By Lolly Spindler

Having a listing that won’t sell is an incredibly frustrating situation. Why can’t you get that home sold? Here are the top 10 reasons a home won’t sell and what you can do to remedy the situation.

top 10 reasons a home won't sell

1. The House is Overpriced

This is usually the number one reason a home won’t sell. An overpriced home just isn’t a practical investment for most home buyers. As should’ve been revealed in the comparative market analysis (CMA), what other, comparable homes have recently sold for should give you a good estimation of a reasonable selling price for the listing in question.

If the seller is standing in the way or insists on a higher selling price due to his/her emotional attachment to the home, try to help him/her be more objective regarding the true value of the property.

2. The House was Recently Purchased

According to a recent report by Redfin, homes that were purchased or refinanced in the past seven years aren’t likely to sell in the current market. This is because buyers are more likely to buy a home that has been occupied by the current owner for more than seven years.

3. It’s a Buyer’s Market

If the current market is a buyer’s market, meaning there are a lot of homes on the market to choose from, then the home may not be selling due to tough competition. If it’s a possibility, you may decide to take the home off the market and wait for inventory to drop.

4. The House is Overly Personalized

You want buyers to imagine themselves living in the home, so make sure your clients remove or store their personal items. It’s rare that a buyer will have the same taste as the seller, so making the house as neutral as possible is your best bet. Making the house less cluttered and more tidy will also make buyers feel more comfortable in the home.

5. The Seller is Inflexible

If you are having difficulty with your clients, it may be time to sit them down for a chat. Some sellers are inflexible with showing times and don’t make their homes as accessible and available as possible. With these clients, you need to reinforce that their lack of flexibility will result in their home spending a longer time on the market, and the longer a home is on the market, the lower the selling price will be. Furthermore, reinforce that if the house doesn’t get shown, it won’t get sold.

6. The House Isn’t in the Best Location

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about this. Real estate really is about location, location, location, and if the property isn’t in a good spot, it may take a while to sell. Make sure the sellers know that they may need to come down on the asking price in order to find a buyer.

7. The House is Poorly Planned

Once again, there’s not much you can do about a poor floor plan. However, sellers can incentivize prospective buyers by offering to pay for the home warranty or the services of an interior designer.

8. The House is in Need of Some TLC

If it’s obvious to the naked eye that the home needs some TLC, it won’t sell very quickly—if at all. Encourage sellers to give their property a facelift by doing small things like repainting certain rooms, making small repairs, replacing fixtures, and doing some landscaping. Buyers interested in fixer-uppers are few and far between these days, and two-income families want to spend the weekend relaxing, not repairing.

9. The House Smells Bad

This may seem like more of a cosmetic issue, but you’d be surprised how many potential buyers are turned off to a home because of a bad smell. Whether the sellers forget to take out the trash, have pets, or are smokers, they need to make sure their home smells spiffy when it comes time to show. Recommend that sellers get a professional cleaning done before any showings are scheduled, and, if necessary, to have carpet cleaning and furniture cleaning performed as well.

Experienced Realtor Bill Gassett recommends an ozone machine for those hard-to-get-rid-of odors. According to Bill, “An ozone generator will not only remove pet odors, but other troublesome odors caused by mold and mildew, fire, water damage and others.”

10. The House is Too Hot or Too Cold

Just like Goldilocks likes her porridge, buyers like seeing homes that are at just the right temperature. Selling in the summer? Turn on the air conditioning unit to a comfortable temperature. Selling in the winter? Pump up the heater so prospective buyers aren’t shivering during showings just waiting to escape to their warm car. Yes, sellers may need to spend a bit more on their electricity and/or gas bills, but if buyers aren’t comfortable in the home, they won’t take the time to see it.


Encountering problems that are keeping a listing on the market—especially if due to uncooperative clients—is one of the most exasperating things an agent can experience. If you find a home that’s not selling due to one of the aforementioned problems, try to work with your clients to remedy the situation as soon as possible. On the other hand, if the seller won’t budge on lowering the price or fixing up the home, it may be time to say goodbye and focus on more profitable uses of your time.


Have you experienced any other problems when selling a house? Please let us know in the comments below.


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