These four tips will provide meaningful sales meeting fodder to help agents understand why a property is taking longer than expected to sell—and what they can do about it.
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Even though existing-home sales increased in October and November, there was a decrease of 6.4 percent in December. Now, experts across the country are predicting a continued shift towards a buyer’s market in the months ahead. But that doesn’t mean your listed properties shouldn’t be getting attention from the right potential buyers. If several of your company’s listings are sitting idle, it might be time to reconsider some sales strategies.

We as real estate professionals can’t control the nation’s housing market, but we can take a step back and assess why a listing might not be selling. At your next sales meeting, share these common reasons a property might be taking longer than expected to sell and what agents can do about it.

1. Expectations are too high.

A home that is priced too high is bound to deter potential buyers, and it’s one of the top reasons a home won’t sell. Of course, the seller wants to make a profit, but be sure that the listing price is in line with the comparative market analysis. Maybe the seller is expecting too much—holding onto the price for sentimental reasons, hung up on the amount of money they spent on renovations, or frustrated that the neighbors’ house sold for more money years ago. The key is to not let sellers set themselves up for disappointment.

If the property has had a lot of interest from potential buyers but no offers, the culprit is likely the price of the home. Buyers are ultimately the ones who determine the sale price of a home. Maybe the price is in line with other comparable homes, but the buyers just don’t agree with it. If an agent has decided price is an issue and has recommended that the seller lower their asking price, the next step is to determine how low to go. A noticeable price drop will likely draw in new interested buyers or even bring back previously interested buyers.

2. Your marketing isn’t working.

Writing a great listing is only half the battle. An agent has to be sure that potential buyers can easily find the listing. Maybe you said all the right things, included all the property’s details, and clearly communicated the home’s value—it won’t make an impact if the promotional efforts aren’t working. A For Sale sign in the front yard just won’t cut it in today’s competitive market. Your agents should have a combination of efforts and outlets in their marketing strategy.

Online: Be sure listings are advertised in a variety of online locations. Search for tools or software that will increase the exposure of your company’s listings with advertisement syndication on top listing sites. Be sure you are renewing your ads regularly to avoid falling to the bottom of the list. Share your company’s listings on your social media channels and target ideal demographics when possible (while following fair housing laws).

Offline: Open houses and broker opens are important offline marketing avenues. Depending on the market, sometimes local classified ads are effective, or you might try posting flyers in local hot spots. Encourage your agents to take advantage of networking opportunities to garner interest.

3. Photography isn’t your strong suit.

If a buyer isn’t captivated by the photographs accompanying a listing, why would they schedule an appointment to come see the home in person? Listing photos are one of the most valuable ways to convey the true nature of a property to potential buyers. You and your agents need to invest in high-quality photography, and make sure you always provide enough photos to make it clear to buyers exactly what you are selling. Most multiple listing services and real estate website allow (and encourage) you to upload many images. According to one real estate photography company, professional photos can help real estate pros generate up to 118 percent more online views and sell listings 50 percent faster.

4. The house isn’t presenting well.

If a listing isn’t selling and you think it’s priced competitively compared with similar homes in the area, then it’s time to go back to the research phase. What do these other homes have that this listing may not? Maybe they have freshly installed carpet while your property’s carpet is a little dated. Maybe they have brand-new appliances while yours are nothing special. Hopefully the client has already taken steps to prepare their home for sale prior to listing, but strongly encourage them to make efforts that will be worth their time and money in the end. Sometimes small investments that beautify a space, such as adding molding or updated light fixtures, can make a big difference. Consider asking your seller to remove any pets from the home during the selling process since fur and smell can be a major deterrent to buyers who aren’t necessarily animal lovers.

If a listing just won’t sell, take the time to honestly evaluate your agent’s efforts—or your own—and try to point out areas where improvements can be made. Your critical thinking will give clients valuable reasons to continue working with you, your agents, or your brand.

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