By Joe Sesso, National Speaker and Director of Sales for Homes.com
When a listing sits on the market for a while, it can be frustrating for sellers. However, it can be even more frustrating for you, the agent, as you're the expert. Once a listing starts to go stale, it becomes a race against the clock, since the more time it sits, the less interest it generates and the value could depreciate.
As the market slows down in many areas during the summer months, it can be the perfect time to review your stale listings in an attempt to breathe some new life into them. Whether you think it may be your client's pricing decisions or even your lack of marketing strategy, here are four ways to help you revitalize your stale listings.
1. Host a Special Open House
If you're looking for something new, consider hosting an open house via social media. This gives thousands of people the opportunity to see one of your listings without having to be there, allowing you to reach a much larger audience. To do so, host a general open house to re-introduce the property to local buyers, and also stream the get-together live on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to save the videos to show off your skills for future clients.
Another option is to create a walk-through video. Because video is a favored format, it's likely to attract even more attention than static photos. The video doesn't need to be highly scripted or detailed, but should show prospects the highlights you would normally showcase during an open house. By doing so, you're also giving people the experience of working with you and building a relationship before they even meet you.
2. Respond to Unrealistic Pricing
Overpricing is often the most common reason a home is stuck on the market. Setting the right price is one of the most important factors when selling a home. Before setting a price, it's important to do your research so you're giving your clients the best opportunity for their home to sell. Find out how other homes in the area are priced to see if you're in the right ballpark. You should also see what previous homes have sold for to determine whether your estimate is reasonable.
If you believe the listing has gone stale due to unrealistic pricing, it may be time to show your client the reason their home is still on the market rather than just telling them. For example, if they're adamant that their home is worth $500,000, but you know it won't sell for more than $400,000, invite them to join you on a home tour. Take them to a listing that is actually worth $500,000 and show off the luxury and added amenities it offers. Once your client sees what $100,000 can buy, they will likely be more flexible in their listing price.
3. Revisit Listing Photos
Some clients believe staging is unnecessary and a waste of money. To combat this, remind them that 86 percent of buyers believe viewing a property online is the most useful part of their home search. If their listing photos don't positively reflect on the home, buyers could avoid the property entirely as they may believe there's something wrong with it. Show them a before-and-after photo from another property you've staged. Tell them that a majority of buyers will drive by a home after they've looked at it online, and ask them which home they would rather visit.
If your listing photos are strong, well-staged and clean, consider adding another layer. According to a recent survey, 47 percent of agents believed that social media was the top technology tool that gave them the highest quality of leads. This was above MLS and broker websites, email marketing, digital ad campaigns and even real estate blogs. This means that, if you're not showcasing your listings on your social pages (or if you don't have one), you should be doing so. To show your listings, try using a multi-image or short video post. Be sure you're providing the best way to contact you so viewers who want more information can reach out to you.
4. Review the Listing's Structure
After reviewing each of the previous aspects, if you think your listing is properly priced and you have high-quality listing photos and videos, another area that may be holding your clients back is maintenance. If the property has been on the market during the seasonal changes, some repair issues may have surfaced. Remind your clients to continuously check their ceilings, appliances, basements and even landscape. If something needs attention, it should be taken care of immediately, since potential buyers may want to see the house at any moment. Unfortunately, some clients become disheartened and do not keep up with the house. If you've noticed this, the summer season can be a good opportunity to revisit these areas.
While the property may be listed on a number of large portals, it may be time to think about advertising. Products such as Homes.com's City Sponsor Ads allow active buyers searching for a home online to interact with you. By prominently displaying your listings among the first search results in your city, buyers will automatically be drawn to the listing without thinking about how long it's been on the market. Pair this with the updated photos and a new description, and your listing will be in a great position to sell.
Joe Sesso is national speaker and director of Sales for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.