Why Your Martha's Vineyard Home Hasn't Sold

Jen Hawkins O'Hanlon, REALTOR®


If you're finding yourself in the disheartening situation where your Martha's Vineyard property has been on the market for a few months and is not under contract or having frequent showings, it's entirely normal to feel a mix of frustration and uncertainty. Let's delve into the key questions you should be asking and explore additional insights, including the crucial role of effective marketing and the importance of hiring an agent who employs advanced strategies:

1. Did You Limit Access to Your House?  This common misstep during the selling process can significantly impede your ability to attract serious buyers, especially in a seasonal market like Martha's Vineyard. It's crucial to prioritize flexibility when accommodating potential buyers' viewing schedules. While adjusting your plans might initially seem inconvenient, it's vital to remember that limited access equates to restricted exposure.

In the unique context of Martha's Vineyard, where many properties are rented out by the week during the summer, homeowners often grapple with the dilemma of sacrificing potential rental income to facilitate home showings. As real estate agents, we respect homeowners' needs and desires to capitalize on summer rental demand. Still, we also emphasize to sellers that restricted access to the home can be a significant hindrance to a successful sale.

It's a common misconception that interested buyers will effortlessly navigate tight showing windows, especially in today's fast-paced world where schedules are busier than ever. To address this challenge, consider incorporating a clause into the lease agreement that allows for showings during the tenants' stay. Offering a slight rental rate discount can be an attractive incentive for tenants to accommodate showings, ultimately enhancing your property's visibility and sales prospects.

Enthusiastic buyers, including those from afar in a destination market like Martha's Vineyard, may find it challenging to align with rigid showing schedules. To increase your chances of a successful sale, aim to make your home available as frequently as possible. After all, the opportunity for potential buyers to view your property is essential to your success in the real estate market.

2. Did You Make Your House Stand Out?  In the world of real estate, first impressions carry immense significance. Your home's exterior should be as inviting as its interior, setting the stage for a memorable experience. Elevating your property's curb appeal through well-maintained landscaping and an enticing exterior can captivate potential buyers right from the moment they arrive. Keep in mind that if passersby don't feel compelled to step inside, selling your house becomes a formidable challenge.

Considering the fleeting window when homes on Martha's Vineyard showcase their best, it's advisable to engage your real estate agent well in advance of your desired listing date. This proactive approach allows ample time for scheduling and capturing professional photos when your property is at its peak. Your agent can also assist you in coordinating necessary service providers and preparations for the sale. While the "go live" date and pricing can be refined just before listing, early planning ensures a smoother selling process.

Moreover, it's essential to maintain the allure of your property beyond the front door. Inside, depersonalizing your space and decluttering are pivotal steps that enable prospective buyers to envision themselves living in the house. We often advise our clients to create an environment that appears unoccupied, though we acknowledge this can be challenging for year-round residents. Some sellers opt for renting a storage unit during the selling period, which can significantly enhance the home's appeal and ultimately its selling price. Additionally, subtle enhancements such as a fresh coat of paint and flawlessly maintained flooring can breathe new life into a room, elevating its overall ambiance.

3. Did You Price Your House Compellingly?  Determining the right price stands as a pivotal factor in achieving a successful home sale, especially here on Martha's Vineyard. While the allure of a higher price to maximize profits can be enticing, it's essential to recognize that overpricing can discourage potential buyers and prolong the selling process. As noted by Business Insider, one of the most prevalent pitfalls in real estate is the temptation to overprice a property.

In our Martha's Vineyard market, we've observed a trend where buyers are increasingly hesitant to make offers significantly below the asking price. This trend has become particularly pronounced in the post-pandemic selling climate, where it's become the norm for buyers to bid over the asking price to secure a property. Furthermore, owing to the persistent shortage of inventory on Martha's Vineyard, if a home remains available for more than a few weeks, buyers may start to question whether there are underlying issues with the property.

It's imperative to remain attuned to the feedback provided by your agent during open houses and showings. If you consistently receive feedback suggesting that your price might be deterring potential buyers, it's prudent to reconsider your pricing strategy. Assuming your agent is diligently executing all the necessary marketing efforts, opting for a competitive and realistic price can ignite buyer interest and accelerate the selling process, ultimately leading to a quicker sale.

Additional Insights on Why Homes Don't Sell:

Beyond the fundamental factors mentioned above, it's crucial to acknowledge the critical role of marketing and hiring an adept real estate agent. To maximize your home's selling potential, consider the following:

  • Marketing Expertise: Effective marketing can make or break a home sale. Your agent should have a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes professional photography, listing videos, and digital advertising campaigns. High-quality visuals and well-crafted advertisements can significantly increase your property's visibility and desirability.

  • Professional Photography: A skilled photographer can capture your home's best angles and features, making it stand out in online listings. High-quality photos are essential in attracting potential buyers and generating interest.

  • Listing Videos: Videos provide an immersive experience for prospective buyers. They can showcase the flow and ambiance of your home in a way that photos alone cannot. A well-produced video can leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

  • Digital Advertising: In today's digital age, online visibility is paramount. An experienced agent should know how to run targeted digital ad campaigns across various platforms to reach a broader audience and drive more qualified leads.

In conclusion, while it's natural to feel disappointment when your listing takes a long time to sell, it's also an opportunity for reflection and enhancement. To navigate these challenges effectively, reach out to us to discuss what may have transpired and explore adjustments to relaunch your property into the market successfully. We're here to help you achieve your real estate goals, armed with the latest marketing strategies and a commitment to making your Martha's Vineyard home shine in the market.


As a team, we work in harmony for the benefit of our clients. We handle multiple transactions at once and are able to execute a complex marketing strategy by leveraging team resources. We can be in several physical locations at once to ensure showings are always possible for our buyers and sellers. Our clients benefit from the combined experience of our agents and administrative staff.

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