So you have a listing but no interested buyers. Stop wasting time looking for a magic bullet that will sell a hard-to-sell house. There isn’t one single method or marketing campaign that will do the trick. You must begin with an action-oriented mindset and analyze the facts of the property and the sellers’ situation. Then follow these nine tips to get the house sold.
- Do a new CMA. Because this property has likely sat on the market for a long period of time, you have resources to help you understand the house better now. Hopefully, you’ve received feedback from agents and prospective buyers who’ve viewed it. Plus, there are new sales, pending sales, and active listings that are competing with your impossible-to-sell house. Do a new competitive market analysis to see how the home features and price now compare to others in the area. Pretend the house is a new listing. Evaluate the absorption rate, days on the market, list-to-sell-price ratio, number of homes competing with yours, and any other trends that may have changed since it was first listed.
- Evaluate the motivation of the sellers (again). Why are the sellers selling, and when, ideally, do they want to move? Is there a certain amount of money that they want to make on the sale, and is that amount flexible? Perhaps the sellers’ motivations have changed since first signing the contract to list with you. Remember, in order to fall in love with the next house, the sellers have to let go of the current house—which may involve a price reduction.
- Is lease-to-sell an option for the sellers? Research the feasibility of the sellers becoming landlords. Look at competition in the immediate market and price points. Be sure to discuss the realities of becoming a landlord; those realities may be all the motivation the sellers need to adjust the price of the house.
- Set up a “reality” tour of competing listings. Take your sellers out to show them other homes for sale in the area so you can see what’s out there together.
- Discuss taking the hard-to-sell house off the market. Explain to the sellers that spring is usually the most competitive time to sell a house, and people who are relocating usually move during the fourth quarter. It might be best for them to temporarily take the home off the market and list it again (with you) when time is more advantageous.
- Set a reasonable price reduction strategy. If after two weeks or 10 showings there isn’t a workable offer on the table, then the price point of the listing is missing the mark. If the sellers are motivated, they should reposition the price of the property to reflect the expectations of prospective buyers currently looking at the house. When the sellers agree to adjust the price after the home has been on the market for several weeks or months, make sure to get an extension of your listing agreement at the same time. This way everything is done simultaneously, and it’s easier and more efficient to do all the e-signing in one session.
- Suggest the sellers make improvements. “Correcting” or fixing elements of the home based on feedback from agents and prospective buyers could spur more interest and a potential offer. If the cost of repairs is a problem for the sellers, do your best to find contractors who will agree to being paid at the time of closing.
- Devise a new and improved marketing plan. A new list price and property improvements warrant a new marketing plan. Consider hiring a stager. The listing will likely need new photos. Call all previous showing agents to update them on the new price and repairs, and invite them to come back with their clients. Create a new MLS digital flyer that reflects the new price. Schedule a new open house and consider making it an event by partnering with a charity so additional eyes are encouraged to see the property. Create a new social media campaign with the updated photos and, ideally, videos.
- Keep your sellers updated constantly. You need your sellers to trust that you are doing your job. Keep them in the loop on every action you’re taking to sell their home.