Top 11 Reasons Why Houses Aren’t Selling And How To Fix It 

Do you know that 31% of the houses don’t sell after being listed for sale? There could be multiple reasons behind it, ranging from broader economic and market conditions right down to the condition of the property itself. Our team of experts and real estate agents have looked into eighteen hundred data points and online reviews to curate a list of common reasons why houses don’t sell. We have also given our recommendation on what to do to get your home sold.

Table of Contents

1. Poor Quality Listing Photos

Poor Quality Listing Photos

Poor quality of photos in the listing is one of the key reasons why houses don’t sell fast. 

According to a research report by Redfin, the photographs of homes captured with DSLR photography are more likely to sell within six months than homes with point-and-shoot photos. 

The same research report pointed out that in 2015, 64% of the listings containing DSLR photos, with a price range between $400,000 and 500,000, sold within 6 months. 

In comparison, 46% of the listings with the same price range and point-and-shoot photos took longer than 6 months to sell

These days blurry, poorly lit iPhone photos are of no use. Nobody is going to come and visit your house after viewing the non-professional blurred pictures. These pictures should look great on all devices too.  

According to The National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Generational report, nine out of ten buyers ranked the professional photos of the houses as the most valuable website feature in their home search. 

How to fix it?

Hire a professional photographer. Real estate agents usually contract with local photographers and pay for those services out of their commission. A small investment in photography and videography will pay you back in a great way.

 If you want to do it yourself, follow the tips for getting decent-quality photos. 

  • Plan the shoot ahead of time. 
  • Use a tripod to level the camera. 
  • The time of day and lighting is very important. Make sure that you shoot photographs in sufficient light. 
  • Open all window coverings and turn on all the lights inside a house before photography.  
  • Use exterior lighting to get the best quality images.
  • Don’t use a flash if you can manipulate the ISO or lighting.  

2. Not Showing the Things That The Buyer is Looking For

Not Showing the Things That The Buyer is Looking For

Another important thing is to show the aspects of your house that can get the tick of approval from the buyer. Are you taking pictures of still ceiling fans or cold lonely corners? It won’t cut. Take pictures of your lively living room, kitchen or garden and display them first. The less important pictures can come in later.   

How to fix it?

It is very important for the sellers to add pictures in order of importance. At the most, you should upload the 5 best pictures featuring all facilities and amenities

3. Wrong Listing Price

Wrong Listing Price

According to the data from, the median national price list has declined from $449,000 in June to $417,000 in November. The price reductions grew by over 19.6% in a year.   

The market conditions fluctuate, and it is best to price your house according to the current market rates. 

Some sellers set the asking price at a very high rate to test the waters. We recommend against it as it might drive your potential customers away. A Home Light survey of top real estate agents revealed that 54% of the agents had seen buyers who backed out from the house contracts due to inflated price ranges.

A common mistake made while selling houses is that we list homes with prices that have 9s instead of whole numbers. This is quite similar to how Amazon or discount stores price items. For example, listing a property at $499,990 instead of $500,000. It is a big mistake because the buyers searching for houses in the range of $500,000 to $600,0000 would be unable to see the house with a price of $499,990 in that search. 

How to fix it?

Review recent sales of similar houses in the area and make adjustments to the cost of your house accordingly. Most real estate websites have home value estimators. Enter the address of the house to be sold, answer some questions, and the app will provide a rough estimate in less than 2 mins. 

The feedback from potential buyers can also help to price your house accurately. You must carefully listen to the feedback you are getting at the showings. Were the people disappointed at the quality of the home as compared to its price? 

Fix price band error. Always price the home in a way that gets it more visibility from the right buyers. 

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Nick Labrosse
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4. Selling a House With Code Violations

Selling a House With Code Violations

Code violations indicate the areas where your house doesn’t comply with the requirements of the municipality or homeowner’s associations, resulting in violation notices. If you are selling a house with a code violation, many buyers can walk away as they don’t want to deal with the repairs. A code violation also makes it impossible for them to obtain financing and insurance for the home.  

Some of the most common code violations that cause delays in the sale of the house are: 

  1. Encumbered title 
  2. Unpaid fines or liens 
  3. Mortgage restrictions. 

Even if the buyers get the insurance, it is quite costly. Many buyers can not afford to pay higher premiums. 

How to fix it?

Always consult your real estate advisor and attorney before selling a house. They are the ones who will give you the right direction to know about the important legal aspects of your home and then put it on the market. 

Some of the ways in which you can solve the problem are: 

  1. Fixing the code violations. 
  2. Offer the buyer credit or lower the selling price.
  3. Sell your house as-is to an instant buyer (iBuyer)

5. Inefficient Real Estate Agent Or DIY Solutions

Inefficient Real Estate Agent Or DIY Solutions

Most of the time, it is seen that sellers usually hire a family member or friend to sell the house with very little experience in real estate. It is always important to interview other agents to see who is most qualified for the job. 

Sometimes, listing real estate agents are not efficient and ignore phone calls from the buyers’ agents to keep the entire commission for themselves. At other times, the sellers’ agents just don’t arrive to unlock and show the house. Some of the agents are not aware of the positive attributes of the house and can not answer all the questions of the potential buyers. 

How to fix it?

You must interview multiple agents and hire a real estate agent with an effective marketing plan of action. You can also hire the agent on the basis of the number of satisfied clients, testimonials and proven results. It is also important that your real estate agent knows about the positive attributes of your house and can highlight them to potential buyers. 

6. Poor Staging

Poor Staging 1

If you haven’t “prepared” the house before putting the For Sale sign, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Some buyers have trouble seeing the true potential of your home. Find a top local agent to utilize his connections. Staging a home can inspire a potential buyer. It highlights the best features of your home and minimizes the worst. 

Proper staging can create a great first impression. The buyers can visit your home and get a chance to envision the space as their own. This imagination becomes very hard for the buyers if the room is full of toys and they trip over them. Books bulging out of the bookshelves also give a very bad impression. Unstaged homes seem as if they are cluttered, cramped, dark, and small.

How to fix it?

According to a 2023 survey, 48% of sellers’ agents report that home staging decreases a property’s time on the market. Another survey reports that staged homes sell for 1% to 5% more, and 83% report staged homes get snapped up faster. 

You must take your time in getting the home staged. Remove personal photos, and declutter your home to make a great first impression. 

7. You Are Attracting the Wrong Target Audience/ Buyers

You Are Attracting the Wrong Target Audience Buyers

Sometimes a house needs an expensive repair, and the seller doesn’t have enough money to invest. Selling a home with a leaking roof, broken floor or damaged basement might be very difficult. A survey revealed that 80% of Canadians would prefer to buy a ready home as compared to one that requires renovations. Moreover, 71% of the people would sacrifice the size of the house for one that required no updates. 

It is a clear mistake to try selling your house to the people who wish to live in it without spending on repairs or upgrades. 

How to fix it?

Change your target audience and sell your house to a real estate investor, house-buying company, or iBuyer instead. Real estate buyers are more accepting of homes that require a little renovation. 

If this is something that interests you, you can use real estate websites to sell such houses rather than pricing your home and staging it for the market. You need to answer a few questions, such as how much work the home needs and how soon you plan to sell. This route provides you with a low-stress selling experience that’s much quicker than most transactions that require financing.

8. Boring and Incomprehensive Listing Description

Boring and Incomprehensive Listing Description

If your house is not selling in a hot market, one of the first things that you need to pay attention to is your listing. Your property listing is one of the most important elements in getting your home sold. The average home buyer sees only 10 homes before making a buying decision. A boring, uninteresting listing can push your house from number 10 to 11. It is the difference between being shown and not being shown. 

Sometimes, buyers are looking for unique selling features in their future homes. If your home listing description doesn’t highlight those features, you might not attract the right buyer. 

Some listings only highlight the features, e.g. “four-bedrooms, two-bath duplex located on the uptown street.” These types of listings seem very boring and monotonous. 

How to fix it?

The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, parking spaces and other data already appear in the basic MLS stats, so there is no need to mention it again in the listings.

Don’t talk about features; talk about the benefits. Be specific about the brand names and dates of upgrades when possible. 

Highlight the best-selling features of your property. If your property is in a great location, highlight the location. If it is the only house with a hot water swimming pool, maybe it is the best feature. Put that best feature in the first sentence in an attention-grabbing way. 

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Nick Labrosse
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Maximize your property's potential with Labrosse Real Estate's expertise. Our experienced agents understand the Ottawa market and will provide you with a personalized strategy to get top dollar for your home.

9. Poor Marketing and Promotion

Poor Marketing and Promotion

A common reason why houses don’t sell is ineffective presentation. A good marketing strategy should get qualified buyers to see the home. Many agents only rely on traditional marketing tactics like flyers and postcards to market home listings. These strategies don’t work because buyers in today’s market go online first to search for homes. 

A good real estate agent should use advanced audience targeting to maximize exposure through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, Instant messaging apps etc. Good online marketing should get your listing the exposure it deserves. 

How to fix it?

Ask your real estate agent for a weekly report on web traffic to the listing. 

If your listing is not getting a good number of clicks, maybe it is time to work with real estate agents who can utilize the potential of digital marketing. It is essential, especially in this era, to be very visible on social media and on all third-party sites. 

An expert real estate agent can implement a robust marketing strategy. They also use smart tools such as interactive maps, virtual open houses, virtual tours, and videos for converting a potential customer.

10. The House Smells Bad

The House Smells Bad

 In the world of real estate, it is said that if a house smells, it can’t sell. Smells and odours have a significant role in selling the house. Smells of mould, mildew buildup, pet urine, and smoke odour give a very bad impression to the buyer. Your buyers may also be allergic to any of these smells. 

How to fix it?

Sometimes the seller becomes so immune to the smell of the house that he can’t even have an idea that another person may dislike this odour. In this case, it is always a good idea to get a friend’s honest opinion.

Entering the house and smelling a refreshing scent has such a nice impact on buyers. So the remedy to remove such odours is that you should use scented candles in your home. If the odour is persistent, you should always look for the root cause and try to remove it urgently.

11. Old Appliances

Old Appliances

It’s very important for sellers to update their appliances before selling the house. They should not be on their last legs. Although the potential buyers have an idea that they can replace the old and worn-out appliances, it does not give a nice impression, and the buyers might think as if these appliances belong to That ’70s Show. Heaters, boilers, and HVAC are less noticed by the buyers at the initial walk, but they are always looked at at the final inspection.

How to fix it?

Update your appliances. Stainless steel appliances are quite common these days. Replace the old yellowing white refrigerators. Fix your HVAC if you think it has a problem. Replace the old heaters and boilers as well. If you are not going to update your appliance, then you need to compromise on the sale price.  



In 2023 the houses don’t sell for a number of reasons. The first and foremost among those is the price range. You must not worry if your house does not get showings, just look at the list mentioned above, know about the issues why houses don’t sell, fix those issues and sell your homes.


The most common reason for a house not selling is because of the high price. The realtors always advise the home sellers to set the price close to the market rate, but the sellers always decide to take their chances. Another common reason is that the real estate market changes fast, so your asking price may have started out fair, but because of changes in the market, you’re now overpriced. Don’t list your house during a down market. It is not the best time to sell for a good price. Lastly, you must compare multiple agents to hire the best real estate agent for selling your property.

This is referred to as an “off-market” listing. This tag indicates that the seller will sell the house independently. This process offers more control and keeps as much profit as possible.

A home that sells within the first two weeks of being listed on the market is a hot home.

The biggest reason why the house is not getting showings is because of the high price. You must ballpark your home’s market value after comparing it with similar properties.

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