One of the worst feelings a real estate agent can have is when they get out of bed in the morning, put their feet on the floor, and the first thought they have is about a listing that’s dying. No matter how long you’ve been in real estate, you’ve either had or will have a listing like that. I wrote this blog “How to Breathe New Life into a Dying Listing” to help those of you who are going through this—or to help you when you find yourself in that unenviable position sometime in the future.
I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had many great relationships with agents and brokers; over the years, at some point we all discussed how to sell listings that are dying or dead. As a coach, it’s a question most of my salespeople will want some help with. I learned as a new CRS instructor that one of the best lectures I could give in a Listing Seminar was called “How to Sell Listing Impossible.” It was a hit, and it provided the foundation for this blog post. With all that said, here are some ideas for resuscitating your listing!
1. If the Problem is Price, it’s pointless to waste time, money, and technique on trying to sell that overpriced property. I know of properties on the market now that will never appraise for the listed price—and some of them have been listed by several different agents at the same price! Establish a saleable price in the beginning and have an advance discussion about the first price reduction if the property does not sell by a certain date (60 days in most markets). Without this discussion, there’s no motivation for the seller to change anything.
2. Change the View. 90% of buyers shop the Internet first for a house to buy, and a good percentage of them don’t call an agent until they’ve found the one they want to see. They shop photos, written descriptions, and price. Most of what shoppers see is NOT good, and some properties don’t have anything in writing beyond the basic specs: LR, DR, 4 BR, 3 BA, 2 CR GAR, KIT.
The photos are usually worse than the descriptions. Someone posted on Facebook this week that photos of bathrooms should not be allowed in the MLS, and I agree! When you take the first pictures of the house, take at least two of everything so you can post new photos if the property doesn’t sell in 6 weeks. Also, have a YouTube video for every listing and include that YouTube link in every email. PEOPLE LIKE VIDEOS!!! New photos will attract new buyers and so will new videos, so new photos, a new video, and a new description could find a new shopper. For even more appeal, how about a seller letter called “Why we love this home!”
3. Increase the VALUE. This doesn’t need much elaboration, just these four values and how to sell them:
- Condition. Have the house inspected by a licensed home inspector and have the repairs done.
- Clean, cut, trim, replace. Improve the curb appeal! If the outside looks like a dump, shoppers think the inside does as well. Power-wash everything outside, including the driveway, patio, sidewalks, etc. A new look on the outside gets a new buyer on the inside.
- Possession. 30-day possession broadens the appeal and can make a SALE!
- Terms. Pay closing costs, offer a home warranty and/or discount points, and for goodness’s sake, leave the appliances, drapes and lawn equipment—including the John Deere.
4. Cut the Price–Big Time! Cutting the price $5,000 on a $300,000 home is called “nibbling.” The reason to cut the price is to get new prospects to look at it, and that’s not going to happen if you just nibble away at the price. Cut it to the next price range, or at least enough that a prospect would think “That’s a deal!” With a dying listing, you really need to be the best value on the page. If you discuss the first price cut when you do the listing presentation, chances are the sellers will avoid asking for a higher price if they know how low the next price will be.
5. Ask for Help. A local network of real estate agents is invaluable. If the listing is dying (or brand new), call your network, send them a video link, and ask for help. You’ll get more help faster if you have the reputation for helping others when they need it. It’s good to remember that the idea of being a “self-made” person is just that: an idea. Behind every successful person I know is someone (or many someones) who helped that person get there. I don’t know anyone who is purely self-made.