Why is My Apartment not Selling?
1 May 2020
Today I’m going to tell you how to speed up the sale of your apartment without losing tens of thousands on unnecessary discounts right at the start. That’s right if you want to earn money, the first thing you should not do is lose them on seemingly small mistakes that cost a lot compared to the sums you handle while selling flats.
WHY IS MY APARTMENT NOT SELLING? WHY CAN’T I FIND A BUYER FOR MY APARTMENT?
This question keeps coming up more and more often. Why is my apartment not selling? If you think about it too, you’re in a good place. Today I would like to raise 5 issues regarding the sale of an apartment, which may be crucial for your balance (and nerves).
Let’s say you’re a person looking for a flat, who even bookmarked one of the ads to call the owner later. However, you can see at the first glance that some changes need to be made and you’re not thrilled with renovations. You find another ad – the photos look beautiful and you could probably move into the apartment right away! You leave the topic for later and in a month you’ll be browsing ad portals again, you’re in no hurry. The first apartment has already been reduced by 20 thousand. You call the owner of the second one and… unfortunately, it’s sold.
How does it make you feel? You can see that if something looks good a lot of people want it and you subconsciously feel the pressure. Because if you don’t decide fast enough, someone will be there first. What about the first flat? Well, there’s probably something wrong with it since nobody wants to buy it for such a long time and the price has already been reduced twice. It’s possible that people who have seen it had found some flaws so you don’t want to get into that.
HANGING APARTMENT CREATES A VICIOUS CIRCLE
Conclusion? If there’s a flat on the market that doesn’t sell, the vicious circle starts. People who have been looking through the ads for a long time begin to suspect that something is wrong with it. The reason may be completely different, e.g. the owner gave a high price at the beginning, there was no interest, and he waited too long with discounts. Because of this, now others think that the apartment is simply not worth attention. Another reason? The apartment wasn’t encouraging to look at, there wasn’t enough information or photos in the ad, or there were much more interesting offers in the area, so now it just hangs somewhere in the Internet abyss.
That’s why it is so important to think thoroughly about the offer price and prepare the apartment before you throw it on the portals, even if you are only doing it for testing purposes. Many brokers use archive offers, even when you remove your test offer they can still come back to it. It may turn out that at the beginning the price was too low, there was too much interest, so the owner just took off the ad and then issued it at a higher price. The brokers and customers who have seen the previous ad already have information on how much the owner actually wants. This gives them a stronger negotiating position. To sell the flat then, either these interested people will have to agree to a raise (which is mentally hard), or the owner will have to look for new customers.
SPEED UP THE SALE OF APARTMENT, USE A SIMPLE TIP
PRO TIP FOR TODAY: If you don’t want to think about how to speed up the sale of apartment when it’s too little too late, make sure to do these things before posting the ad: check the prices, prepare the apartment and make it look attractive, take good photos and write a great ad. Don’t do “blind tests” that might just hurt you later, because you’ll earn less or you’ll come to a moment when you start asking yourself: “why doesn’t my apartment sell?” Someone can tell you that they have seen your ad before at a lower price, or they have seen it six months ago, so they know nobody wanted it. It’s a pretty tough position to negotiate from.
IS IT ALWAYS NECESSARY TO PREPARE THE APARTMENT AND HOME STAGE IT?
Yes, it is. Wouldn’t it be better to just lower the price proportionally to the extent of the renovations needed instead of investing time and money for fixing, painting, and decorating? No! Why? Apart from the issues raised above, there’s something called the psychology of the imagined costs. Let’s say the fixing and painting will cost 3 thousand. In the head of a client looking at the apartment and seeing its flaws, the costs are often much higher. They’ll probably say “For all the things that need to be done here you have to lower the price by at least 20 thousand!”. That’s why you need to make sure the flat is in good condition and has no flaws. Fix what needs to be fixed, paint what needs to be painted, because that’s how you save money on negotiations later.
BESIDES, PEOPLE NOWADAYS ARE COMFORT-LOVING
Besides, people nowadays are comfort-loving – we want everything to be ready, we don’t like making an unnecessary effort. That’s why some of the clients will pull back without even calling. Why? Because they don’t want to get their hands dirty with renovations. The market is full of ready-to-move-in apartments that don’t need any extra time or money to be put in so even if someone is mentally prepared for some small finishing touches, they will always choose the ready-to-move-in flat instead of the one needing even a small renovation. It’s easier and less problematic.
One more thing just came to my mind. Buildings are settling, walls are cracking, people who bought a new apartment know that. People changing apartments for the first time and seeing cracks on the wall might fear that the ceiling will fall on their heads. The same goes for damp patches. A neighbor has flooded you once, and the trace was left because nobody wanted to take care of it. The client is looking at the apartment and has the worst visions in his head, including faulty plumbing in the whole block. Seriously, buying a flat is a big deal for people and if something makes them uncertain, they postpone the decision to buy or withdraw completely.
WHAT DOES YOUR APARTMENT SAY ABOUT YOU?
The way the flat looks tells the client how much you cared about it. If the small things in the apartment are well cared for, it looks fresh, there are no holes in the floor or cracked and dirty walls the good impression extends to the whole apartment. Because if somebody took care of small things, the whole apartment seems to be completely neat (and so it should be). Turning it the other way around, if someone hasn’t made an effort to do small repairs regularly, how will the bigger ones look? That is the moment when the warning lights turn up in the customer’s head.
Remember, you can only make the first impression once. If you don’t stand out people won’t even click your ad let alone call, meet, or buy. And when they come interested in buying it would be a waste to lose them because of squeaky doors or fungous silicone in the shower, right? Unfortunately, these are the details that make my clients call me and ask “Why is my apartment not selling? It doesn’t look bad, it’s quite decent”. Well, decent isn’t good enough to reach the dream sale price.
INSTEAD OF MAKING CHANGES AND MOVING THE FURNITURE, CAN’T YOU JUST TELL THE CUSTOMER WHAT THEY CAN CHANGE LATER TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER?
Not really. Why? Because most people simply can’t imagine how an apartment will look like after the changes. They just see what you show them. For example, a cluttered apartment with so little space that the owners want to move out as soon as possible. Or a flat that is quite ok in terms of space but looks a bit… old and unattractive, and also this unpleasant smell from the bathroom…
Do you think Ikea would have been as successful if they just presented furniture in cardboard boxes with a photo showing how they look like after assembly and a description of functionality? Instead of creating entire apartments and the atmosphere you want to be in all the time, they could have just taken a shortcut. How many people would then be able to imagine the potential of their furniture just by looking at flat cardboard packages?
WHY PREPARE AN APARTMENT FOR SALE WHEN LATER ON EVERYONE WILL DO IT THEIR WAY ANYWAY?
This is my favorite question. If we don’t show them how nice the flat can look, they might not even be interested. We can prepare it the right way and make it look functional and cozy. Maybe then the clients won’t change anything and even if they do it their way, after all, they bought the apartment because they liked what they saw. And that’s why they were able to imagine themselves living in this particular flat.
Of course, they can do it their way later but… when you look at an apartment that doesn’t look like a place you want to live in even in the slightest it’s difficult to say if the net result will be satisfactory. We all prefer products in pretty packages even though they end up in the trash. They make the product itself seem better, more interesting, and in the end more desirable.
Just as everyone wants to buy a well-groomed and polished car – and that costs a lot less than a flat, so everyone looks for an apartment in the best possible condition. By the way, I wonder why cars are always put up for sale washed, polished, vacuumed, and in a beautiful scenery. And flats are not even cleaned sometimes.
“WHY IS MY APARTMENT NOT SELLING” IS A WRONG QUESTION
Have you ever wondered why someone would want to buy your apartment? You want to sell it, I know. But often we ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking “why my flat is not selling” it’s good to reflect on something else. Why should the client choose your offer from hundreds or thousands of others? Do you know what your advantage is? What will make a client browsing through the offers choose yours? What will make them decide to call you and arrange a meeting instead of closing the browser?
I will answer these questions in the next article and in the meantime if you want to speed up the sale of your flat download a free fragment of my e-book “Home Staging. How to effectively prepare an Instagram interior to make good money on it.” You will find there a helpful list of home diagnoses to be made before Home Staging, as well as a Home Staging checklist. These things will help you start preparing for a successful property sale.