By: Jennifer Weinberg
Your new listing is all set to go to market: the professional photography looks good, you have stellar pre-marketing and you called your sphere about this great home for sale.
You enthusiastically hit the button, and everything goes live. The days tick by, and… crickets. Now the property has been on the market for several weeks without much serious interest. You and your client start to ask, “Has this listing gone stale?”
Before you go down that road, what exactly is a “stale” listing? Realtor.com defines a stale listing as “any home that has sat for too long without receiving serious offers.” The definition of “too long” depends on your market and the sub-market/neighborhood where the home is located. That means it could be considered stale at 45 days or six months, depending on the unique circumstances of your market.
To determine a reasonable expectation of days-on-market, calculate the following:
- Are homes in this neighborhood staying on the market shorter or longer than the average for your city?
- Have there been many price reductions on other listings in the neighborhood?
- How many listings have expired and then re-listed quickly?
You and the homeowner may be frustrated at the snail-pace of activity on the listing. To determine why the listing has gone stale, you need to gather more information and create a plan to garner new interest.
Feedback is free data. If you’ve received feedback from open houses or conversations with potential buyers, share it with your client—the good and the bad—because your client can’t make informed decisions without information. This is especially true for any deferred maintenance or repairs that need to be done. Buyers notice these things, and your client needs to know if they are stopping buyers from putting in offers.
What if you haven’t had many showings or received no feedback? Ask three to five trusted agents, your broker, and your mentor to walk through for an honest assessment.
Do Another Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)
Maybe there have been some recent sales affecting the price. Or maybe there has been a sudden increase in inventory (aka competition). Stale listings can result from a price that’s just too high.
Update the Staging
Staging doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in all new furniture, although that might be needed. Maybe you need to spruce up the minor details (pillows, throws, décor) or rearrange the current furniture – most stagers will do a design consult to help identify areas needing attention.
Reassess Your Marketing
Rewrite the listing description. Play up the features that have received positive feedback.
- Take new photography. A different professional photographer will have a different point of view of the property. If your listing went on the market in August (summer), but now it’s October (autumn), take new exterior photos to showcase the current season.
- Update your media. Add floorplans and video tours so buyers have different options to get to know the home.
- Sell the lifestyle. Add neighborhood photos and video. Include restaurant recommendations in the listing description. Tell the story of how the new homeowner will enjoy this neighborhood.
- Get on the phone. Use your professional network to help you. Call agents who have recently represented sellers and buyers in that price point and/or neighborhood.
Use the feedback and information you learned in the steps above to create an updated listing strategy to present to your client. Include the most recent CMA, the days-on-market for the neighborhood, and how many other listings have dropped in price in the same time period. Use recently sold listings to provide a case study. Share details of your new marketing plan. Educate your client with honesty and tact.
A stale listing can be revived – and the buyer is out there! It’s all about reaching them, and with consistent effort and a willingness to pivot when necessary, you will get there.
Jennifer Weinberg is a licensed real estate professional. REALTOR® and partner in Living True Home Group at MW Real Estate Co in Nashville, TN. Living True Home Group empowers homeowners by offering real estate information and services in an approachable, compassionate and fun way. Their motto: No egos here. This women-led partnership makes sure all their clients feel listened to and cared for and well-informed.