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Tuesday, November 16, 2021   /   by Laura Larson


Even when you’re trying your hardest and the market is hot, sometimes a house doesn’t sell. No matter how experienced you are in real estate, this may happen to you. You still have a chance of selling a home, but you have to know why buyers aren’t biting.

Why a House Might Not Be Selling in a Hot Market
The current state of the housing market benefits from low inventory and high demand. In theory, a home should sell as soon as you put it on the market, maybe even above the asking price. Sometimes, instead of pulling in higher offers, you may find yourself with a house that is not selling.

Maybe potential buyers have viewed the home, either online or in person, but no offers have come in after those viewings. If you’ve listed a home and six showings go by without any contract, you may have to reevaluate a few things. Before exploring the reasons a home isn’t selling, consider getting feedback from viewers. That feedback may help you determine:

  • How they found the listing — online, in a newspaper, or other means
  • If they think the price is fair
  • What they like and dislike about the home

Potential buyers and others who have seen the home can guide your strategy for selling a house. If you don’t get a clear answer through the feedback, you’ll have to dive deeper to see why the house is not selling.

Why a Listing Isn’t Closing?

You have three primary factors to deal with that impact whether or not a home you’ve listed will sell. Luckily, you can control these factors in some ways. Once you have a better understanding of what determines whether or not a house will sell quickly in a hot market, you can get back on track with selling the home. Real estate agents work with homeowners to navigate these obstacles and ensure the house sells.


The price of a home can be a draw or a deterrent. Real estate agents must balance between a price that’s too low or too high. Navigating a price is challenging when you have to consider what the homeowner wants and the current market. When a home isn’t selling, even in a hot market, you may have a problem with your pricing.

  • Too low: While most lower prices should drive competition and bring in offers over the asking price, some reduced costs deter potential buyers. They may assume the home needs plenty of repairs — and maybe it does. A real estate agent and a homeowner should agree on a price that reflects the home’s condition and meets the owner’s needs. But if the price is too low, you may never see a higher offer — or any at all. House hunters see the rock-bottom price of a home and think there is something wrong with it or the neighborhood.

  • Too high: Pricing a house too high won’t bring in any offers, at or below the asking price. You may be out of a potential buyer’s budget, or they may feel too intimidated to come in under asking. While some homes are worth the higher cost and most homeowners want to make a lot off their homes, real estate agents have to be realistic.

Finding the balance between an asking price that’s too low or too high helps you sell in a hot market. Real estate agents must work with clients to navigate pricing and explain if the profit you’re hoping to turn is unrealistic. Instead of setting a price based on what you’d like to get from an offer, consider other factors such as the following: 

  • Comps in the same area and neighborhood: Consider what other homes in the area have sold for when setting a price for your listing. As you evaluate other homes, consider their size and whether or not the owners have made any renovations. Make your asking price similar to a house with relevant specs that have been on the market recently. Real estate agents and appraisers use newer comps that have been on the market within three months for more accurate numbers.

  • An evaluation of market conditions: Real estate agents must analyze data from the current competitive market. In a hot market, you can increase your price slightly, since a potential buyer will be willing to spend a bit more. Be careful not to overprice, though.

  • How much work went into the home: If the homeowner had renovations done recently, take those into account. An improved property should draw in more potential buyers who will consider spending more on an updated house.

  • The quality of the area and neighborhood: The home for sale doesn’t exist in isolation. Real estate agents consider neighbors and their properties, the surrounding area, and more. Is the home in a good school district? Are there nearby heavily trafficked roads or train tracks? The better an area, the more leeway you have when setting a higher price. Be sure to emphasize positive points in write-ups about the home to explain why the price is higher.

If you justify an asking price that’s a bit more than a potential buyer might expect, you won’t have a problem with a house not selling. Real estate agents must explain to homeowners that a hot market means setting a higher price, but that price must be within reason.


The condition of the home you’re selling plays a large part in whether or not you get any offers. This factor plays off pricing, where fixer-uppers should have a lower price and renovated houses can have a higher asking price. Remember that these prices shouldn’t be too low or too high, and in the end, it’s best to have a renovated home. A real estate agent has trouble selling a home that is out of date, even in a hot market, because potential buyers fear:

  • Having to do renovations

  • Paying even more to restore a home

  • Hidden fees and issues that come up when renovating

  • Not moving in right away as they renovate

  • Living in a construction zone as they make repairs

The condition of the home you’re selling plays a large part in whether or not you get any offers. This factor plays off pricing, where fixer-uppers should have a lower price and renovated houses can have a higher asking price. Remember that these prices shouldn’t be too low or too high, and in the end, it’s best to have a renovated home. A real estate agent has trouble selling a home that is out of date, even in a hot market, because potential buyers fear:

A home that’s beautiful on the inside and out will get many potential buyers, especially in a hot market. While updating the curb appeal is a great start, it’s not usually enough to convince people to buy. Bring the renovations indoors to improve the home’s condition. As the real estate agent, advise your clients to make changes such as the following.

  • Structural and safety repairs: Replace the roof, update the heating and cooling and check for other types of damage. A potential buyer will appreciate a homeowner’s concern for safety and know it means they have fewer repairs to worry about down the line. Addressing issues like these also helps with home inspections.

  • Updated utilities and appliances: Old plumbing and faulty electrical systems might deter potential buyers. If a homeowner puts in the effort to update appliances, they should ensure that the utilities are up to date, as well. Updated plumbing and electrical systems give potential buyers peace of mind that they won’t have to deal with any issues shortly after buying the home. New appliances make a home look less outdated and draw in higher offers.

  • Aesthetic renovations: Make potential buyers feel at home in a stunning space. If you’re selling an older home, encourage the owners to make changes that bring the house into this century. Buyers today want updated fixtures and modern appearances. Re-paint brightly colored walls with neutral colors and examine the home for cosmetic damage.

  • Generic design choices: Some house hunters like character and unique homes. But you can’t know what niche decor a potential buyer will enjoy. It’s best to create a blank canvas that’s flexible for any type of viewer.

Many potential buyers may ask that you deduct repairs they need to make from the asking price. If the homeowner cannot fully renovate, it’s always best to do at least some updates. Homes in great condition, especially in a hot market, will have an easier time selling.


Getting a house to sell in a hot market is challenging if no one knows about the listing. If you haven’t marketed the home in a variety of ways, you make it harder for others to find the house. You can put a “For Sale” sign in the yard and hope individuals see it when they drive by. But passersby aren’t always house hunters, and some homes aren’t on well-traveled roads.

Instead of relying solely on signs or word of mouth, you’ll have to put in some work to get exposure. Some of the best methods for marketing a home include the following.

  • Print and digital ads: Real estate agents use physical and online forms of advertising to get the word out. Check out local and major newspapers and physical mail opportunities. Distribute flyers to neighbors who may know someone who’s house hunting. Remember to explore your online advertising options, as well, since they reach even more individuals.

  • Appropriately descriptive listings: Save longer descriptions for other marketing platforms. Use short sentences or bullet points in a listing with relevant details that will entice prospective buyers. Start with the basics from the size of the home and information about the rooms. Let possible buyers know the homeowners recently renovated. Consider adding the style of home, especially if it is a popular one.

  • Showcase homes on your homepage: Feature a home’s listing on the homepage of your site if you’re having trouble getting traction. Most potential buyers enter your website through the homepage. Show them a priority listing first thing so they’re more likely to visit it.

  • Send digital newsletters: When you’ve got a new listing or one that isn’t getting as many visits as you’d like, send out an email to your newsletter list. An email invites potential buyers to click through or learn more about the listing.

  • Create a blog post: Dedicate a blog post to your hard-to-sell listing. Incorporate keywords, listing information, and professional photos, then add more. Describe local areas that would appeal to buyers. Be sure to consider the audience for your listing, as well. If it’s a family home, talk about nearby parks or schools. Demonstrate your knowledge of the local area and invite buyers to contact you.

Most of those strategies won’t work without high-quality photos of the property. Potential buyers want to see the front exterior of a home, along with interior shots and a yard, if there is one. Select a photography business that specializes in real estate photos. They will know how to capture a home in the best way. You’ll get professional-quality images to upload to a listing, which lets you:

  • Show potential buyers the listing
  • Make your listing more appealing
  • Show off the home in a beautiful way
  • Encourage prospective buyers to visit in person

When you use images with a listing to get more exposure, you must do so in a productive way. While high-quality photos have a positive impact, low-quality shots have a negative effect. Bad real estate photos include:

  • Obvious, unrealistic editing
  • Grey or dreary skies
  • Poor lighting
  • People in the photo
  • Personal decors like collections or family photos
  • Amateur photos instead of professional
  • Clutter or a disorganized room

Avoid bad real estate photos to get the most out of your marketing strategies. Using a professional photographer can help your house sell 30 days faster, no matter the real estate market. Once you get a professional photographer, prepare the house for them.

Ensure your photographer is shooting in a place that is clean and organized. Keeping the current homeowner’s belongings in the shot makes a potential buyer feel like there is no space for them in that home. Invite buyers in with a semi-blank canvas. You should stage with simple yet beautiful furniture that makes the space feel bigger and doesn’t evoke any particular style.


The real estate market should work for you, especially in a competitive environment. If a house isn’t selling, make sure you and the homeowner put the work in to make it sell. Follow the advice above and remember these general tips:
  • Match the asking price with the quality of the home
  • Compromise with a lower price for homes that need more renovations
  • Use a smart marketing technique.