10 Things That Will Keep Your Home From Selling In Todays Housing Market

Dated: October 9 2023

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10 Things That Will Keep Your Home From Selling in Today’s Housing Market

10 Things That Will Keep Your Home from Selling in Today's Housing Market


In today’s housing market, the Pinellas County area has seen record growth. However, as many homeowners already know, while home prices continue to grow, the market has slowed and the number of homes selling has declined in the past 12 months. As buyers struggle with rising interest rates, they have become more selective than ever when it comes to buying a home. Many buyers are choosing to buy completely updated homes or new construction homes that require little to no improvements after closing, in order to offset the costs of buying down their mortgage rates.


For many sellers, this has become worrisome, as homes with deferred maintenance or homes in need of updating have begun to sit on the market week after week. However, if your home is in need of updating, all hope is not list! Homeowners can still get top dollar for their homes, even if they need a little updating, if they do a few simple things to prepare to sell. Below, we’re sharing a list of 10 things that will keep your home sitting on the market and how to remedy them.


10 Things That Keep Your Home from Selling:


  • Unpleasant Odors- One of the #1 things we hear sellers complain about is unpleasant odors when they walk inside a home for sale. The worst offender is cigarette smoke odors. The 2nd is pet smells. If you’re a smoker, consider hiring a company to treat the smoke smell in your home before you list it for sale. Even if you think there’s no odor, non-smokers will pick up on it immediately. Have lots of pets or dogs that shed a lot? Your home probably smells like animals to buyers, especially buyers that don’t own pets. If it rains or gets especially humid outside, the odors from carpets and furniture can smell even stronger on rainy/humid days. Don’t want to hire someone to help deodorize your home? You can rent or purchase an ozone machine that will eliminate smoky smells and pet odors from your home.


  • Your Home is Not Clean Enough- We always recommend sellers give their home a good deep cleaning before listing their home for sale (this also helps eliminate odors). Floors, counters, appliances, blinds/windows should be sparkling clean and free of dust and debris before buyers come inside for showings. Be sure to dust off baseboards, scrub bathrooms to a shine, and clean ceiling fans/air filters as well. Our team has shown many homes over the years and one of the main things other than odor that will chase a buyer right out the door is excessive dirt and grime when they walk into a house. If you don’t have time to do the deep cleaning on your own, consider hiring a cleaning company to help. It will be money well spent.


  • Too Much Clutter- Homes over-filled with fake plants, lots of small trinkets, collectible knick-knacks, accent décor, and lots of wall art, can also keep buyers from making offers. Buyers can be easily distracted by overly cluttered homes (even if it’s organized) and the living space will often feel smaller. Buyers tend to see multiple homes per week, if not per day, and you want them to remember how great the interior space, location, and condition of your home is, not the décor that may not suit their personal taste. A good rule of thumb to follow when prepping your home for sale is to make sure there are no more than 3 décor items on any shelves, bookcases, or counters. Limit wall décor to one or 2 items per wall and make sure they compliment the style of the rest of your home. Avoid extreme colors and personal photos as well. You’ll be moving soon anyway, so pack up those items now!


  • Extreme Paint or Wallpaper Colors- Not only do dark, rich wall colors not photograph well, they can keep buyers from making an offer on your home. Again, buyers won’t be able to envision themselves or their belongings in a home that tailored to the owner’s personal taste. If you own a large home, buyers may feel discouraged at the thought of repainting a large space. Neutralize wall colors, remove old or dark shades of wallpaper, and make it easy for home buyers to envision themselves living in your home. Colors like orange, red, black, and very dark shades of blue will also make your home look much smaller in the listing photos. Things like fresh paint and new carpet can transform a home into a dazzling space in a matter of days.


  • Low-Quality Listing Photos- Regardless of who you list your home with, bad listing photos can make or break a sale. Homes should never be listed with cell phone photos, blurry or pixelated photos, and images that are dark or poorly lit.  Again, dark paint, clutter, and even dark furnishings can make a space appear small and undesirable to buyers. It’s important to remember that the listing photos and listing price in the MLS are the “bait” that get the buyers in the door. Make sure both of these items are handled by a professional when you decide to sell your home.


  • Too Much Furniture or Furnishings That are Too Large For The Space- Everyone has that one piece of furniture they love that will travel with them from house to house, regardless of whether or not it compliments the space. However, when it’s time to list your home for sale, furnishings that don’t fit a space well can make your home appear dated and smaller than it really is. Small bedrooms with overly large beds or oversized dressers are a big culprit here, as well as oversized sectional sofas and reclining chairs. We recommend staging your home if you’re not occupying the space any longer or selling/storing furnishings that are too large for the space. If you’re downsizing in your next home, those pieces likely won’t fit anyway. While it can feel costly to stage or re-furnish a home to sell it, it will cost a homeowner even more when it comes to the final sale price they collect if buyers feel cramped when they tour your home.


  • Not Enough Lighting- Buyers want to walk into a light and bright home, not a dark cave. Be sure your home is well-lit, with not just natural sunlight, but also floor lamps and overhead lighting. Make sure the light fixtures on ceiling fans are in proper working order. Replace burnt out lightbulbs in recessed light fixtures and add some table or floor lamps to dark rooms. If you know you have showings while you’re at work, leave the blinds open on your way out the door so agents and buyers don’t walk into a dark home before they get the lights on. Check light switches and dimmers to make sure they’re in proper working order. This is especially important to do before you have listing photos taken as well.


  • Overgrown Yards- The last things buyers want to envision themselves doing is hours of yardwork right after they buy a home. If your flowerbeds, trees, shrubs and lawn are overgrown, get a landscaper over ASAP! This is especially true if the front yard is overgrown. Trimming back large trees is a must-do, as home inspectors and pest inspectors will also note any branches touching a home. Not only do overgrown plants look unsightly in listing photos and in person, overgrown trees can damage roofs and allow rodents and other pests to gain easy access to your home. Before listing your home for sale, be sure to trim back plants, add sod to bare spots on the lawn, mulch and weed flower beds, add some colorful flowers or shrubs where needed, and basically make the exterior shine as much as the interior. If you have a pool, be sure to pressure wash or clean the patio pavers as well. Your pool should be free of debris during showings.


  • You Stay During Showings- Do not do this. Ever. I repeat, Do. Not. Do. This. Buyers should be supervised by a licensed real estate professional when they enter your home. Electronic lock boxes ensure that only licensed Realtors can unlock them. There’s no need for you to be there and it WILL make the buyers uncomfortable, even if they are too polite to say anything. A home showing is a time for buyers to walk through a home and speak freely to their Realtor without feeling like they might be offending a homeowner with their comments and questions. They do not want to be supervised and followed around. As much as you may want to show them all the features of your home, it is a terrible idea to supervise showings as a homeowner. Have your Realtor attend showings if you’re concerned and be sure all the home’s best features are listed in the MLS description. This goes for the home inspection too, which is a great time for buyers to make notes, measure spaces, and more (without the seller’s presence). Buyers should never be in your home without their Realtor, who will also attend the home inspection with them. This is also one of the reasons homes listed “by owner” often sell for less money than homes listed with a Realtor.


  • You Priced Your Home Based on an Online Estimate or Calculator- There’s a reason popular real estate websites can’t call the home values they post “true market values” or “appraisal values.” 9 times out of 10, online home estimates are just that, estimates- and they are often wildly incorrect. They are based on a simple average of recent sale prices in your neighborhood and don’t take into account updates, deferred maintenance issues, floor plans, and more. All of these things can drastically affect the value of your home. For example, your neighbor may have sold their home for $500k and now the online real estate websites are valuing your home at $650k, because it has more square footage than  your neighbor’s. However, your neighbor’s home was updated top to bottom, had a pool, a brand new roof, and a 2-car garage. Your home has no pool, a shingle roof that’s 15 years old (which is tough to insure in Florida), a choppy floor plan, and a 1-car garage. The online real estate websites typically take NONE of that into account when they assign a price to your home. Buyers are extremely sensitive to home pricing in today’s market. Today’s buyers are more educated than ever before when it comes to home prices and will overlook overpriced homes. Price your home carefully with your Realtor to make sure it’s priced correctly and never accept a home value from a website or a Realtor/investor that hasn’t seen your home in person.


For More advice or information about selling your home in the Pinellas County area of Tampa Bay, give us a call at (727) 398-2310 or message us directly here. We'd love to help you buy or sell your next home! With over 35 years of local expertise in the Pinellas County housing market, we have all the info you need to help your next move go smoother than ever. 


The Sandy Hartmann Group

Christie's International Real Estate


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Andrea Hartmann

Andrea is the Managing Partner of The Sandy Hartmann Group and runs the team alongside Sandy Hartmann. She would love to talk to you about real estate! Andrea was born and raised in the Tampa Bay a....

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