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Why are listings failing in a sellers market?

Where did the For Sale sign go from that Mueller home listing?

I know it’s a frantic market, but surely the home didn’t sell and close that fast? You’re right on both counts – homes are selling faster than they have in a long time, and yet some listings are failing – the signs are being yanked and the home sale has failed. That seems counter intuitive – so what’s happening?

In the last few weeks, there have been two Multiple Listing System (MLS) home listings in Mueller Austin which have been withdrawn from the market. So you may have seen the signs in the yard disappear, but they’re no longer available on the MLS. There’s a bug with a few property web sites which still shows that they are still available, but taking the data straight from the MLS as I do, I can see that they have been withdrawn for sale.

If you follow any kind of real estate news, you’ll know that offers are getting multiple offers and dozens of showings. So just how uncommon is it for a listing to fail? I did a little data research in the MLS and this is what I found for markets that are somewhat comparable to Mueller – $300,000-$1,000,000 houses for sale in the City of Austin, either failing in July and August or selling in July and August for the last five years.

To be clear the ratio of failure to success is not shown by these figures – I’m just looking at a tiny window in the summer market.

failed real estate listings Mueller

No homes for sale? Some still don’t sell

As you can see, there are more houses selling, and yet still some fail to sell. The main causes that a home doesn’t sell don’t change much with market conditions. Here are my top three.

Reasons That Homes Fail to Sell

  1. Condition. Homes that aren’t in competitive condition will not attract interest even in a sellers’ market. There are more speculative and cash purchases right now, but investors aren’t going to overpay for a house in sub par condition. I still hire a professional stager to make each listing shine. Sure it costs me more, but it’s best practices. If you don’t and someone else does, you’re losing money if your home does sell.
  2. Price. If a house is priced appropriately and gets sufficient exposure to the market, whatever demand there is will be attracted to it. Right now prices are higher, supply is starved and demand is high, so sure we see people wanting to price “where the market is going” (i.e. up) rather than “where the market is.”
  3. Market exposure. I know that perceptions of having a listing right now are that it’s mostly a matter of figuring out which offer to accept and how many people you can get in to see it without creating a stampede. But it doesn’t excuse some of the marketing blunders I see on a daily basis. Houses listed with zero bedrooms. Spelling mistakes. Awful photos.

Photos are a pet peeve of mine. If your agent won’t use a professional photographer to help you sell your home and doesn’t understand the difference between poor photos and professional photos for a listing, get another agent.  And that perhaps explains some of the failed listings. Agents who can’t attract an offer for a home in this market are getting fired, and the sellers are seeking other agents. Expectations are high right now for agents – surely selling is easy right now? Right? 245 sellers whose home listings failed in July and August 2013 might not agree.

Sherlock Homes Austin focuses on using better data to help people sell their homes at Mueller and beyond. Call us on 512 215 4785 if you’d like to work with our team with a predictable process and outstanding results.


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