My listing expired, what now?

If your listing recently expired, you’re not alone. Lots of sellers experience difficulty selling their homes within the initial listing period  well over 50% of the listings taken last year expired without selling. Many of those homes were ultimately relisted, and successfully got into a sales contract. So your home’s failure to sell within the initial listing period does not mean that your home can’t sell, or that there’s something wrong with it.

Nevertheless, you’re probably very curious as to why your home didn’t sell within the initial listing period. You’re probably also curious what you and your broker could do differently the next time to have a better chance of attracting acceptable offers. If so, you may find the following tips helpful when you relist your property for sale:

Marketing

According to national studies by the National Association of Realtors, the vast majority of new home buyers and repeat buyers use the internet to start their home searches. Most buyers get their first impression of your home by what they can see online. So with all the listings on the market today, your home MUST stand out in that online marketplace. Maximum exposure is the name of the game.

Pictures

Studies show that pictures are the most effective marketing tool for attracting attention from buyers. People like looking at pictures, so the more pictures you have, the better. The listing advertisement should include pictures of every room, with both interior and exterior shots, and show off all the best features of your home. Pictures should be taken with a wide-angle perspective, which makes rooms look bigger, and should be taken in the highest-resolution possible. Most importantly, the pictures should be refreshed periodically, which can sometimes attract buyers to take another look by making the listing seem fresh and new.

The Property Description

Too many brokers and sellers still write property descriptions as if they are writing a newspaper ad, with abbreviations and superficial generalities that do not provide an engaging depiction of your home. Listing the basic features like the bed room number and the bathroom total are not sufficient advertising functions and tend to be repetitive since the listing information in the MLS descriptions will already have posted the properties bedroom and bathroom count. The MLS allows for a much longer description than most brokers use, Though the initial ad is halted right around the 800-900 character length, MLS options and many internet sites allow for even longer amended descriptions. The seller and the broker should take the time to create an interesting, attractive, and thorough description of the highlights of your home, not a terse three-line property ad that is appropriate or the classified section. It is also best to highlight the attributes and features of the home above who prospectively should LIVE in the home. A lot of property ads will list the property has a “Perfect for the first time home buyer” or “Turn key investment property” even “Really nice if you're down-sizing” niching out the population of who the sellers and brokers think should fit into the property may be trying to match square pegs and round holes. What if a buyer doesn't need an oversize floor plan and prefers a smaller 1-2 bedroom detached as opposed to a 3-4 bedroom home and isn't even considering their purchase as downsizing, what if in fact they're coming from an apartment or duplex and just want something detached? The listing is now suffering from categorizing stigmas that will automatically get discounted by prospective buyers.

Internet Syndication

Your buyer could be anywhere in the world, so you need to have your home marketed on every significant internet site that attracts buyers. If you list your home with most MLS brokers, your listing will be syndicated to many of the broker websites in the area. But you also need to be syndicated through all the national real estate sites like realtor.com, zillow.com, and trulia.com,among others, because people from outside the area often use those sites for their initial searches. And you also need to be on news sites like nytimes.com, hotpads.com, mydigs.com and even craigslist which attract a large volume of regional buyers. So when you relist your property, you need to make sure that your home is syndicated as widely as possible, to capture the largest possible pool of buyers.

Condition

If you want your home to stand out in the marketplace, you have to prepare it for sale. I've related this topic most easily to home sellers by comparing it directly to selling back your car to make a down payment for a new one, or selling your car privately to another potential buyer. If you have had the vehicle for some time you're going to make sure that the routine maintenance has been kept up to date, oil changes, tire rotation/replacing, fluid changes, brakes/pads/rotors, you may even have a few scratches and dings and or small dents to pop out and paint over. Top this off with a nice detailing job to make it sparkle and attractive to either the new owner or dealership that you may be trading in. The rule is the same in homes. When buyers spot defects or repairs up front they are automatically taking money off of their original offer price as they will be needing to complete that work themselves. Most sellers on the market fail to properly “detail” and “stage” their home for maximum appeal to buyers. Although it can take a little time, and maybe a little money, the effort will pay off in a faster sale. That means presenting it to buyers as if it is a model home at a builder site: thoroughly cleaned, free of clutter, and de-personalized so prospective buyers can envision themselves living in it. Unfortunately, when you try to sell your home, you have to give up some of the comfort of living in that home. That means eliminating some of the personal items in the house, clearing out the clutter that collects in your closets, cabinets, and counter tops, and making the home look spacious and open.

Pricing

Finally, if a home does not sell within its initial term, sellers should review their pricing strategy. The initial asking price of the property might have been too high for the market, perhaps suggested by a broker who more times than not win over the listing over other competing brokers and think that further down the line the seller(s) may become anxious, distraught or desperate and get beat down to the price that is more in the fair market value range. This practice is more common than industry professionals would care to admit and by telling the seller what they wanted to hear, the broker has now set the seller back months of mortgage payments, any maintenance issues that may have come up during the listing period, HOA dues and also property taxes. Perhaps the initial price was set fairly for the prevailing market conditions, but those conditions quickly changed and the broker never reassessed the situation. A seller’s pricing strategy has to be responsive to changes in the market and feedback from buyers. Sellers need to keep track of market conditions, watching as other properties sell or come on the market have recent sales below the seller’s price point undermined the current pricing strategy? Sellers should pay careful attention to the feedback they get from prospective buyers and other brokers, who can help them identify flaws in the pricing strategy or ideas to make the home more appealing at the current price point. With the sellers and the brokers working as a cohesive unit to make sure all fronts are covered, the home sale process can be as seamless and painless as possible.

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Whether you're looking to purchase a house, sell a house, or just want to get a little information, feel free to reach out.