While the demand for homes in New Jersey has increased due to a decline in the number of homes in the market by 15 to 20 percent in the past year, it is still very important to ensure that your home is prepared for selling. Competition is fierce among listings, and even the simplest mistakes can add up cost you a sale! 

Here are the top reasons why homes don't sell and what you can do to avoid making those mistakes!

1. Photo Arrangement

Transient attention is a short-term response to a stimulus that temporarily attracts/distracts attention. Essentially this is the kind of attention where a person's interest is captured by something. Most researchers say that the average span for this is 8 seconds, one second less than a goldfish. What this means for you is that you have less than 8 seconds to capture AND sustain interest in your home.

The way most real estate apps and websites are set up, only the first photo of a home is shown and to get to the next photo, you need to click on the next one and so on. The problem with this arrangement is that almost all Realtors and For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers put the front of the home as the first photo, and unfortunately, nearly all homes’ best photos aren’t the front of the house. And with an eight-second attention span, most potential buyers may never have the patience to get to the best photo or features of the home and will click to the next property.

Solution: Use the five best pictures of your home as the first five photos. Most people that have clicked through the property's top five photos will continue to click away to see the others.

2. Price Band

Most people list their homes with prices that have 9’s instead of whole numbers. For example, instead of listing a property at $300,000, sellers commonly set it at $299,999. This is a major mistake! Most real estate websites and apps set their price bands to end in whole numbers. For example, Zillow’s price bands are in intervals of $50,000, so that a search starting with $300,000 would yield $300,000 to $350,000 and so on.

When a home is priced at $299,999, none of the buyers searching from $300,000 to $350,000 would see the home in that search. What makes it worse is that the lower price band buyer is at their limit, while the higher price banded buyer would be at their starting point. If the property is on the market for $300,000, both sets of customers would be able to see the home in their search.

Solution: If possible, price the home in a way that it spans both price bands.

3. Not doing your research

Before going into any venture, it is always important to make sure that you have done your research. The same applies to selling your home. Unfortunately, hardly any real estate agents or FSBO sellers check to see if there are any open permits, violations, or additional liens on the property. Imagine being less than a week from closing and then finding out that there's still an open permit, violation, or additional lien on the home. Not only is it an inconvenience, it also means a loss of money!

Solution: Have your attorney or Realtor guide you in the right direction and make sure you can do your due diligence on your home before putting it on the market.

4. Using Social Media

While a lot of people think they understand how to use social media for marketing, only about two percent actually know and understand what to do. One big mistake most realtors and sellers do when using social media to market a house is that they put too much information online, giving the potential buyer no reason to get more details from the real estate agent or seller. 

Solution:  This solution is a lot more complicated compared to others. One of the most important things to do is to not give all the information in the ad. Think of it more like a movie preview that gets you excited to come back and watch the whole feature film!! We ultimately want the buyer to connect with the listing agent and set an appointment to see the home in REAL LIFE! If your agent is a pro at social media advertising, they will know everything about the most likely buyer to target. Bottom line, interview agents and ask specifics about their social media strategy that will help sell YOUR home.

5. Making Your Home Photo Ready

A seller only has one chance to make a first impression to buyers who have a lot of options in the market. It's imperative that a home is actually photo-ready or ready to be shown. Many times sellers are in the rush to get their home on the market but beware. 

Solution: Don’t be in such a rush to get the home on the market. Spend more time upfront getting the home staged, personal photos removed, and decluttered, and make a great first impression. The beginning of a listing is YOUR leverage to get the best price and the most interest. Don't lose that edge by not being ready! Make sure you ask your agent if they give you professional staging advice and have recommended contractors who can help get your home ready quickly!

6. Hiring Your Agent

Who you hire as your agent, matters. Make sure you interview and have specific questions for the agents. Find out their marketing plan. Is it innovative? Are they knowledgeable on all of the important factors above? Do not make the mistake of hiring an agent simply because they're a relative or friend. While trust is a HUGE factor in choosing a trusted advisor, innovative digital combined with traditional marketing, is critical!

Solution: Interview Realtors you find one that has an effective marketing plan of action with proven results and testimonials from satisfied clients.

7. Choosing Your Network

The average agent will send an email blast to every client and Realtor on the list on every listing they have for sale. It may sound like a good idea, but the truth is, it's not. Almost always, there are a large number of people on an email list who aren't interested in the email. They could live in a different area, are simply not interested in the topic, or have numerous other reasons. 

Over time, when people keep receiving emails that aren't pertinent to them, they will begin to ignore the rest of the messages sent to them. Also, if enough reports of spam are communicated by those receiving the emails, that sender can be blacklisted, which means that their emails will automatically go to the spam folder.

Solution: Categorize the recipients who receive your email.  It only makes sense to send an email related to a person's interest once a week, versus sending them daily blasts for something they will not even look at. Sending smaller targeted email campaigns (also known as bursts) to relevant groups will also increase the open rates substantially, causing the emails to have a much lower chance of going to a spam folder and a much higher chance of engagement and connection and being of VALUE!  

8. Using Professionals

The average agent doesn't have a budget to do marketing in the right way. Many will take the property photos themselves on their iphones or their DSLR cameras. If they happen to do a video, they will usually do it on their own and do it as a slideshow with still photos. 

As mentioned earlier, a seller only has one chance to make a great first impression. Doing photos and videos without a true professional is a HUGE mistake. Take a look at the difference in our photos over other company's. We choose the best shots that give the best first impression.

Solution: Spend the money! Beautiful photos and presentation, MATTERS! It attracts more attention, causing it to be seen by more interested buyers (Facebook algorithm). Strategies matter and intentional marketing is the only option to help get your home the attention is needs to get it SOLD!

9. Viewing Schedule

Time is important to anyone. To ensure efficiency and to make the most out of a potential buyer's time, an agent may schedule multiple showings for a client. If your home is not available when asked, the buyers' real estate agent may or may not actually come back another day.

Solution: Always keep your house show ready. Don't lose any opportunities to show and sell! Make sure to have a plan that covers all possibilities should your home need to be viewed on short notice. You can also give the Realtor a key to the home, so they or a team member can show the home when no one is at the house.

10. Your Perspective

Using home automated sites available, most of the time sellers and agents may look at the estimates and average them out to get a list price for the home. Or, they will look at previous sales and determine the price based on those things. The problem with these methods is that they are inconsistent. Sometimes these site's estimates are off the mark, either being too high or too low. Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, recently sold his home for forty percent less than Zillow’s Zestimate.

Solution: Look at your home through a buyer's eyes. Remember, you are competing with individuals who not only want to sell but HAVE TO SELL. Look at what the current competition is for the subject property, what similar properties have recently sold, and what direction the market is heading. The most motivated buyers are looking at the market and inventory numerous times a day and know exactly what homes are selling for and all of the properties for sale. Look for an agent who is aware of all of these things and get your home sold in the quickest time frame possible.