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episode # 166

Why is My Home Not Selling in Vancouver? 7 Proven Ways to Course Correct

Having trouble selling your home? You are definitely not alone in Vancouver’s cooling housing market but that does not mean you should just sit back on your hands. Adam & Matt sit down this week to discuss the growing problem of stagnant listings and outline seven pro-tips that will re-invigorate any property type sitting on the market. There are ways to course correct and it is not too late. Adam & Matt have you covered!

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Episode Summary


About the episode:

This episode is for people who are trying to sell their Vancouver home in a market that has cooled. If you are asking yourself, “why has my home not sold?” this episode will provide 7 proven ways to course correct your listing and rejuvenate interest in your property.

It is a fact that most of the attention your property will receive from potential buyers is in the first 2 weeks after launch. These days, most people are on automated search programs that will provide immediate alerts for new listings. Realtors will see the listing on the ‘hot sheets’ on realtor level MLS and there will be a lot of attention directed to the property during this period. This will be the first impression people form of your property and you can make a positive first impression or a potentially negative first impression.

If your listing has been sitting on the market for an extended period of time, you may be tempted to continue to drop your price until the listing sells. This is not the best approach in this market and there are things you can do to ensure you take control of the narrative of your property and make sure you are not caught, “behind the 8 ball”.

7 proven ways to course correct your listing:

#1 – Get a new agent!

If you have been on the market 2-3 months with little or not action from buyers, you need to change it up. If a hockey team isn’t performing, you don’t fire the whole team – you fire the coach! The agent in this case is essentially the coach. It is most likely not the agent’s fault, but that is not the purpose of this exercise. The reason you would need to get a new agent is that you need fresh perspective and fresh energy. This will also allow you to remove any stigma from the property by wiping the narrative clean. Even though it was most likely not due to the actions of the agent, getting an new agent allows any stigma associated with the property to be directed at the old agent (rightfully or wrongfully) – allowing your property to be listed anew without that stigma.

#2 – Re-Stage  

You want to freshen up with listing. Staging a property is allowing a professional stager to view your home and provide suggestions on de-cluttering, furniture placement, accents and decorating. This is someone that will have an outside objective look at your property and give you feedback on how most people will view it. Staging can come at various levels: having a ‘consult’ where a stager makes suggestions to improve the way a property shows but using existing furniture, having the stager provide some additional furniture and input on how the property looks or having a full stage in which the stager provides all furniture and accents to make the home look its best possible. The goal is to make the property look its best for photos and showings.

#3 – Deep Clean!         

This might be obvious for most people, but your property has to be as clean as possible. We are talking ‘move out’ clean. In this market, people are looking for reasons to cross your property off the list. Gone are the days when people will look past a mess and see the potential of the property. By having a filthy property with uninviting smells, you are drastically limiting your property’s appeal to a large chunk of buyers.

Generally, a property that is dirty suggests to potential buyers that there are ‘other’ issues with the maintenance of the property; the feeling is that the dirtiness is symptomatic of a larger issue with the home. This may only be a perception and the home might be in great shape, but this is the psychology of buyers looking at a messy listing.

Get a professional to clean it! We are talking about a deep clean – your oven, fridge, toothbrush in the grout. This could cost upwards of $500 for a large space, but it will be worth the cost to attract as many buyers as possible to the space.

#4 –  Re-paint and Fix Minor Imperfections      

You need to address any minor issue that a buyer will object to with your property. In a hot market, buyers will look past things like new paint and small renovations and see the potential of your property. As the market continues to cool, buyers start to take their time and their psychology changes. They no longer see small paint chips as something they can easily address, but as additional work that the next place they are seeing probably won’t have.

We don’t suggest that you spent lots of money on remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, but a new coat of paint can go a long way to making your home as attractive as possible. Use bright, neutral colors that give the space an airy feel – this is what buyers in Vancouver are looking for.

#5 –  Make it Easy to Show      

In 2016 and 2017, the market was very hot. At that time, a strategy to selling your home was to push off any potential buyers to the upcoming open house and limit any private showings. Buyers would be very interested to see a property and limiting access helped stoke demand.

This the exact opposite in the Vancouver market of 2019. These days, you have to make your property as easy to show as possible. Buyers no longer feel the pressure to make a quick decision and they have access to more inventory in Vancouver than they have in a long time. This allows them to be selective regarding the properties they want to see. If your property is not available when they want to see it, chances are, they will give it a miss.  If your home is not available to be seen, you won’t get any offers – it is that simple.

We are not suggesting you having multiple open houses in a week or anything that drastic.  We are talking about private showings. Make sure the property is clean, and available to be seen for private showings on a fairly open schedule. This will give your property maximum exposure.

#6 –  Take Great Photos           

Get great professional photos! Get a great real estate photographer. Don’t take the photos yourself, don’t let you realtor take them with his/her iphone. This is crucial to getting eyes on the listing and people interested in seeing your property.

If you are planning to relist your property and think you will do some work prior to the relisting, do not use the old photos. If you are working to make your property as attractive as possible for a re-list, you need new photos. The point of relisting is for people to think your home is a new listing – this requires new, great photos.

Photos shape memories. If someone views a property, they are normally there for a short time, usually under time constraints. What buyers normally do, is they review the listing again at home and look through the photos to re-perceive the property. Great photos will shape great memories and help sell your property

#7 –  Pull the Listing from MLS When Undertaking Improvements        

If you have a property sitting on MLS that is not getting a lot of activity from buyers, pull it. You are not doing yourself any favors by leaving the listing sit on MLS and continue to accumulate days on market. If you are planning to undertake the first 6 points above to refresh the listing for re-launch and consider what went wrong, you have to pull the listing when you are doing so. We are not talking pulling it for 6 months, but just a couple of weeks to make sure you are all ready for the re-launch and give the listing time to be new again. A couple of weeks off-market will not make a lot of difference in this market and will allow your re-list to be as effective as possible. There are new buyers cycling through the Vancouver market all the time and your re-list will gather great attention again after being off the market for a short time. This is crucial.

Important take aways: 

Adam: upfront legwork will pay major dividends in the long-run when marketing your property. Put the work in beforehand to get the best results.

Matt: These 7 tips will involve some elbow grease and some out of pocket money. Worst case scenario for an average property, the cost of completing all 7 tips might be $5,000-$8,000 (on the high side). But, in a market where the average prices for a property are approaching a million dollars, a $10,000 drop in price can happen in an instant during a negotiation. Our suggestion is, spent the money upfront to ensure you are getting top dollar on your property and it should payoff 10-fold – a great investment.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series: “Pricing in a Buyer’s Market” in a future episode soon!

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