Why Listings Expire…

As a Realtor and broker, I have helped literally hundreds of sellers sell their properties and homes.  I have also bought and sold my own personal, rental, and investment properties.  I know what helps one home sell in a timely manner, and another one stay on the market far too long.

You may have come to this site because you received a letter after your property listing expired, or your home, which may currently be listed, may soon expire.  I want to be helpful to you and totally upfront and honest with you.  I hope that you will appreciate that.

The number one reason why a home or property will not sell during the listing period is simply because it is overpriced.  I have seen numerous sellers want their property listed high above the Realtor’s recommended listing price.  They start out by wanting to “test the market,” but soon forget that their list price was a ‘test price,” and they begin to expect their Realtor to sell it for the asking price or close to it.  After several months and many potential buyers walking through, the home sits there without a serious offer because it was overpriced from the beginning.

Many, many times, a seller believes that his home is worth more that the Realtor told him it was.  Obviously, as a seller you are proud of your home, and you know its features better than anyone else.  You have lived there probably for many years, and it’s your “pride and joy.”  What you must remember though, is that the Realtor is in and out of many different homes in the area throughout the week.  He or she, knows the market and knows the value of your home because he has seen what many other similar homes have sold for recently.  He or she also has the hard facts and data available form the MLS, to compare you home to.

Try to be objective and listen to your Realtor.  If you have had a lot of showings and no offers, that may be telling you that your property is overpriced.  If you have not had many showings, that may be telling you t he same thing because you can be assured the buyers are seeing your home online.  They just are not coming to see it in person.

One fact that sellers do not realize is this: Sellers do not determine the value of their home – buyers do by what they are willing to pay!  This statement is absolutely true, and sellers need to understand it.

The second reason a home may not sell is that it is not in the location that enough buyers are looking for.  Just because 20 buyers came through your home doesn’t mean that your home was a legitimate possibility for all 20 buyers.  Because many buyers do not know the homes that their Realtor will take them into beforehand, it is possible, and even likely, that the neighborhood or subdivision is not exactly what the buyers were looking for.  Or, maybe your home sits next to a train track, a cow pasture, a busy road, an airport, or even an unattractive house or property next door.  These are all factors that can cause buyers to look elsewhere.  If your property is challenged by any of theses factors, you want to be sure that your price reflects this.  Remember, the buyer is primarily looking for a good value and a home that attracts him or her.

The third reason why many homes do not sell is the condition of the property.  I have been in homes where you couldn’t see the floor, literally.  If Mr. and Mrs. Clean walked into that house, they probably will not even see the entire property.  They will be too turned off to keep looking.  This happens more often than you know.  I have had buyers turn around the minute they walked in the door.

Your home doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, but the closer to perfection it is, the more likely that the buyers will spend more time there and look more intently.  The main idea is to remove as many distractions from the home as you can.  Dirty laundry, a sink full of dishes, crowded closets, and the child’s toys spread all over the living room are distractions that the buyers may not be able to see past.

If your home is in need of some major or minor repair work, understand that some of the buyers that walk through your home will mark it off their list, simply because they are not looking for a home that needs immediate repairs of any size.  Needed repairs become distractions in the eyes of buyers.  If these issues can be taken care of relatively easy, it is to your advantage to do so.  Remember, remove as many distractions as you can.

The fourth reason that a property may not sell may have to do with inadequate marketing.  Now, here is where you might expect me to tell you that your Realtor should be advertising your property everywhere he can, and if he isn’t, then that’s the reason your property didn’t sell.  But as I said earlier, I am going to be honest with you.  Every Realtor knows that the reason they advertise a property is not to find a buyer for that property.  It is primarily for two reasons: #1) The first reason is to impress the seller.  Every seller wants to see his home advertised in a slick, glossy real estate magazine or newspaper.  It makes him feel like he’s getting something for his 6% fee that he has agreed to pay.  Believe me, it doesn’t cost 6% to get your home sold or to advertise in those magazines.  The second reason that the Realtor advertises a property is to get a call from a buyer looking for any property.  Every Realtor knows that when a buyer calls on a property, it is extremely rare that that buyer buys that property.  But the Realtor advertises your property, hoping to attract a buyer to whom he will probably sell another home.

But marketing covers everything from advertising to how a property is presented in the MLS.  I see many properties in the MLS that do not even have a picture of the property, much less, three, or six, or eight, or up to 36 as I put on my listings!  If a Realtor cannot see a picture of the property, he is not likely to take someone to see it.  And if a buyer cannot see quality photos online, they likely will not want to see it anyway. You would be amazed at how many properties in the MLS do not have pictures for buyers to view.

The most valuable piece of marketing that you can have is the Multiple Listing System.  The main key to getting your home sold is to be in the MLS, and not pay more than you have to, to be there.  The second most valuable piece of marketing is to have lots of pictures in the MLS and on Realtor.com!  These are the two most successful real estate marketing tools.

The fifth reason why listings often expire is because of strong odors in the homes.  Often, these odors are caused by pets or by the owners having smoked in the home.  I was with a buyer recently who took three steps into the home before she turned around and walked out because of the overwhelming smell of wet dog. If you have pets in your home or if you smoke in your home, you need to do everything you can to eliminate as much of those odors as you can.  There are people who will not buy a home where a pet has lived inside or where the owners have smoked.  Now understand that there are people who will buy that home who may not have pets or smoke at all.  Therefore, it is of major importance to have your home smell as fresh as possible.  You want to remove every potential barrier for each possible buyer who walks through your home.  Clean the carpets and air out the home as much as needed.  This should help keep your home as a possibility for more buyers.

Now, the sixth and final reason why properties do not sell.  You won’t be impressed with this one, but it’s true.  There are times when properties do not sell and there really isn’t a good reason for it, other than the right buyer hasn’t come along yet.  I told you that I would be honest with you.  I will not put down your Realtor and say that if he had done his job, your home would be sold.  That may or may not be the case.  It may not be his or her fault that your property has not sold.  It may be that your property just needs more time on the market.  I have seen a great property, in a very good location, which was priced correctly, stay on the market for two years, and then get two full price offers on the exact same day!  Your property might just need a little more time.  This is especially true in a slower market.

There are the top six reasons why properties do not sell.  Now let me just say a couple more things to you about our company.  There are many good Realtor’s and many good real estate companies the area.  I won’t tell you that your Realtor did everything wrong.  I will not tell you that he is the problem, and we’re the solution.

But I will tell you that if you are listed at anything close to 6%, you are going to pay too much if your home sells!  Call today to find out how we can save you thousands of dollars!