AgentBrokerage

How to revive stale listings

Gaining traction on older listings is tough – especially when extended days on the market are red flags
  • Lack of interest in a property for sale only gets more troublesome as the number of listed days increases.
  • More often than not, homes sit on the market for more than 90 days because they aren’t priced correctly.
  • You might be marketing your properties incorrectly, especially if other listings in the same neighborhood are moving faster than yours.

Your clients’ property has been listed for more than 90 days, and you haven’t even received an email. Sound familiar?

Lack of interest in a property for sale only gets more troublesome as the number of listed days increases. Sometimes the target market isn’t biting for economic reasons. But homes tend to move a lot quicker in today’s market than at the peak of the housing crisis in 2008.

You might be marketing your properties incorrectly, especially if other listings in the same neighborhood are moving faster than yours.

Consider these strategies before removing your listing so you have a plan of attack to get the interest your property deserves.

Analyze list prices

More often than not, homes sit on the market for more than 90 days because they aren’t priced correctly. Buyer’s agents — and even buyers themselves — do their homework on market value. If your property is priced too high, you’re driving away potential buyers who don’t want to deal with negotiations.

When selling in a new area, do your research prior to discussing an appropriate asking price with your seller.

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As most seller’s agents know, asking sellers to lower their asking prices can be difficult. Even if they aren’t motivated to sell right away, you need to discuss the importance of avoiding stale listings. Otherwise, they might want to reconsider putting their home on the market until home values in their area increase and their desired property price falls closer to market value.

Review the marketing strategy

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself regarding your advertising strategies when your property isn’t moving:

  1. Have you posted your listing on all the appropriate outlets? You might prefer Trulia over Zillow, Redfin over realtor.com, but your preferences don’t matter — potential buyers usually have their favorites, and your best way to reach them is by listing on all real estate portals versus just a few.
  2. Did you share socially? Social media marketing is an increasingly important aspect of real estate sales, especially as video tours become a norm in the world of online real estate advertising. Think Facebook and Instagram for your short clips to grab buyers’ attention, then provide a link to your website or professional profile where interested parties can view the full listing and, hopefully, make contact.
  3. Did you hire a professional photographer? With so many buyers relying on the Internet to sift through listings, high-quality photos are essential. Don’t cut corners with a camera phone — and save the filters for your personal photographs only.
  4. Have you talked to any buyer’s agents? It doesn’t hurt to ask around and see if anyone is in the market for what you’re selling.
  5. Does your strategy fit your target market? In some neighborhoods — mostly suburban or rural locales — pamphlets and brochures still reign supreme over Internet marketing. Consider retirement communities, where the majority of residents might not even have a smartphone or Internet access.
  6. Are you keeping up with the comps nearby? It’s the easiest way to see who’s beating you out and why. You can even set up home alerts on some of your favorite portals for up-to-the-minute closing notifications. And there’s always the MLS.
  7. Has the neighborhood experienced a high number of foreclosures? This usually takes a while to affect home values, but word of mouth might deter potential buyers from paying top dollar for your listing, especially since foreclosures have the tendency to lower home values nearby.

Talk to your sellers about aesthetic upgrades and staging

Simple upgrades like paint and hardware go a long way at a low cost. Further, if your seller has already moved out furniture, you might want to hire a staging company for open houses and walk-throughs. It’s hard for buyers to imagine themselves starting a life in an empty, lifeless home.

Make sure the seller is keeping up with home maintenance, especially in the fall when the weather begins to turn.

If they’ve already moved to a different city, you should ensure the exterior of the property looks flawless at all times. You never know when a potential buyer is going to make a drive-by to get a closer look at a listing.

If you’re selling a home in a warm climate, make sure key features like pools and outdoor spaces are clean and well-kept. Pools should be ready for swimming — unless covered in the wintertime.

Anyone looking for a home with a pool usually regards it as a bonus, not a necessity. This means they are less likely to want to make any upgrades for something not on their must-have list. Actually, some buyers even stray from amenities like pools because they require so much work. Don’t scare buyers away before they’ve even had the chance to consider pools and other amenities as positives.

According to a recent Zillow study, homes with fewer than 100 page views only have a 12 percent chance of selling in 60 days or less. Online marketing should remain a top priority throughout the selling process — unless, of course, your target market is an outlier.

Whatever the case, be proactive with your stale listings before the 90-day mark hits.

Email Jennifer Riner.