to pay a pro to do photos. As realtors, It makes us all look bad.

  32. Shin Kang October 11, 2019 at 7:50 am -

    Nice blog good information. thanks for your such a great information like this, and I hope you will share some more information about house selling in Future.

  33. Martin Hepworth November 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm -

    All common sense information. However it is not common practice. Thanks for the reminder. Excellent message to show prospective sellers.

  34. Clarica Meigs December 28, 2019 at 2:34 pm -

    #5 and #10 should be top on the list. along with the right Realtor.
    Many sellers “think” their house is ready but haven’t done their homework. As a Realtor, it’s part of my service to my clients to assist them by providing to them a cleaning and repair honey do list and tips as well as a list of contractors and cleaning professionals. Selling a house is a partnership. I do my best and expect my clients to do the same. On the other hand, some DO in-fact want my advise only to say they will go FISBO, Well, if you’re a FISBO, then you don’t need my professional opinion.
    I pride myself in part on my listing descriptions. It my job to my seller to bring as may qualified buyers through their house, whether that buyer is in house or with another brokerage. If I don’t do my best, I don’t deserve your business..

  35. Sheila M States#1 December 28, 2019 at 6:33 pm -

    #1. is KEY! #11. is subjective to the Seller. Before I became an agent, we chose a very popular agent for one of our transactions. So popular and touted that we could never speak to them directly and had a very hard time getting ahold of them. Big advertising or even lots of listings/sales doesn’t always constitute what is ‘good’ in your eyes. Pick someone good for YOU! Each client is different. So is each agent. Choose one you are comfortable with and can communicate with, and make sure your ideas are compatible.

  36. Phil B. February 7, 2020 at 3:05 pm -

    In our NorCal market at least, a home that garners a lot of showings but doesn’t sell is often over-priced. All of the points here are good ones; however, we also see another one: Sellers who do not even respond to offers that they consider beneath them. It can be a mistake not to negotiate, as some buyers make seemingly low offers to see how the seller responds. No response is clearly a “no”, but it can also mean “no sale”!

  37. Vegas Houses February 16, 2020 at 9:00 pm -

    Nice explanation ?

  38. value of London property March 3, 2020 at 2:29 am -

    Thanks for sharing this. Finally, I have an idea of how to avoid being fooled by people in terms of real estate. You are the best.

  39. Dan Richardson June 17, 2020 at 4:54 pm -

    One item not on the list but reflective of the existing COVID-19 market is, some buyers believe appropriately priced homes are priced too high simply because of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, they are using their gut instead of market data.

  40. Paul Dukes June 18, 2020 at 9:09 pm -

    Hi, thank you for writing this article I have certainly picked up something new here.

  41. Mark September 3, 2020 at 10:48 am -

    This is great, thank you so much. I know how it is hard letting go of a house you’ve made memories in (winks at anyone who leaves personal decors on a house they put out for sale). This is a lot of good advice!

  42. We Buy Homes Near You September 23, 2020 at 1:44 am -

    Amazing Points! Thank you for sharing with us.

  43. Zoe Campos October 5, 2020 at 1:31 am -

    Thanks for warning me that overpricing our property might be the reason why it wouldn’t attract potential buyers. My husband and I have never sold off any houses before and we’re afraid that being inexperienced wouldn’t help us close a good deal with a client. It might be better to work with a real estate company around our area that can help us sell residential properties quickly.

  44. Victor Vickery December 18, 2020 at 12:28 am -

    Nice Post! Thanks for sharing