What Happens if a House for Sale, Never Sells?

Austin Archuleta

November 10, 2020

When you put your home on the market, your mind races with thoughts of what your new funds will do. Each day you think about how much you will make and how long it will take to make it.

But what happens if it just…never…sells?

If a home stays on the market, the chance of it never selling is low, but a long selling time can happen, and this often causes a homeowner to pull the home off the market. Remaining in the real estate market for a long time is not ideal. The longer it sits, the less demand there is for the home. Buyers begin to see your home as a risk and get cautious. They will either buy houses with more demand or ask for much lower pricing.

In most cases, price adjustments will land a buyer, but if the price falls too low, then something is wrong. And if it doesn’t sell at all, particularly here in Austin where demand is high for homes, it is a real warning sign.

In this article, we’ll review common issues that lead to delayed sales and provide suggestions and resources to help you combat them. And if it still doesn’t sell, we tell you what you can expect.

Make Sure the Home Fits Buyer Needs

A good chunk of a home’s value is related to how well it accommodates a typical buyer’s needs. The more bedrooms and bathrooms it has, the better, and renovated kitchens, bathrooms, and new flooring typically pay for themselves (and more!) Open floorplans have become more popular, and inviting outdoor spaces are always appealing. This article from the National Association of Home Builders outlines some other values buyers look for.

The newer and more move-in ready your home appears, the more buyers will smile, avoiding expensive and time-consuming construction headaches. And these improvements typically add to the beauty of a home, boosting your selling price.

Your Real Estate Shouldn’t Be Too “Unique

What’s charming to you may not be charming to others. Like luxury homes, unique homes often take longer to sell than standard homes. When it comes to attracting the highest number of buyers, a strong basic template quickens sales. It acts as a springboard to an owner’s imagination, helping them picture moving in immediately and adapting all their furniture. When on the market, a good home acts as a good stage.

No matter how unique the home for sale is, it can be updated for broader appeal by more buyers. In addition to following popular design trends like wall colors and furniture treatments, it’s important to keep things neutral and not too jarring. And convert less functional rooms to be more practical for typical buyers. If it has a huge den/office niche and too few bedrooms, then consider converting the office to a bedroom space.

The more a potential owner won’t have to repaint or rework a home and the more he or she can picture living in the home, the faster the home will sell.

Bite the Bullet and Do Real Estate Repairs

If there are bad pipes, mold, or any damaged areas of the home left as-is, owners may be responsible for fixing the problem. If you haven’t done the repairs, your home appears like a broken-down car, indicating a potentially bigger problem that can sway buyers. If they bid on your property, they will do it at a lower price to ensure any potential issues are covered.

Improve the Real Estate Location

Land for sale is valuable. In many cases, the land can be more valuable than the home itself. But not every part of town is desirable, and living next to a noisy gravel yard won’t help either.

If your location isn’t in high demand, one suggestion is to turn the tables. Update the home so it helps elevate the neighborhood.

Let Your Real Estate Agent be Your Guide

Enlisting a real estate agent is key to maximizing your home’s value during a sale. Real Estate companies specialize in home evaluations. Agents not only price homes accurately, but they also recommend home improvements to boost profits. They know the market and understand what buyers want.

We offer this service here in Austin. Our real estate agents bring expertise in selling that comes from living and working here, and they know the issues to look for in a property.

Have Your Home Appraised

In many instances, a real estate agent has a list of appraisers ready to go. An appraiser is trained to evaluate homes for sale. He or she focuses on the most important elements that influence a home’s value. By utilizing an appraisal, you learn the most important issues to fix.

Try, Try Again

It may be that when you attempt to sell your home, it isn’t a seller’s market. If you live in a market like ours in Austin, TX, that would be extremely rare. But there are certain issues that affect pricing no matter what area of the country you live in, and you can plan around them.

Wait for a Stronger Economy

In the situation of a slow economy, you could wait before listing your home for sale, but a slow economy can also lead to lower interest rates that bring more buyers to the market. This decision should be weighed out carefully with your real estate agent.

Wait for a Better Time of Year

Some seasons of the year are better than others. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the most popular times are spring and summer from April to August. This is the time shoppers are out and about, so it’s an ideal time to relist your home for sale.

Lease the Real Estate Until You’re Ready to Sell

Renting and leasing helps you collect income on a home to compensate for mortgage costs. A home is leasable even when it is not in the best condition, and you can adjust the price accordingly. In some cases, you can make an agreement with the renter to allow you to update the home here and there to ensure it is in better condition when you sell.

You could rent out individual rooms or the entire home, but in the latter case, remember that you may need to rent another location for yourself.

If you are looking to do this in the Austin area, we are a strong source for your leasing and renting needs. We can list your home for lease and find a comfortable place for you to rent as well.

Real Estate Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit

This type of loan uses your home as collateral, providing you with the cash you need to wait for a better buying season or even make repairs on the home. There are risks to using these loans for repairs, so be sure to consult a professional before starting.  Here is an article from Bankrate that outlines some of the risks.

Reverse Mortgages

This option allows for unencumbered access to home equity. This money can be paid back when the owner sells or passes away (at which time the home is sold.) Your profit from the home for sale will go down, but it is an option if you are financially against the wall.

If None of This Works…

If your home still doesn’t sell and you can’t afford to hold onto it, you may be forced to default on your loan, at which point your bank will repossess the property. This happens regularly in the real estate industry and many home buyers shop specifically for foreclosed homes for sale.

But remember, never selling your home is rare. In many cases, you can use the strategies above to ensure your home sells. And a key ingredient to ensuring things go smoothly is your real estate agent. His or her education and expertise are a big asset to avoiding a non-sale.


If you are planning to sell your home, let us know. We can connect you to a talented real estate agent who can ensure the process goes smoothly – and as profitably –  as possible. Contact us here to find out how we can help.



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