If you want to sell your house, you need to keep in mind that the market has shifted considerably from this time last year to now. Although the total number of sales per month have been nearly cut in half, it’s important to know that the average sales price has only changed by less than 10%. That’s good news for sellers.
This said, if you’re trying to sell your house, you should be aware that it’s unlikely to sell very quickly, at least compared to all of the offer presentations and multiple offers we were seeing from Jan-Mar of last year.
The long your home sits on the market however, there is the risk of it becoming “stale” as the days on market grow. And, the longer they sit, it could have some buyers wondering if there is something wrong with it which will make it ever harder to sell. This can be a frustrating situation not only for the seller of the home but also for their REALTOR®.
If you’re wondering what the true definition of a stale listing is, it’s a home that has been on the market for an extended period of time with no offers. This is generally perceived as three months or more. Luxury homes are likely to sit even longer, but that’s not uncommon. An average of 70% of luxury homes can take up to six months or more to sell since they are targeted to such a slim percentage of the population.
Now, if you’re trying to sell your house and it has in fact been on the market longer than you’d like, you could likely be wondering “why is it stale?”. Before shifting any strategies to market the property, you and your REALTOR® should identify the root cause of this before anything else. More often than not, the price will have something to do with it as a home is only really worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. With price being one of your best marketing tools, you need to be on board to understand that the right price is essential to attracting the right buyer(s).
To get more buyers into your home so you can sell it, here are some steps you can take to refresh a stale listing.
ANALYZE MARKET DATA
Your REALTOR® can run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to provide you with the market data on what homes in your area are listed for and have sold for. They should have run this for you before the home went live on MLS, but even if they did, if a few new listings popped up right after or in turn sold, this can change very swiftly and impact your listing. An up to date CMA will allow you to evaluate if a home is priced well or if it’s why you’re not seeing traffic and/or offers.
REVIEW YOUR MARKETING PLAN
Any good REALTOR® should be armed with a strong plan of action when it comes to marketing. It’s no longer good enough to put a For Sale sign on the lawn and feature the home on MLS to sell your house, there are other things that should be done as well. This could include sending a mailout to surrounding neighbourhoods so residents can tell family/friends about it. This may involve directly emailing local REALTOR®’s to try to connect with their buyer clients. Social media is important as well with ads promoting your listing to people who live within 50km from the home. Connecting with other real estate professionals helps as well.
In addition to social media, digital marketing including organic search engine optimization and pay per click ads are another way to get traffic to your home as well. Your REALTOR® can write a blog post that details your listing in great depth (think 2000 words or more). These can get promoted on Google Ads, on social media and in newsletters. Your REALTOR® can get as creative as possible to get in front of more serious buyers. For example, if your home has a beautiful backyard, there could be some staged shots hosting a dinner or enjoying your morning coffee. Anything that highlights the positive features of the home are truly fair game.
Another innovative marketing strategy is connecting with other REALTOR®’s to promote the listing. This is something that you, as the seller, needs to agree to in the effort to help sell your house but it helps connect to an entirely new audience and could help your efforts a lot.
SET, STAGED, SOLD!
If you haven’t staged your home for the listing, doing so could help significantly. When buyer’s see your home on MLS for the first time, their first impression is instantly derived from the photos and video that have been put up. Although staging can be costly, it’s more often than not a worthwhile investment to help sell your house. In addition, it’s imperative to depersonalize and ensure the home is spotless, and ideally vacant, for all showings.
The outside of a home matters almost as much as the inside does. Although this can be challenging in the winter, if you plan to sell your house in the months before listing, you can always get exterior photos done before hand to showcase how your home looks like in the spring or summer. During the winter, it’s important to make sure driveways and walkways are cleared/salted. If you’re listed during the holidays, some tasteful décor is usually well received also. As we head into the warmer months, flowers, plants, and landscaping can go a LONG way to help sell your house.
REVIEW ANY REQUIRED REPAIRS
Are there any repairs that the home needs that should’ve been done prior to listing to help sell your house? You may think that a dirty carpet or old appliance isn’t such a big deal, but for a buyer who is already overwhelmed at the prospect of costs they are facing, it could be.
I had a listing last year that required a lot of TLC prior to putting the home on MLS. The sellers invested around $15,000 in repairs and hit a limit with their budget, but they still had a very weathered/old stove and their carpet in the basement was in dire need of replacement. They had a lot of showings, but no offers during the first four to six weeks. Since they were in a position where they really had to sell their house, they decided to replace these two things, and within a week, they got an offer on the property.
If your home has been listed for a little while and isn’t gaining any traction from buyers, take a step back to assess it with a fresh set of eyes. If there is absolutely anything that may discourage a buyer, take action to remedy it.
Given the way the market has been over the past year and also the few years prior, incentives were not something that sellers ever really had to worry about. This was more common place with builder’s. This said, it doesn’t mean than offering an incentive isn’t just the thing you need to help sell your house. This could include a year long warranty on appliances or covering a buyers closing costs.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO
As noted above, the first impression a buyer has of a home is based on the photos and videos. While it is common place to showcase a photo of the homes exterior, if you aren’t getting a lot of showings and the home actually presents better from the inside, your REALTOR® can swap the feature photos of the home on MLS to whatever looks best, regardless of if its inside or out. You want to showcase photos that present the home in the very best light to attract as many buyers as possible. If you haven’t done so already, another great way to showcase the home is with a 3D Matterport Tour. This is literally the next best thing to a physical visit to the home!
Next to the images and video of the home, buyers will be reading the description of the listing. If the selling features of the home haven’t been outlined well or something is missing, a buyer could feel that the home doesn’t have everything they are looking for. The description should be very details, engaging and clear. You’re literally painting a picture of the home with the description so it’s an important element of the listing to help sell your house.
SHOULD YOU REPOST?
If your home has been sitting on the market for longer than anticipated, it’s natural to wonder if you should take it off the market and relist it. While this is one way to bring the days on market back to zero, it doesn’t negate the fact that other REALTOR®’s can see the history that a home has been listed and listed again – which is something they will communicate to their buyers.
If you do require time to address any outstanding issues within the home, then taking the listing off the market may in fact be a good idea so you’re not interrupted by showings. Make sure you also understand if there is also a minimum timeframe during which your home must be off market before re-listing again.
If there is an extended period of time and you actually really do need to sell, then making some lower cost improvements while the home is on the market may be a better option. Your REALTOR® can just block off some time for the work so there are no showings.
If you’re trying to refresh a stale listing so you can sell your house, there are a number of things you and your REALTOR® can try to do. The extra time, effort and patience will be worth it when the right buyer comes along.
Are you thinking about selling your house but you want to understand more about the process or what’s happening in the market right now? Let’s talk! I can be reached directly at 647.896.6584 , by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling in this simple contact form.
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