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Trust me, as a real estate agent the last thing I want is for your home– and my listing– to sit on the market for weeks on end becoming “stale”. But in many markets around the country it is not uncommon to see listings on the market for 6 months and more. Becoming a stale listing is never good– as usually the buyers begin to think that something is wrong with the home since no one else has bought it yet.
So why do some listings sell quickly while other sit? There are many reasons for it, and each listing should be analyzed on a case-by-case scenario. That said, if your home is one of the stale listings in your market, then it’s time to get back to marketing basics with the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, & Place. Often referred to as the Marketing Mix, it is the cornerstone of modern marketing.
Product— Well this is simple right? Your house is the product. However it is not the only product in the market place. To determine how many competing products are in your marketplace, have your listing agent complete an inventory analysis to determine the current months of inventory. You might be surprised that while your home has been on the market for 45 days, that in fact, current inventory versus the last 12 months of sold homes similar to yours indicate a market inventory of 3-4 months. If that is the case, go and visit some open houses of the competing properties and try to view them as a buyer would, not as a current seller.
Price— This is by far the stickiest of issues between sellers and real estate agents. Realtors are in a strange position to be selling a product that they (or the company they’re selling for) have no ability to set the price of; you the homeowner sets the price, regards of what the current market is valuing similar products at. There are many ways to determine a potential sale price of a home and none of them start with what the current investment in the home is. I’m sorry to say this, but buyers don’t care that you spent $10,000 for a marble entry, mainly because many buyers have never done such a project and have no context of that money spent. As far as they are concerned you’re contractor charged too much, and why should they pay for your mistake. Again, try to remove the emotion and look at the market data as you would if you were a buyer.
Place– This is tough, only because you can’t sell your home in a more expensive neighborhood. So while moving the home is not an option, determining the best comparable sold properties for analysis. Once again, be honest with yourself; ensure that the chosen comps are truly in comparable areas as well as having comparable home features.
Promotion– This is where your listing agent earns their commission. That said, your listing agent is your business partner, and in order for a successful sale to occur, both parties need to leverage their respective networks. Post the listing on your Facebook page, talk to your coworkers, let your neighbors know that you are selling.
Real estate buyers are finicky. My experiences with buyers have taught me many lessons, but the most important one is that buyers are using mainly emotion in their buying decision, while sellers are traditionally viewing the transaction in a more numbers oriented mindset. So take a minute and remember the emotions you were feeling when purchasing the home, and use those same emotional triggers as a way to bring the buyers through the front door.