Realtors in Carmel often tell stories of homes for sale that sell in a matter of hours. Shelly Walters, of the Shelly Walters Real Estate Group, recalled a time she was literally putting a sign in the yard when someone driving by stopped and made an offer on the house.
Carmel-based realtors agree that there’s a high demand among home buyers in the city. So why are some houses on the market for inordinate lengths of time? Residents drive by month after month and wonder, “What’s wrong with that house?”
Local realtors who talked to Current gave different numbers for how many days are too long to sit on the market in Carmel. Most cited a median average of 40 to 50 days. They all said that homes listed at $350,000 or less can be sold within in a week if they’re in good condition and priced properly.
Here are some reasons they said homes in Carmel may take longer to sell:
PRICED TOO HIGH
Every local realtor that spoke to Current said that any house will sell in Carmel if it’s priced correctly.
“Price always fixes everything,” Walters said. “At a certain price any home can sell. Obviously, the seller wants the most for their money, but just because it is a seller’s market it does not mean a buyer will pay above market value, nor will an appraiser appraise it higher than market value. Unfortunately, all of this hype around houses selling fast and being a seller’s market has made some sellers and agents think they can ask higher prices for their home than what the market value is showing them. This is not true.”
If it’s priced too high and takes too long to sell, then buyers might suspect there’s something wrong with the house, said Stacy Kiernan of Home Run Realty Indiana. Often, there’s nothing wrong with the house except the price.
“It will sit and you will drop the price, many times drop it several times, until it gets to market price,” she said. “Then it will have been on the market for a while and the buyers will want to know why it hasn’t sold. Is there something wrong with it?”
SELLER NOT MOTIVATED
Some sellers price the house too high because they aren’t desperate to sell their house, said Matthew Sponaugle of Remax. He said people hear about homes in Carmel going for more than their asking price and they become interested in seeing how much they could get if they sold their house.
“They put a bobber on their fishing pole and they wait for someone to bite,” he said. “They hear the market is great and they want to see what they can get for their house.”
He said these sellers aren’t always willing to accept $10,000 less than asking price because they’d be happy to just stay in the home.
Shell Barger of Remax said Carmel is a desirable address but there are still some houses that might be harder to sell — at the price the seller might want — because of location.
“Poor location can include poorly situated on a lot, near a highway or backing up to a busy road,” she said. “But if you put your best foot forward, price the home right and hire a professional real estate agent, you’re sure to sell your Carmel home quickly in this market.”
IT’S A FIXER-UPPER
Although some people watch HGTV and dream of remodeling a house in a great location, Adam Hopkins of Remax said many buyers, especially younger people, are looking for something more turn-key when they buy.
“The days of wanting a ‘fixer-upper’ are still there for some, but the majority want to just move right in,” he said. “I’ve worked with buyers that start out thinking they are going to get a deal on something and wanted to focus on distressed properties and fix it up, but nine out of 10 times they end up just choosing one that is already finished.”
Greg Cooper of Berkshire Hathaway said any home in Carmel that’s 10 to 12 years old and has not been updated is tougher to sell.
“Sellers of these homes have no idea that they are dated, but trends are changing so quickly that it really dates homes so much more quickly,” he said.
NOT PROPERLY STAGED
Walters said it’s important to properly clean and stage a house, even if it’s a seller’s market.
“It seems that there is a bit of a thought that since homes ‘sell fast’ that a home can be thrown on the market without doing anything to it and it will sell no matter what,” she said. “The sale process of a home is still exactly the same. In order for a home to hit the market it needs to be ready for that very first showing. I will not put a home on the market until it is ready.”
It seems obvious, but Barger said some realtors don’t properly market the homes online. She said simple things, such as photos of the house, are often overlooked.
“Today’s buyers often will not consider a home without first viewing the photos,” she said. “If you were thinking of going a week without photos, think again.”
Sponaugle said pricing can be important for search parameters because some home buyers will limit their online search for homes under a certain round number. If the house is $305,000, then sellers might miss out on a lot of potential buyers if the home was listed for $299,000.