My Home is Not Selling, What Can I Do? 2023 Update

home not selling what to do

Three Reasons a Home Sells or Does Not

The late 2022 Portland real estate market is struggling and slowing down. Buyer traffic continues to drop while inventory remains stubbornly high. Price drops are increasing and homeowner fear is on the rise. What can a home owner do to ensure their property is the one that sells?

Three things determine whether or home sells or not.

  1. Price
  2. Condition
  3. Marketing

We’ll start in reverse order.

3. Marketing a Home for Sale

Property marketing can make a huge difference in your home sale. In order of importance for marketing:

  • A. Presence / Reach of Marketing
  • B. Presentation (initial impact)
  • C. Depth (for interest buyers)

A. Presence Of course, the home will not sell if the willing and able buyer can’t find it. So one has to know where all of the home buyers are. This is a fairly obvious and easy question to answer at first glance, but there is always more to the story. Home buyers overwhelmingly search for homes online, and rarely (these days) does an open house or yard sign impact a home sales effort. In fact, recent research shows that yard signs and open houses only account for 4% of home sales, while internet searches account for 90%+. So it is very important that your home for sale is visible online, everywhere home buyers are searching. The first step in accomplishing this is by putting your home for sale on a local MLS system that broadcasts the home to thousands of home search websites. This is also the first step your local Realtor is likely to take for you in trying to sell your home. The MLS will also tell the other agents in the area how to schedule an appointment to bring a buyer by, and what commission they will earn if they write a successful offer. (It is helpful to offer an attractive buyer’s agent commission, see our report on local Portland buyer’s agent commission rates here!).

A. Presence (cont.) But that is simply the first step a Realtor can perform to increase your home’s online presence. After putting the home on the local MLS, they can increase your home’s reach on Zillow,, Trulia,, and others (the major sites listed here account for 80% of all home buyer searches online when put together!). How can they increase your home’s performance on these major sites? Zillow puts out reports telling agents that homes with a 3D tour are viewed up to 50% more often on their site and accumulate as much as 60% more saves (this also includes which Zillow owns and operates). Realtors can also pay (the number two search site) straight up to place their client’s homes towards the top of home buyer search results. allows agents to brand their own listings so that the home buyer is more likely to reach out to the person selling the home to get the proper information on the property.

A. Presence (cont.) The homebuyer is the first and most obvious audience for your home sale efforts, but there is a very important second audience – all the Realtors who could earn a commission on the sale of your home (they have to be licensed in the same state your home is located in). Putting your home for sale on one MLS system won’t reach them all. In Oregon, for example, there are three major MLS systems, one in Portland, RMLS, one in Salem, WVMLS (Willamette Valley), and one in Bend, MLSCO (Central Oregon). Realtors typically work out of their MLS daily. The MLS system is how they search on their client’s behalf, looking for properties. The MLS system they are a member of, again, will tell them showing instructions on the home for sale and how much commission they will make if they bring a buyer. Most agents are a member of only one MLS system, but are licensed to sell any home in the State they reside in. So it makes sense if your Realtor lists your home on multiple MLS systems, then the reach to this important Realtor audience will be significantly stronger.

B. Presentation Professional photography is a must. Hopefully, your Realtor or other professional gave advice in preparing the home for market (if needed), before pictures were taken. As mentioned above, a professional 3D tour is also important. A proper 3D tour will increase the traffic your home gets online and overall engagement. 3D tours causes homes to sell faster and for more (according to research). The one thing photography cannot do is tell you where this room is in relation to any other room. A proper 3D tour allows the homebuyer to “walk” through the home at will.

C. Depth Research tells us that a homebuyer approaches a home in the following order. First, they look at the pictures, then if that grabs their attention, they read the description. If they’re still interested they look for more information. In particular, they look for 3D tours, floorplans, and brochures. The MLS limits the amount of description space a Realtor can write about a property. If it is a spacious home or a property with history, or any big story to tell, it might be important for the Realtor to create a PDF brochure and attach it to the various online websites (not just print it out and put it on the kitchen counter where the prospective buyer will never see it). We’ve created garden brochures for homes with incredible landscaping. We’ve created historical brochures for homes with history to share. We’ve created location amenity brochures for homes in fantastic locations (many for out of town buyers). We’ve created estate brochures for homes on acreage with tons of outbuildings. The list goes on.

2. Condition to Sell a Home

Sometimes improving the condition of a home can lead to a sale. This might not be applicable to new or highly remodeled homes, but for most resale homes there are often things that could be done to improve the buyer’s experience when they tour the home. The most important and least cost prohibitive would be ensuring the home has been deep cleaned and minimally staged. After that painting and landscaping is often the least expensive efforts for the highest return in overall buyer impression.

1. Price to Sell a Home

Price is always King in any market. When the real estate market is sliding (and it currently is in Portland, Oregon) most of the homes you see for sale online, simply will not sell at all. Certainly not at the price they’re listed at right now. Many will simply cancel their listings and others will drop the price, so take those prices you see now with a heaping spoonful of salt. When the market is sliding, the home that sells is typically the one that is a step in front of it. Many homeowners make the mistake of chasing after the market, dropping their price again and again over time, but always staying a little higher than the market would give them. If they had started out at a lower price sooner, they would have sold for a lot more than chasing it over time. Stop chasing the market and start selling your home. This doesn’t mean it is a good idea to fire-sale the property. Find out what the exact current market value is for your home, and then start the listing 10K or so (depending on the property category) under that. Ensure the sale before prices drop further. Again, this is only the case for a sliding or falling market. If the market has a spring bump in 2023 (which there is usually a spring bump) then the advice could change for that season.

Choose a Top Realtor

A top Realtor can advise you properly on the condition of your home and on the right pricing. These things are massively important, but still fall within the advisory realm. The work of a Realtor is in the marketing of your home, knowing what makes a home sell and implementing it for their clients. We hope you’ll take a look at our home selling program, which pays extra to feature homes on the top websites, places them on multiple MLS systems, and always includes top of the line photography and 3D tours. All of which we provide at a reasonable commission rate (4% total, including the buyer’s agent commission) and back with a cancel anytime policy for no charge. Give us a call today at 503-714-1111 or chat with the bot on this site.

November 7, 2022

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.5% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.