4 Sure-Fire Ways to Stall Your Home Sale


You may not be in a hurry to sell your home, or be willing to take a price far lower than your homes’ market value, but that doesn’t mean you want your home to go stale on the market.

After all, the longer your home sits on the market, the sense of urgency for prospective buyers grows cold. Or, even worse, prospects may begin to think, “Something’s wrong with the house” about a property that’s been on the market for an unusually long time.

What Causes a Home to Sit on the Market?

  1. Not Hiring the right Real Estate Professional.

A good Realtor should be able to show you a blueprint for how they plan to market and get your home to the closing table. Though we’re currently in a seller’s market and most properties are moving rather quickly, this doesn’t mean the Realtor gets to sit on their hands. They should be actively working to market the property to the right prospects. If they’re not, especially if the property is a special or unique property, you run the risk of your home sitting on the market.

2. Not Pricing It Right

Everyone who wants to over pay for a home raise your hand! If your hand didn’t fly up, you’re not unreasonable. In fact, you’re realistic and rational, so why would you expect others to raise their hand and jump at the chance to over pay for your property?  Pricing your home too high gives prospective buyers the impression that you’re a “stubborn seller”, difficult to work with, or simply that you aren’t serious about selling your home.

On the same token, pricing your home too low can send a different negative message to prospective buyers. If you’re browsing the clearance rack at a department store and you see something you like at first glance, but notice there’s been 3 markdowns on it, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re interested in the item, you pick it up turn it around, flip it upside down, and look for what you know has got to be inevitable…the flaws, the crack, the chip, the tear.

While it’s easy to spot irregularities on store-bought items, a house is a big ole’ treasure chest that could be hiding all kinds of secrets in its walls, plumbing, electrical, duct work, under the flooring, in the roof- the list of possibilities for problems go on and on.

So when a house is priced too low, prospective buyers may see “Clearance!” “Discount!” “On Sale!”, and other messages that can scare them away or keep them from taking a second look.

3. Demanding to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

If you’ve sat down with your real estate professional and made your list of goals for selling your home, then you know what you want and expect from the transaction. This is good, but sometimes sellers get so focused on the end goal that they risk the losing a sale- a good sale- for the sake of the goal.

For example, let’s say Jack and Sarah list their home at top market value, $625,000. They really want that price. They need that price to have enough to comfortably buy their next home. They get a ton of showings, and an offer comes in for $610,000, and ask for $5000 towards their closing costs. Not thrilling, but with no other offers on the table, their Realtor goes to work and after much negotiation, the buyer decides to come up to your asking price of $625,000 and removes the closing cost credit contingency!

Fantastic! But then, Sarah notices that on the contract, the buyer wants to keep the washer and dryer that are in the home, though their agent clearly stated in the mls that those items do not convey. Irritated, Jack and Sarah say, “No way, we just bought that washer and dryer and we’re not going to buy another set”.

Let’s think about this for a second… the only offer on the table after 12 showings is for $15,000 less than the asking price, and asks for an additional $5k towards their closing costs. After some back-and-forths, those same buyers come up to full asking price and remove the $5k credit contingency. How dare they want to keep the washer and dryer!

4. Not being Realistic.

In the example above, Jack and Sarah are getting full price for their house. The buyers are pre-approved with flying colors, they’re putting 20% down, they essentially came up from their original offer by $20,000. But Jack and Sarah can’t let go of a $3,000 washer and dryer?

This is a sure-fire way of selling the message to the buyers that Jack and Sarah aren’t serious about selling their home, that they’re not reasonable people, and that they’re most likely going to make the whole process a pain in the you-know-what. They buyers feel they’re giving everything, and getting nothing.


Like relationships, the process of buying and selling is somewhat a game of give-and-take. It’s great to have goals and expectations for the transaction, and you should! But don’t be so stuck on your ideals that you alienate prospective buyers and end up sitting on a home that just won’t sell while you continue to pay the taxes, insurance, maintenance, and HOA and/or CDD fees. Sometimes those expenses alone will add up to have been a wash or even saved you money if you had been realistic in the first place. 

You might also find useful:

How Not Knowing Your Goal Can Cost You When Selling Your Home





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