Monday, November 5, 2007

So your house didn't sell...

You put your house up for sale and what happened? The listing expired without a sale. And now you're wondering what went wrong... Like all homeowners, you hoped your house would sell quickly. Some houses do. But - as you've found out - some don't sell. In some tough markets, as many as a third to half of the listings expire unsold.

Don't get spooked by the death of the first listing. The home sale you want is still well within reach! Are You Committed To Selling? First, take a step back and review your decision to sell. Do you still want to move? Although you may feel discouraged, if you still want or need to sell, make a renewed commitment to do what it takes to market the house effectively... Next, find out precisely what went wrong. An expired listing usually reflects a problem in one or more of four major areas: price, communication, condition and/or marketing.

1. Price. This is the most common culprit for the lack of a sale. An incorrectly priced house attracts the wrong buyers or worse - none at all. Market conditions probably have changed since you initially listed your house. Houses may have sold, additional houses may be listed now, loan rates may have moved up or down. Your agent should prepare an up-to-date market analysis - a review of recently sold houses and houses currently for sale that are comparable. Be prepared to set your price below other active listings languishing 60-90-120+ days on the market. Activity without offers often indicates overpricing. Lack of showings all together indicates overpricing. Remember, any house, no matter what condition, will sell for the right price. What price is "right" depends on market conditions, competition, and condition.

2. Communication. Why no sale? What did prospects say about price, and about condition? What feedback did other agents offer? Teamwork between seller and agent is key to know how to alter a marketing plan for success.

3. Condition. Is your house someone else's dream home? When buyers enter, do they think, "I love this house!" A house in move-in condition invites a sale. Have you fixed all the little squeaks and drips, cleaned and painted, decluttered, brightened up and concentrated on outside curb appeal? Or are you hesitant to take care of major items? For instance, did you offer an allowance for new carpet instead of installing it? While prospective buyers are trying to imagine what new carpet will look and feel like, they likely are discounting the price still further for the worn carpet underfoot. A house in clean, staged condition sells fastest and gets the best price because it outshines the competition. Consider a consultation with a professional stager to assist you.

4. Marketing. Your secret to success is a carefully crafted marketing plan that exposes your property to the widest possible pool of prospective buyers. Elements often include: direct promotion to other agents and brokers through special tours, flyers and brochures; listing in the local MLS; an advertising program that generates buyers for similar properties in your price range; buyer open houses if appropriate; internet advertising; photos and virtual tours; and other unique activities designed to catch attention. Buyers Are Out There Now! Finally, a word of advice. Don't show off your house until marketing team, price and condition are set. Buyers are out there right now looking for certain properties. Put your house in buyer-ready condition before listing it again and it won't go unsold.


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