Almost half of sellers won’t close the sale - MoneySense

Almost half of sellers won’t close the sale

As many as 40% of homes that are listed this spring won’t sell. While many factors contribute to the successful sale of a home, studies have found the most important factor is the listing price.


Did you just list your home for sale? Then be prepared: approximately 40% of you won’t end up selling your home.

That’s what University of Guelph professor Paul Anglin found when he studied how failed attempts to sell a home either prompted sellers to either relist immediately or wait between attempts.

While the study is now seven years old, and though we’ve seen a lot happen in those seven years, it still begs the question: why aren’t those houses selling?

While Anglin found that dissatisfaction with a realtor was a factor, the single largest reason for a house not selling was an inflated listing price.

In fact, additional studies (such as the Merlo and Ortalo-Magne study) show that up to 35% of sellers will lower their list price by an average of 3.3% while the listing is still active. On a $350,000 home that’s a price adjustment of $11,550.

What can you do?

  • Boost your curb appeal. Pay a bit for a new paint job or some plants — anything to increase the wow factor for sellers who see your home for the first time.
  • List when it’s most competitive. If the home shows well, list in the spring or fall, when most sellers are out buying.
  • Stage your own home, keeping in mind the 3-D rule: De-personalize, de-clutter and design.
  • Pay attention to smells and sights. If you have a dog, consider boarding him during the duration of the sale and then thoroughly scrub your place. If you have dark rooms, consider buying bigger and brighter light fixtures.
  • Play up the rooms, particularly the bedrooms. Help people see the space and potential of each room.

You should also:

  • Get your market comparables – not just on prices, but also the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and other rooms within the home. If you can, go to open houses that are listed in your area to get an idea of what people are offering.
  • Be realistic with how your home measures up to other houses in the area.
  • Be realistic about what you’ll get back on your renovations. Your backyard hot tub and lounge patio may have cost you $15,000 to install, but another buyer may not see the value.
  • For more tips, see our Guide to Buying and Selling Your Home (on sale at retail locations across the country) or read Get Top Dollar for Your Home.