Stale listings are usually the result of several things that are not necessarily your fault, but it is your responsibility to fix. These listings are usually sitting for three reasons: Price, Location, or Condition. (And if you are really lucky ALL three)
Improve Communication with your Client
- Call them first, call them often. Bring information to them and help educate them about their current micro market. If they know that you are going to be calling them regularly to encourage them to make positive choices to sell, they will become conditioned to think more seriously about selling their home.
- Negotiate a special event for a price adjustment. A well-planned public/broker’s open house has the potential turn a stale listing around. It should involve a marketing strategy, budget, and scheduled in advance to make sure you can hustle people into the door.
- Create a KILLER updated CMA. Many agent’s fail to provide updated CMA’s for their listings after the first appointment. This is a significant mistake. Your clients will need revised information to help with realizing specific pricing corrections for their list price.
Improve Visuals for the Listing Marketing
- If you have not already invested in professional photography, that could be a serious issue with how potential buyers are viewing the home online. Dark and unfocused pictures can be a deal breaker for buyers who most often are surfing for homes on their mobile phone.
- Make sure your photos are in the right order for syndication. Buyers do not want to thumb through 10 exterior photos before they get to an interior photo of the home. Lead with the top spots in the home; kitchen, great room, or master bath suite. Take the extra time to make sure all of the captions and labels are matched on the photos in your MLS. Make sure your exterior photos are in the right season. Photos that are “out of season” with snow on the ground, etc. can deter potential buyers from seeing the home at its best.
- If the home has older appliances or is in poor condition, find home warranty options to offer buyers, and encourage the homeowners to make the home as clean as possible for showings. Clean homes always show better than dirty homes and will help encourage buyers to linger longer and possibly better visualize future improvements.
Improve Solutions for Tough Locations
- One of the first questions I ask agent’s about stale listings is “How is the parking/driveway?” If the driveway is in poor repair, or parking is not convenient, start thinking outside the box for solutions with the homeowner. Many buyers are doing a quick drive by the property before asking their buyers agent to show the property. If there is not a prominent place for parking at least two vehicles, it can potentially be a deterrent. If there is a parking garage nearby, or other designated parking area make sure this is detailed in the remarks in the listing. In rural areas, make sure the driveway looks passable in muddy or snowing conditions. Ask the homeowner how they park, and for any road maintenance agreements.
- If the home is located in a less than desirable area, the price should offer an incentive to the buyer for making that location work. This is a complicated conversation to have with the homeowner. Remember to be respectful of their current home. Ask them why they purchased the home, and what were incentives for them making the location work for their lifestyle. This will help start the conversation about building incentives for buyers to visit the property.
- Amp up curb appeal. Low key landscaping, fresh mulch, and a few plants can go a long way for making a home look well cared for on the outside. If buyers are pulling up to a jungle, they may think the interior is just as neglected.
What did we miss? Comment below and let us know your fail-safe tips to refresh a stale listing!