Flip Not Selling - 15 showings, all positive feedback, no offers

77 Replies

Hi all, I just want to get some feedback on why my Cleveland Heights, OH flip is not selling. Inside is completely renovated from top to bottom. Newer furnace, windows, and roof (all less than 5 yrs old). New Central Air, brand new kitchen and 2 new bathrooms. Finished basement and 2 wood burning fire places. I have reduced the price twice now, and still no bites.  We have held 2 open houses again, all with positive feedback. Realtors, if you know someone looking in Cleveland Heights, right near University Heights, this is a great buy!

1962 Staunton

Plenty of showings and no offers mean still slightly over priced.....period.

@Wayne Brooks , its priced at the low end for 4b 2ba 1600 sq ft homes in that area. Comps for the last 3 months sold are 120K-160K

@Christopher Blanco ,

Looks like a nice fix job, though perhaps some corners were cut on the hardwood floors and in the basement. The old growth trees which appear to be impinging on the house could be viewed as a negative in terms of potential damage to the house in a wind storm and to the foundation / basement over time.

How does this house's square footage stack up against the comp.'s? Seems a bit small by outward appareances.

I'll have to go along with those who say that the price does not match the condition if you're not getting offers.

My $0.02 ...

Originally posted by @Christopher Blanco :

Hi all, I just want to get some feedback on why my Cleveland Heights, OH flip is not selling. Inside is completely renovated from top to bottom. Newer furnace, windows, and roof (all less than 5 yrs old). New Central Air, brand new kitchen and 2 new bathrooms. Finished basement and 2 wood burning fire places. I have reduced the price twice now, and still no bites.  We have held 2 open houses again, all with positive feedback. Realtors, if you know someone looking in Cleveland Heights, right near University Heights, this is a great buy!

1962 Staunton

 Possibly over priced? Cleveland Heights is a very diverse market. You can find full renos with the same bed/bath count anywhere from $85,000 to well over $160,000

Is it the corner lot? There has to be a reason if your house is as nice or nicer than, and priced at the lowest point. The time of year doesn't help, however I sold a house right at the Christmas break, so people are always buying. What were the DOMs of the other comparables?

@David Dachtera   The trees were all cut back from the house. I removed all of the dead growth. As far as the size, I call it the "Little Big House" it looks small from the front but has over 1600 sq feet (not counting the basement). Its comparable in the area. The hardwood floors are whole-'nother' story. They are the original floors however and are in great condition for the age. I didn't want to over improve for the area. 

@Tom Ott This area is on the north end of that price range. Two streets over is University Heights. Its a nice area. 

What is your days on market? What is the average days on market for an appropriately priced house to sell in this neighborhood...and further to expound at this time of year? 

What is the commission offered, and what is the commission offered on most of the houses in that neighborhood?

Are other properties at this price point going under contract in the neighborhood while you are on market? And if so, what is the difference between your property and the ones going under contract?  

Is your agent asking the right questions when soliciting feedback? For instance he should be asking not if the buyers like the property, but why are they not writing an offer on the property.  

Starting out at 135,000 may have been a bit aggressive, but not terribly especially looking at the competition in the area. The worst thing to do is to start out high, better to start out a little under what it's worth as you would prob have a bid war going on. It's only been at 125k for a few days, it should sell soon. 

u just did a price decrease. give it some time. it will sell. you did a terrific job!

Originally posted by @Christopher Blanco :

@David Dachtera  The trees were all cut back from the house. I removed all of the dead growth. As far as the size, I call it the "Little Big House" it looks small from the front but has over 1600 sq feet (not counting the basement). Its comparable in the area. The hardwood floors are whole-'nother' story. They are the original floors however and are in great condition for the age. I didn't want to over improve for the area. 

@Tom Ott This area is on the north end of that price range. Two streets over is University Heights. Its a nice area. 

Looking at the front-view pic, it looks like the trees are close to or almost right against the house.

Dead wood is not the issue. It's the live stuff. Strong winds can uproot trees with full root systems, much less having no roots in the area where the house stands. Depending where the sewer and water lines run, live roots can cause issues for pipes and foundations.

Healthy old-growth is often attractive. These seem like they're too close to the house. 

Remember also that fallen leaves mean gutters which need cleaning every autumn, especially in close proximity to the house.

Ask the agents when they come through what their opinions are.  Is it listed? If not, are you offering a commission for the sale? 

@David Dachtera I agree. Unfortunately the cost to remove the 6 dead trees ate into my landscaping budget a lot more than anticipated. Unfortunately the landscaping got chopped off to repair other items in the home that were more crucial. I definitely see what you are saying though. 

Hi Christopher,

My name is Boris and I am a licensed General Contractor in the city of Cleveland Heights as well as a real-estate investor. I also live in Cleveland Heights.  Technically my General Contractor  status is a result of pulling my own permits for the properties I own in Cleveland heights from the 44112 to 44118 zip codes as well one right up Warrensville Center Road,  I know exactly where your property is located, close to the shopping center with a Wal-Mart, TJ Max etc. 

Few questions: has the house been appraised? My immediate absolutely non-professional non-expert answer to your problem is it is overpriced. It should be right around $110-115k and that may be pushing it. To be honest, just by looking at it and knowing the area,  as well as the Panda Express up the street I visited last night and quite frequently, I would appraise this house at $112,900. 

 I see what you paid for it in July of this year and so my next question is... does your margin have enough wiggle room to lower again?  Hopefully it does and you can just keep moving forward with your investing endeavors or maybe I'm way off, because as I mentioned I'm not a professional appraiser, Just a guy with 4 properties within 1.5 mile radius. My real estate agent's office is technically on this same street as this house, warrensville center rd. 

 Cleveland Heights is a very tricky area as are many of the surrounding suburbs of Inner-City Cleveland. It is bordered by East Cleveland, South euclid, Shaker Hts and whatever else. There is an abundance of houses in need of rehab that can be purchased  for a similar acquisition cost as this one (I pulled the county records and they show acquisition cost around 58)  there is an abundance of "contractors" ready and willing to do the work. Also, some of the more historical areas are asking more and the ones in the 44112 area code are asking less. With that being said, I live in Cleveland heights and purchased my house for $4,500 in 2015 invested $120,000 rehab and today it is worth $175k+. 

The house across the street from ours was purchased for the same amount as we backed out last minute due to conflicts with the HOA and their request for a historical restored rehab which would have cost way more than the house would ever be worth in our analysis. (We were in a PA to buy both from we had learned the buyer no longer wanted to do the rehabs and were willing to get out very very very low) Last month, that house was listed for $184,900 and it is smaller than yours and zip code is worse as it is East Cleveland schools. So the answer is non-conclusive, but the main thing you can take away is Cleveland heights is a tricky market. Good luck and keep us posted.

What a cute house!  I love the kitchen!

Before dropping the price anymore, I would look at the full picture.  Walk the property as a Buyer.

Without having physically walked through it, I can only provide limited feedback, but here were some of my observations.....

The front brick looks tired, and there appears to be some patchwork..??.  The front is your first impression to the Buyer.  This should be your first "WOW".

The only thing I see inside that gave me pause were the wood floors, and how they go in different directions.  Was that for a specific purpose?  I am not a big fan of that.  They look like some type of mistake, and the seams jump out at me in the pictures.  

Outside of those couple of items, I would then ask is it too cold as people walk through?  Too hot?  Is there a musty smell or something unfavorable as you go through?  Too dark?

Then I would ask your Realtor a few questions like... how much are you offering for the co-broke? There is usually a standard co-broke for the area. If your agent is offering less, then you may not be getting the other agents' support for your property. What are you doing to market the property besides MLS and open houses? What other feedback are the other agents providing about why their Buyer isn't writing an offer?

Another good thing to try instead of continuing to lower the price, is offer a selling bonus to the selling agent (not your agent, but the Buyer's agent).  Create urgency by requiring a deadline for the offer to close and/or getting full price.  EXAMPLE:  $2,000 Selling bonus for accepted offer that closes on or before 12/15.

Hope that helps! 

@Boris G. Thanks for you input. There are comps in the area (3-4 streets over) from $130-$160 so I am not sure where that comes from. 

@Cara Lonsdale Thanks for the complements! That hard wood floor section is upstairs in the second floor bedroom, I am not sure why they were laid that way, but they are the original floors.  I know the temperature is good as I check it at least twice a week. For smells, the house is clean as clean can be and has about a dozen plug-ins all over to keep it fresh. The front brick had Ivy growing all over it. It has been power washed and repaired where needed. :( It was the best that could be done.  

@Christopher Blanco ,

Overall, it's a gorgeous home!  I love the bathrooms!   Seems like a lot of space, and a great family home!

 The only things I noticed that might be holding someone back is the fact the basement is only half-finished.   As a regular buyer, I'd be worrying about matching the floors, or needing to re-do the entire thing ($$$).   I'd also put a ceiling in, whatever the cheapest option is fine, but just something so when a buy walks through they don't see additional $$  with putting money into a house.     As my non-real estate friends stated at dinner "when i move in, I just want to move in, not fix a thing" ... think about it like that, and if the basement isn't finished,  it's  not going to get those who don't want to do anything else.

The brick in the front looks like it needs a power wash, this would be  a cheap and easy fix!  

Also, if you put a pretty back splash, people are very emotional get tied to pretty features!

Properties don't sell because LOCATION, CONDITION and PRICE.

I would say CONDITION is not the issue here. So I would narrow it down, PRICE or LOCATION. 

The house looks great - good job.

I didn't see photos of the garage on Zillow - obviously someone who was physically there should have figured out there is a garage but a casual Zillow shopper may not know you have one without photos of it. A lot of the houses in that area are 3Br/1Ba - yours is 4/2. Is it possible you are not getting as many shoppers because yours isn't showing up for them?

Is there easy access from the house to the garage? If not that may be the issue.

The layout is built for a family - if your buyer is the stereotypical husband, wife, and 2.5 kids then make sure there is a quick easy way to get groceries etc from the garage to the house.

Last thing...

Is the backyard cleared out of the overgrown bushes that are on google earth photos? If not maybe cut those bushes down to so the kiddos have a place to run around.

@Michael Norris The backyard is cleaned up a bit. There is not a huge yard space. There is a fenced in patio around the back that allows access from the garage to the house. 

What is the average DOM for homes in the area? How much competition do you currently have? Is your flip over-done for the neighborhood? 

Also, if you've had a broker's open you can call the agents who've left cards and ask them for honest feedback on why their clients aren't writing offers or why they think the home hasn't sold. Sometimes the answers you get will surprise you. And yes, if you're offering less than the standard commission that will be a factor.

The most common comments I've gotten from investors and homebuyers looking at obvious flips who loved the house but did not put in an offer (aside from price) is that the home is way too nice for the neighborhood or that the flip is otherwise uneven. I once toured a home with investors that had lovely interior pics and had been expanded but at the expense of no back yard. It was more like a long dog run. I think it barely made the cut for minimum setback. The home was squashed up against its neighbors and the neighbors had trashy homes in comparison. That home stayed on market for a while.

I think you have the property priced correct now. Two things i noticed from the MLS photos is the wood floors in different directions, and also the bathroom shower head is on the bathroom ceiling. Trees are also cause for concern, as they pretty close to foundation.

The Co-broke commission is 3/2. What stood out to me was the brokers remarks:

Property will be POS compliant. This is being sold in AS-IS condition and no repairs will be made unless FHA/VA required. ***TELL ME A BUYERS AGENT WHO WANTS TO SEE THIS??***

I also did a 0.5 mile search and the average sale price is (4bed/2bath) is $88000 (I didn't take into consideration the finishes, I'm not your realtor) Average days on the market is 122days (probably be longer now that we going into Xmas). So wait it out and keep reducing that price. I think you'll sell around $110-115k-ish. 

Thanksgiving coming up...... Suggest put it back on the market after New Year and work on making it even better in the mean time.  

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