Given the pandemic fueled real estate market and historically low housing inventory, it can be difficult to understand why a home fails to sell. Yet, some sellers can’t find a buyer for their home. While the market cooled into late 2023, sellers still held sway in many regional and local markets. Greater Atlanta and the multiple submarkets, remain favorable to home sellers; particularly the properly positioned ones.

There can be several reasons why a home fails to sell. It often depends on a variety of factors related to the property, market conditions, and the marketing strategy used. Incompetence and indifference among agents is always in the mix. However, it’s not rocket science and many of the reasons will be traced directly back to the owner of the home. Ultimately, they run the entire show. 

Consider just how little inventory presently exists. Around Greater Atlanta, inventory is do 40%-55% from four years ago, yet some sellers fumble their home sale. You almost have to try to fail - ask Zillow, Redfin and other "disruptors" about that....


Why a Home Fails to Sell

Successfully selling a home is a series of steps and the very first one is properly selecting an agent. The recent lawsuit verdict and many still on the radar should be a clear warning to sellers; qualify your agent. Consider the responsibility placed upon that agent and spend the time to ensure they are skilled and capable A home that fails to sell has one or more of the below issues as the root cause:

  • The Owner: The owner of a home that fails to sell is ultimately responsible. They select their agent, set price and manage the entire process.
  • Agent: This is the first and most important step of the home selling process. In GA, agents handle all aspects of the transaction right to closing; fumble this most important part and things will be difficult at every step of the way.
  • Pricing: What a seller thinks, what they spent, what Zillow says…do not matter. The market (buyers) set price. Agents should prepare detailed appraisal level research and develop a data supported price range. After listing, feedback needs to be considered and adjustments made as needed. After a few weeks, homes that sit are pushed to the side, buyers think “what’s wrong with it”. Sellers must be unemotional about price and buyer reactions.  
  • Condition: Homes that are appealing and well presented will draw more attention. As rates hover in the 7% range, buyers lean toward homes they can move into without first doing major repairs. Many lack the extra funds. Present the home in the best condition possible. Staging and decluttering can make the space more appealing.
  • Poor Marketing: Effective and consistent marketing is key in selling a home. This includes professional photography, compelling listing descriptions, and utilizing various platforms to reach potential buyers. Make buyers request more information, that’s key in getting them into the home.
  • Location & Site: Buyers often shy away from homes with adverse external influences – busy roads, commercial uses, unappealing areas. Sites that are limited in use, too small, oddly shaped or have other adverse influences tend to push buyers away.  

Secondary Reasons Why a Home Fails to Sell

Every real estate market is fluid, things are in constant motion. While the above list are things that can be controlled by the home seller, there are influences that cannot be controlled and must be dealt with. As noted above, this is where a skilled agent is often the key to success. 

  • Economic Conditions: The overall economy, including interest rates, employment rates, and housing market trends, can impact how quickly homes sell.
  • Seasonality: Certain times of the year are more conducive to selling real estate. For example, the market might be slower during winter months in some regions.
  • Buyer Preferences: Sometimes, it's simply a matter of not finding the right buyer whose needs and preferences align with what your home offers. 

Selling a home can be a stressful and trying experience. The greater Atlanta market is balancing coming off the crazy pandemic run, 2023 was a slower year due to the rate hikes and owners reluctant to give up their low rates. However, home buyers were out there and remained engaged. Despite the consistent gloom and doom from the MSM, homes were selling. Every home will sell at the correct market price, it's up to the owner to listen to the buyers. Owners control this process and are ultimately responsible for their success or failure.

Early 2024 will continue to be a slack tide; largely the same as later '23. Over the year, rates are expected to ease down into the mid 6% range and inventory is expected to remain tight. Easing rates should stir the buyers, but there will be many variables. Home sellers should continue to hold the advantage, success is entirely in their hands.

Posted by Hank Miller on


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