Why Hasn't My House Sold?


Owensboro Ky Real EstateAfter looking through the list of expired listings today, I took the time to actually examine the MLS data and listing photos. These properties reminded me of listings I have had in the past that have been a challenge to sell. If you are a home seller, or new to the real estate business, here’s my “Kiss of Death” list. “Kiss of Death” meaning; if your home has one or more of these characteristics, you will have a marketing challenge on your hands.

1. Country Blue!The carpet, the walls, yikes!

2.Wallpaper.No longer in style – dates the house.

3.Berber carpet.Ditto above comment.

4.Steep driveway.  Not good for snow/ice, or children on tricycles!

5.No first floor master suite

6.Inadequate closet in master suite

7.Inadequate laundry facilities

8.Outdated kitchens and baths

9.Basement garage – who wants to carry groceries up the stairs?

10.Trashy neighbors ( i.e.: clutter and trash everywhere)

11.Houses that smell - “If you smell 'em, you can’t sell 'em!”

Obviously, a house in disrepair inside or out will be difficult to sell.Many sellers believe buyers will just make a low offer, however, that IS NOT THE CASE!  What will happen is you will get NO OFFERS, period.  Most buyers do not want to make repairs.They just want to move in and live happily ever after. The ones who will do repairs are looking to buy at a considerable discount!

If your home faces any of these marketing challenges, I can guide you in what to do to optimize marketing and get your home sold fast!I have the experience to know what will really make a “marketing” difference.

Call  or email me today for courteous, professional service. 270-903-2167 / kp@KarenPannell.com



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Owensboro, Kentucky 42301

Comment balloon 27 commentsKaren Pannell • September 12 2012 03:56PM


Good tips for selling your home! Or how not too :)

Posted by Alissa Ophoff, White Rock BC Mortgage Broker (Centum Action Mortgage Corp.) over 7 years ago
Karen we believe it all comes down to price Every example you give can be overcome by price.
Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 7 years ago

Karen: Great list. Smell? I've had buyers turn around without going in. "Trashy" neighbors? Ditto I occasionally (?) watch House Hunters on TV, and these are the items (#1-9) that will stop a home from selling every time.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 7 years ago

consider your post suggested as well as reblogged - looking forward to reading more!

Posted by Cooper Jacobs, Real Estate Brokers - Seattle (Looking For A Seattle Realtor? COOPERJACOBS.COM) over 7 years ago


It is so sad to see homes that have expired because they don't show well.  Especially when it is so easy to cure some of the problems you mention here.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 7 years ago

Evelyn - yes, it is sad because now even if the seller remedies these things, their house is market worn and they will not get top dollar.

Thank you Cooper

Hella - yes, I've had buyers turn around who smelled the smell when I opened the storm door - didn't even get to the main door!

Bob - Hmm?  If any home will sell at the right price, why do sellers need us?

Alissa - maybe that "how not to sell" should have been my title?!


Posted by Karen Pannell, Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond (Real Living / Home Realty) over 7 years ago

Bob is so right every home has it's price and will sell, sellers and buyers need us to know what to pay and what to ask.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 7 years ago

Karen is exactly right, as a recent seller with her company (Agent, Vickie Morris) and having over 5 years as an appraiser in the past, I have seen those exact items block the sale of house after house. If you are wanting to sell, listen to every word she says and hang on it like a child hanging onto candy!


Posted by Glenn Ford over 7 years ago

Karen, at least in the area I work, first floor master suites are not that important - in fact, it's a turn off for many buyers...(though they prefer a full bath on first floor!).

Otherwise, pretty good list of why a home will not get any offers...

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 7 years ago

Around here, being located on a busy main road is very high on the list.  

Posted by Debbie Cook, Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc) over 7 years ago

Karen ~ what a great list of why homes don't sell!  As a home stager I'm often asked by homeowners to give them advice on staging -- which includes small cosmetic repairs and deep cleaning before we even talk about correct furniture placement.  Those homes with wallpaper, dated blue carpeting, dated brass light fixtures, and heavy, fussy window treatments are just going to keep sitting there and taking price reductions.  Thanks for helping to get the word out!!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 7 years ago

So true, especially the last one about smells! Pee-yew=no sale.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) over 7 years ago

Love the phrase, “If you smell 'em, you can’t sell 'em!”.   I'm sending that to one of my sellers who has way too many pets!   :)  Thx.  Shanna

Posted by Shanna Day Team Leader (UT & AZ), Keller Williams Realty (Keller Williams SLC (UT) and Keller Williams Realty EV (AZ)) over 7 years ago

Great list of 'do nots.' I'm of the mind that if it's priced correctly, marketed correctly, and kept in good showing condition, it will sell. Sure, wallpaper or berber carpet dates a home, but for $5k off the list price, most people are pretty willing to choose their own wallcoverings.

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 7 years ago

A house in disrepair will have a long time on the market and pass through several listing periods before it sells at that rock bottom price. Seller's that don't have the funds to repair must accept that fate.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 7 years ago

You are right on here Karen.  Very good post.  I like how you said that some folks will expect a lower offer, but end up getting NO offers.  Truer words were never spoken.  Congrats on the feature!  


Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 7 years ago

Many times a house sits simply because seller refuses to put money into the home to make it sell ready with updates to receive market price.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) over 7 years ago

Evelyn I couldn't agree more...the buyers that are willing to do the repairs are looking to ge a considerable discount. Especially in today's buyer's market.

Posted by Goran Utvic, We Buy & Sell Chicago Houses Fast (606 Homes LLC | Chicagoland Brokers Inc, Chicago IL 60656) over 7 years ago

In a perfect world, a listing would include none of the things you mentioned, but, in my market, they usually do and we have to work around them.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 7 years ago

Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts on this topic, and what is happening in their market.  Always great to hear from people across the country.  Busy roads are a killer here too, but haven't heard so much about the full bath on main level.  So Interesting!  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Karen Pannell, Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond (Real Living / Home Realty) over 7 years ago

Excellent list.  It's a list like this that we all end up pitching to sellers so they understand what will sell and what won't.

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 7 years ago

All those things mentioned are allowed as long as we assess a value to them and deduct them from any asking price...Its when you ask top dollar and reasons exist otherwise that cause an uproar...good post and host...thank you Karen

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago

I think it also boils down to price. It probably always has and probably always will!

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Paratex) over 7 years ago


If you smell 'em, you can’t sell 'em!”


That apply to buyers as well.. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

I believe it comes down to whether the home owner wants to invest in updating their house so that the condition and appearance justify the list price OR sell it in 'as is' condition. If you're doing the former, the investment will be considerably less than if a buyer has to estimate how much everything will cost to do themselves. Homes where the seller has made the investment sell, on average, 78% faster and for what they're worth. If a home owner opts with the latter option then yes - it does come down to price and how long they want the home to sit on the market before it eventually sells.

Melissa Marro wrote an exceptional post that was featured on AR the other day which discusses this scenario. I loved her candid phrasing of the situation:

"Eventually, with or without staging, the money will be spent. Will it be spent in additional mortgage costs, price reductions, money brought to the closing table, or will you rip the band-aid off, stage it and actually sell it now?" ~ Melissa Marro, Watson Realty, Rave ReViews Home Staging.

Posted by Heather Cook, Quality Home Staging (Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc.) over 7 years ago

You are so right.  But our sellers still think of their homes as their Castles...WE just have to re - educate them.

Posted by Ginger Harper, Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County! (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage) over 7 years ago

I agree with most of these, however I think wallpaper, when done RIGHT and in SMALL areas, can really add an element of depth to a room and offer a nice break from the paint. However, not everyone can do it "right!"

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) over 7 years ago