The key to being a successful listing agent and getting a home sold is to recognize the three fundamental items that will prevent a home from actually selling.
Additionally, when I meet someone who has been trying to sell their home for a long time with no success, I evaluate the same three aspects of the listing. These are: price, marketing strategy and the product itself. Below, I explore each one and offer some remedies to address.
First and foremost, the most important aspect with a listing is the pricing of a home. Normally, when we talk about a home being priced incorrectly, we are referring to it being overpriced.
When agents see an overpriced home on the market, it signals to them that their clients are not serious sellers or have unrealistic expectations. Either way, this is damaging to the sale of the property as agents will be less likely to bring their buyers to tour, and the home will accrue days on the market that add up to be a major detriment for all.
Additionally, people searching for homes online will shy away from reaching out about the home, and those who tour it may be apprehensive about making a fair market offer.
Establishing a market-value listing price from the start of the relationship with a seller is the most important conversation to have. This will truly make or break a sale from the start.
If a seller does have unreasonable expectations with a number that they’re not willing to budge on, it sometimes doesn’t make sense for an agent to take on a listing — it will cost both time and money with a limited chance of getting a good result.
Alternatively, you may want to agree with the seller to list the home at their price for a limited period of time, and then reduce to your suggestion. Nine times out of 10, the traction picks up as soon as the price drops, and people are encouraged and motivated to make offers and buy.
Being able to have open and honest communication with a seller — as well as being extremely well-versed and knowledgeable on market analytics — is what sets the great listing agents apart from the rest. Setting or correcting the pricing course is the first step to getting a home into escrow and then to closing day.
When a property has been on the market for some time, and the pricing is right and the product is great, I always find the missing chink in the armor within the marketing strategy.
When listing a home, you have to know who you are marketing to, what’s going to appeal to them and how to reach them. This all depends on a number of factors, but having a clear goal of the demographics of the potential buyer is the first step to success.
In my career, I’ve haven taken many great, well-priced listings that were on the market — and all I did with them was tweak the marketing approach. Whether it’s retargeting your ads, switching to hyperlocal outreach or expanding your horizons nationally, ramping up or reevaluating a social media campaign, small adjustments can make a world of difference.
Similarly, when you launch a listing, make sure to keep checking in on the marketing ROI to make sure you’re on the right track by garnering qualified leads and generating interest.
If the pricing is right, and the marketing is hitting all the right points, it’s time to look at the property itself. Not all houses are created equal, but all can be special in their own right — with a little time and care. Take the feedback of people who’ve seen the home, and use it to your advantage.
If a home is empty, try talking to the seller about staging. While cost can be prohibitive with furnishing a whole house, there are other options available like virtual staging or partial staging. That way, a potential buyer could get some idea of what the property could look like and the lifestyle that they could lead there.
If the home has a layout that could be improved, talk to your sellers about having an architect draw up some options to show potential buyers what they could do. If you do this, be sure to have a ballpark idea of what the cost of the construction would be, as this will certainly be the first question.
The same goes for landscaping and adding amenities like a pool, deck, fire pit or jacuzzi. If the yard space allows it, you could even mark out an area where a pool could go to show the possible potential.
These are larger, more expensive approaches, but there’s also a lot that can be done with minimal cost that could make a world of a difference. Presenting a clean and tidy house is of course critical, but sometimes a fresh coat of paint, a freshly mowed lawn and a tidy garden can make it easier for a potential buyer to visualize themselves living there.
Next time someone asks you why their home isn’t selling, take a look at these three items, and I’m sure you will find the answer to their question within. The good news is, once identified, an issue can be remedied, and the seller can be on the way to achieving their goals in no time at all.
Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.