Las Vegas home sellers have benefited from a hot market for years, but with more houses available this year, supply-and-demand equilibrium seems to be taking shape. That means there are fewer bidding wars on properties and some sellers might need to wait a little longer for that equity cash-out.
While most real estate experts still see Las Vegas as a hot market, reality has certainly set in.
“Buyers have options. It’s important for sellers to remember that,” said Chris Patrick, a Realtor with Signature Real Estate Group in Las Vegas.
If your property has been sitting on the market longer than you expected, here are 10 possible reasons why.
Your price is too high
Past double-digit percentage home appreciation rates coupled with flattering Zillow valuations have some sellers thinking their home is worth more than the market commands.
“I go through all the comps in the neighborhood. I look at how long they were on the market, their upgrades, and tell them why some properties may have sold for more than others,” said Joannie Williams, a Realtor with Executive Realty Services in Las Vegas. “Everyone loves Zillow, but that’s not really accurate information.”
Patrick, who says listings make up about 95 percent of his business, also counts overpricing as the No. 1 reason a home sits unsold.
“The thing sellers need is showings. The more overpriced you are, the fewer showings you’re going to get,” he added.
You’re taking a negotiator’s approach
When overpricing their homes, some sellers make the mistake of taking a negotiator’s stance. They think they should price it at least slightly higher than where they know it would sell because they’re convinced a buyer will come in quite a bit lower.
“They use a negotiation strategy that they would for selling a used couch on Craigslist,” Patrick added. “In real estate, buyers want to look at something that doesn’t feel overpriced.”
Your home isn’t updated
If your home is built in the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, that alone isn’t a deal killer, Williams said. However, too many homeowners with older properties assume that the buyer knows updating will be needed. Leaving in tile countertops, vinyl floors, white appliances and old carpet is an absolute no-no, she emphasized.
“If it looks refreshed, it will get showings. … Bottom line, everyone still wants a turnkey home. It needs to be painted, cleaned and updated with new appliances and granite in the kitchen. Those are the things buyers look for,” she said.
Your photos aren’t good
This is a pet peeve for Patrick. The longtime agent uses a professional real estate photographer for his listings and said snapping photos with a phone is not the way to go.
A real estate photographer understands angles for showing the depth of a room and how light can illuminate the best parts of a home. A good photographer can color correct, too.
“I think this is the most important part of a listing. … It’s your first impression. If the buyer doesn’t like the photos, they certainly won’t want to come out to look at the home,” he said.
Your home smells
Do not attempt to disguise scents with air fresheners, Williams cautioned. If you have pet or other odors in the home, address them before listing it. If someone smoked in the home, a thorough duct cleaning might be in order or other remediation.
“You have to remember that so many people have allergies today and people are just sensitive to smells,” she added.
You have extreme wall colors
Extremely bright or dark paint colors, as well as mismatched colors, throughout the home can be a turnoff, Patrick said, and he recommends sticking with neutral colors.
“Most people are there to observe. They don’t want to have to try to envision the home differently. … It can be hard for them to see beyond a loud or obnoxious paint color. It throws them off. For a few thousand dollars you can get the whole house painted, and that’s well worth the investment,” he said.
You underestimate new-home competition
Because buyers are seeking move-in-ready homes, they might not have the patience to deal with homes that need too much updating.
Also, many new home subdivisions are offering incentives on upgrades or financing that can really increase competition.
If you have new developments near your home, it pays to research them closely. Walk through the model homes and read about incentives to understand your competition.
“After a while, some buyers just say ‘I’ll compromise some square footage and a larger lot to just move in and not worry about fixing or upgrading anything,’ ” Williams said.
You make showings difficult
If you demand that buyers see the home when you’re there, that can be a deal killer. Buyers want to be left alone when they view a home, Williams said.
Also, if you have strict limitations for when the house can be shown, there is a good chance people will cross your property off a list.
“Buyers have their own schedules, too,” Patrick said. “They want to see it when it works for them. You have to make it easy.”
Your pets are standing in the way
Before a showing, take your pet dog or cat with you when you leave the property, if possible, and don’t forget to make sure you’ve cleaned up after them before you leave.
Pets are one reason buyers prefer to view empty homes instead of owner-occupied ones, and some buyers might even be afraid of animals, Williams said.
Your agent doesn’t have a marketing plan
There is more to selling a home than entering it into the Multiple Listing Service, Patrick said. A listing agent should present a thorough market analysis, prelisting strategy, talk about mailers and open houses, explain all the online resources used and more.
“If an agent can’t explain the marketing plan, then he probably doesn’t have one,” Patrick added.