What’s Not Selling?

In June 2016, Retreat, Stuff by Cameron Walker

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Raleigh houses are selling faster than hot Krispy Kremes, well almost. According to the March 2016 Triangle Area Residential Realty Report, more than 50 percent of Wake County resale listings go under contract in less than 30 days. A balanced market has a six month supply of housing inventory; we have only two.

Our shortage of homes for sale makes this a true seller’s market, so why do some listings languish for months?

Not ready for their close-up

More than 92 percent of buyers search for their new homes online, according to the National Association of Realtors. But if a home doesn’t have virtual curb appeal, buyers will scroll on by.

“Buyers are visual,” says Carrie Schlegel, Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Go Realty. “Those are the houses that are sitting the longest, houses that aren’t staged well and photographed well.”

In the age of HGTV and Pinterest, buyers expect a well-groomed, professionally-photographed listing. An underwhelming presentation suggests that the sellers put the same lack of effort into caring for the home.

Fixer upper

By putting the burden of updates and repairs on the purchaser, sellers greatly narrow the field of eligible buyers. After shelling out for due diligence and earnest money fees, inspections, appraisal, closing costs and a down payment, buyers may not have any cash left to install new floors or update the bathrooms. Many would rather take on a greater mortgage payment to purchase a home that doesn’t need a facelift.

“If a home needs a lot of work, buyers perceive it as a challenge,” says Schlegel. “Even if it’s priced for needing work, buyers need to have the cash. It’s not as easy to build that into a mortgage anymore.”

It can also be a challenge to sell an older home in areas like Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina and Wake Forest, which are booming with new construction.

Pushing the price limit

“Because the current buyer pool is tremendous, homes in prime locations are selling above list and often above appraisal price,” says Jessie Hrivnak, listing partner with the Rachel Kendall Team.

However, many sellers overvalue their home and end up sitting on a property that won’t move.

“Houses that are way overpriced—that are trying to play the market too much—are not selling as quickly,” says Schlegel. The home may not appraise, and buyers could be out of luck.

More expensive homes generally take longer to sell. If it’s not priced in the sweet spot below $350,000 or so, a property can stay on the market much longer than its less-expensive peers.

According to the Triangle MLS (as of April 2016), among 587 single-family resale homes that have been on the market in Wake County for more than 60 days, the average price is $609,186; 374 of those listings were priced at $400,000 and above.

Other factors that could cause a home to sit on the market: strange smells, poor location, proposed zoning changes or the addition of new roads, RDU aircraft noise, a long listing history, lack of comparable properties nearby and even stigma as a house where violence occurred.

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