When a property listing expires, sellers often have a very difficult time when it is now apparent their home has not sold. It’s understandable that a homeowner, once so optimistic, is frustrated when an offer is never produced.
No matter how long your listing agreement is, a seller and real estate agent need to sit down towards the end of the contract and take a good long look at what were the issues that prevented a sale and to determine how to proceed. Sellers often wonder why and whose fault it is that a home didn’t sell. Here are the most common reasons that we have seen in our many years of real estate experience.
First, as a seller, ask yourself again why you are selling your home. Here are the top reasons people sell:
Home too small
Change in neighbourhood
Cash in equity
Move closer to family
If you really don’t have any motivation to sell, such as you may have wanted to see how your home would hold up in a buyer’s market, then ask yourself if you really want to sell your home?
Did you have effective marketing for your home? Was it advertised and promoted online? Were there professional photos, brochures, virtual tours and direct mail efforts? Did you have a lockbox on your property?
What is the condition of your home? Are you trying to sell with too many costly repairs? Has your property been decluttered, organized and cleaned inside and out? Perhaps the best features of your home are not being highlighted and a professional staging would help. It’s amazing how even the most minimal of staging can produce overwhelming results.
What are buyers saying about your home? Hopefully, you have been receiving this valuable information from your real estate agent. There are some things you can’t change, such as location, the reputation of a school district, and the size of your home. But there are several things you can: such as paint, a bit of updating and creating curb appeal if necessary.
This is usually the number one reason buyers won’t make an offer: your home is way overpriced. In fact, if it is dramatically over, then real estate agents will steer their clients away from a home. It’s often not even worth a buyer making an offer. It is strongly recommended that sellers review the neighbourhood comps and even tour other homes in the surrounding area to get a good idea of what is selling.
If your listing has expired, then get ready for an onslaught of activity from real estate agents who will want to take it over. If you are interested in finding another real estate agent, then make sure you interview at least three professional, full-time agents. Ask good, hard questions and ask what they would do differently than the previous agent. However, unless you want to find yourself in the same situation at the end of the next listing agreement – a seller who has yet to receive an offer – then avoid the following when hiring an agent:
1. Keep the high listing price
No matter what happens, remember that an agent can never tell you what your home will sell for. A buyer will tell you what the right price is. No matter what you list your home for, if buyers won’t budge, then you won’t sell your home.
2. Lowest Commission
Remember, you often get what you pay for. If you hire a real estate agent who charges a very low commission, then ask yourself, “why would an agent work hard for a much lower price?” Is this agent desperate for business? Are they unqualified?
Today, you need to hire a real estate agent who can market your home professionally. This is where an agent should spend a tremendous amount of time: marketing your property to its target audience. If you hire an agent who has little experience in this area, then keep looking. Odds are, buyers will find your home online. If they like what they see, then they will make an appointment. If your home doesn’t present itself well online, buyers will just use their mouse click over to the next home.
Finally, if you have an agent that has worked hard for you, produced and fulfilled a good marketing program, yet that hoped for offer never came through, then it can really only mean a price reduction. Chances are, your real estate agent will come back to you with an updated comparative market analysis to see if your home is priced to sell. If you respect your agent, and want to continue working with them, then lower your price and follow whatever suggestions your agents recommends, even if it includes repairs that you don’t want to do. Ask yourself this: Am I losing money in the long run by not pricing my home correctly? How much better would your finances be if your home sold at a lower price tomorrow, as opposed to staying on the market for another six months?
If your agent is spending money on advertising, marketing and networking, then perhaps it’s necessary to consider pricing your home so that buyers will take notice and make an appointment to see your home.
With new pricing, your agent can create a marketing program that will highlight the new reduced price. With new materials, perhaps new photographs if the seasons have changed (buyers don’t want to see a summer shot of your house if it’s in the dead of winter, they will know that your home has been on the market for too long and assume something is wrong with it), an open house that coincides with other neighbourhood open houses and other aggressive strategies will get the word out that you are a motivated seller.