There’s Only One Reason Why Your Home Didn’t Sell… and it isn’t Price
When a home does not sell within a reasonable period of time, stress can become prolonged and compounded.
The truth is, if you were better informed about the many details involved in the marketing and selling of your home, you could avoid—or at least alleviate—much of the stress associated with selling your home. Unfortunately, this lack of information regarding the complexities of the home marketing and selling process often leads home sellers to make the wrong decisions, both when selecting a real estate agent and in determining what to expect from the agent.
Relisting Your Property
If the listing or marketing agreement you had with your real estate agent and their company has, as the real estate industry says, “expired” you have the following options:
- You may relist your property with your previous agent
- You may consider a new real estate agent and a different marketing approach
- You may try to sell your home yourself
- You may keep your home temporarily or permanently off the market (all to often, sellers are losing even more equity while there home is off the market)
THE REASON HOMES DON’T SELL
Is It As Simple As the Price? Many Times, It’s Not
No matter what city you are in, there is only one reason why a home does not sell: Marketing. That’s right—the only reason a home does not sell is due to ineffective marketing. Overall marketing is the overall reason.
When a home does not sell, many real estate agents often point to price alone as the reason. We believe, along with most home sellers, there are usually many other factors involved also.
But What About Price?
While it s true that any home can sell if the price is lowered enough, the agent you select should represent a more nuanced, diagnostically comprehensive understanding of why homes, in general, do not sell. Conversely, one-dimensional, price-only thinking is a convenient excuse for those agents who lack the necessary skills to effectively market a home.
Many well-informed home sellers also understand that there are many other key factors beyond price that contribute to their home not realizing the desired results, such as:
- Ineffective marketing (reach, targeting, features and benefits, etc.)
- Inadequate merchandising (staging)
- Insufficient networking
- Unsuccessful negotiating
- Lack of information technology
Don’t overlook Price however
Price is one of the many critical marketing factors that influence the sale of your home. As you reevaluate the proper pricing strategy for your home, study in detail a comprehensive updated market analysis. Make sure that it details the current pricing trends for your overall marketplace, including:
- Days on the market for properties in your specific price range
- The list-to-sales price ratios for homes that have sold (the more recent the better)
- Square footage cost (ask agents how and if cost per square foot may be relevant to price)
- The number of price reductions or, where applicable, the number of price increases
- The number of homes currently active in your price point
- Any other information your agent can provide that relates to selecting the proper price
When re-evaluating price, keep in mind that in specific circumstances, a lower listing price can actually lead to a higher selling price. Because the laws of supply and demand essentially govern all pricing, a lower asking price can, in many cases, stimulate greater demand. Greater demand frequently leads to higher prices. Be sure you understand current supply-and-demand metrics and how they influence home values in your neighborhood. Also, consider the following when pricing your home:
- Buyers typically select a property after exhaustive shopping. Since buyers are prone to shop in one price range, they come to recognize value in a specific price range more quickly. Overpricing, therefore, can carry with it a significant penalty.
- A significantly overpriced property is less likely to be shown by real estate agents. A lower price can reduce days on the market, thus avoiding the stigma of longevity and protecting the price integrity of the property.
REAL ESTATE MARKETING
If you are going to be interviewing prospective agents, or even reconsidering the same agent, make sure they possess the all-important skill of marketing. We suggest you ask the following marketing-related questions:
- What is the difference between a real estate marketing agent and a real estate sales agent?
- How is marketing different than advertising?
- How is marketing different than real estate personal promotion?
- How do you market offline as well as online?
- How do you market to other real estate agents?
- How do you market to niche or segmented prospective buyers?
- How do you market to relocation and referral buyers?
- How will you develop and customize the marketing for our home?
Once you are satisfied with the agent’s level of experience and production, make this most important request of them:
“Please tell us, from a marketing standpoint, all of the things you will do in marketing our home that will cause it to sell at the highest price and at the best terms.”
Real Estate Merchandising
While it’s a cliché, it is certainly true: your home has only one chance to make a first impression.
Although often confused with marketing, there is a dramatic difference between real estate merchandising and real estate marketing. While real estate marketing represents all that a skillful real estate agent does while your property is on the market, merchandising is the skill required to increase the value of your property…even before it’s introduced to the market.
Having an agent that is very skilled and committed to property preparation is critical to your success.
Ask your prospective agent the following questions to determine their expertise in property preparation:
- Please explain the difference between marketing and merchandising. (If they say they’re the same thing, that’s a tip-off.)
- What merchandising or staging can be done to add to the value of our home? (This question will also allow you to identify some of the agent’s deeper feelings about your home.)
- Which other properties have you helped merchandise? What did you specifically recommend and how did it influence the results?
- What concerns might prospective buyers have about my property? Is there anything that can be done to address these concerns through effective merchandising?
REAL ESTATE NETWORKING
Skillful networking by the agent representing you is instrumental in both mobilizing and inspiring other real estate agents regarding the sale of your home. Here are some networking-related questions to ask your prospective real estate agent:
- What is your networking strategy for the sale of our home?
- What are your most effective methods of engaging and exciting out-of-area agents who might ordinarily overlook our town and our home?
- Tell me about your various referral networks.
- How do you educate and network with other real estate agents beyond the MLS and the Internet regarding our home?
- What will you do to get other agents to preview our property?
- How do you follow up with other agents?
Your Role in Networking
Although it must be said that in most cases, buyers, especially early on, prefer to enjoy their visits to a property when the home sellers are not present, we also recommend that you, as a home seller, inquire about your potential role in a particular form of real estate networking. In certain cases, you can play a valuable role in establishing goodwill with prospective buyers by providing them with superior knowledge of your home and its attributes.
Regretfully, many real estate agents categorically and routinely seek to persuade all home sellers, especially in the early stages, to be virtually invisible to buyers whenever possible.
We’ve experienced certain home sellers who have actually been extremely helpful in securing results from buyers. Many buyers intuitively recognize and appreciate that while home sellers are unavoidably subjective about their property, in some cases, they are more credible. At times, certain buyers feel they have more in common with or relate better to the individuals who live in the same home that they now believe defines their own interests and values. Therefore, discuss with us when and where it might be useful for you to be involved in this type of networking.
REAL ESTATE NEGOTIATING
Negotiating experts assert that there are five negotiation styles:
- Accommodators: Those who seek to preserve personal relationships
- Avoiders: Those who avoid conflict
- Collaborators: Those who involve both parties fully
- Compromisers: Those whose greatest desire is just to close the deal
- Competitive: Those whose greatest desire is to outright win
Again if you are interviewing prospective agents, make sure you pick a negotiator, not an arbitrator. We recommend you ask your prospective agent the following:
- How will you negotiate when the buyer agent tries to diminish the value of my home?
- How should we conduct ourselves as home sellers, if and when we meet with buyers and buyer agents?
- How should we most effectively react to a low offer?
- In a so-called “very active” or “hot” market, what can you do to try to create a multiple-offer situation?
- What is the list-to-sales price ratio in our marketplace, and how will this influence how you will negotiate for us?
- How long are the homes in our price range taking to sell, and how will you negotiate in our favor regarding that issue?
- Does having an open house help or hurt our negotiating position?
- Does having a “For Sale” sign help or hurt our negotiating position?
- How are you going to respond as our agent if the agent working with the buyer—or the buyers themselves—ask, “Where are the home sellers moving?” or “Why are they selling?”
- Do you negotiate differently with corporate transferees and out-of- town buyers as opposed to local buyers?
- Please give us two or three examples of how your negotiating strategies or skills have brought a significantly better price to a property you represented.
- Which features of our home will you highlight in order to enhance our negotiating position?
REAL ESTATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Technology in Real Estate today is critical and should be a key factor when selecting an agent. To help you gauge an agent’s technological proficiency, here are some questions:
1. How will you provide my property with greater shelf positioning online (because your home is competing with other homes on the market, just as products compete with other products on the shelf in a store)?
- How many websites will you market my property on?
- How do you or how does your company generate consumer traffic to visit my property online?
2. How will you create a photo marketing strategy for our property?
- How many photos do you recommend?
- Specifically, what types of pictures will be taken, how many, and in which order will they be displayed for my property?
- Are there certain rooms, or parts of the property itself, that should be in more than one picture?
- Will you provide virtual tours or videos of my property?
3. What type of community data will be provided with my listing?
- What type of community, neighborhood, services, school, transportation and other contextually important information regarding my home’s lifestyle will be included?
4. How will you and your company manage our transaction from contracts to closing, and how will you provide us with necessary feedback?