When Your Listing Isn't Selling, What's the First Thing to Fix? All Together Now...

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

excerpted from my new book "If You're Not Having Fun Selling Real Estate, You're Not Doing it Right!"

When your listing hasn't sold, what's the first thing you look at? 



Nope. Not always. Not even most of the time.*

Many real estate agents claim that price cures all. And in a way, they're right. If you have a listing that shows poorly or is difficult to show or smells funny, there probably IS a price that will inspire buyers to overlook the clutter, access issues or eau du Chef Boyardee.

But is price the RIGHT answer? Again, not always. Not even most of the time.*

Why on earth not?

Three reasons.

First, I hope that when we real estate agents price our listings, we're pretty proud of that price. If I've put a price on a property, unless the market has declined, I'm pretty sure I'm in the ballpark. And the thing is, in today's market, buyers are well aware that they can "make an offer," so a minimal price reduction--say, $229,000 to $224,000 probably isn't going to make much of an impression on the market. In order for a price reduction to be meaningful, it's going to have to take that listing into a different pricing tier, thus introducing it to a whole new set of buyers who weren't looking at it before. And, depending on the price range of the property, that might mean a price reduction of $20,000 or more.

Now, think about what we could do with that $20,000--seriously.

Second, automatically resorting to the solution of reducing the price is really not what my seller wants to hear, and in that mindset, he's likely to question my professionalism and commitment. Let's face it, a price reduction is an awfully easy solution to offer and often abused by the real estate community. We all know agents who "buy" listings at a too-high price and then, as part of their game plan, beat up the seller later for a price reduction. And this isn't a secret to the general public--a lot of sellers are aware this happens, too. So, when your first and only solution is a price reduction, I believe it can really damage your credibility, especially if you recommended or agreed to the price in the first place.

But the main reason I'm opposed to looking first at the price as the solution is because it's rarely the best solution for the seller.

The thing is, there are tons of solvable problems - some simple, some not-so - that can keep an otherwise marketable home from moving. Our job is to play detective with our non-selling listings to determine if there's a problem we and/or our seller can solve, outside of a price reduction.

Stay tuned... I'll pick this up tomorrow!

*Unless you're overpriced to begin with, of course.








This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Real Estate Best Practices
Art of Professional Salesmanship
Learn to be a Top Producing Listing Agent
Real Estate Professionals
Real Estate Rookie
Selling Soulfully
all blogs
sell with soul
listing strategies

Comments 23 New Comment

Anonymous #19
Sybil Campbell


How many times have lost a listing to one of those "buy the listing" agents and then watched the sellers struggle for months or even a year possibly using several different agents before selling it at a lower price than you originally suggested?

July 30, 2009 11:33 AM
Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Jennifer, I'm in suspense until I can find your next day's post! While a smaller reduction doesn't put it in another price category, it does get it back out there for automatic emails. Wonder what you would think about that...


June 14, 2011 11:37 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Author of Sell with Soul
Sell with Soul

Sharon - I dunno... I wonder if most real estate agents ignore those automatic emails - if they have a buyer in that price range, wouldn't they already have seen the listing in the MLS? And if they don't have a buyer, they won't care?

June 16, 2011 09:38 AM
Karen Salmon
Okotoks Real Estate Agent
Royal LePage Benchmark

Not sure what the rules are in the US but in some cases we can offer a "cash back at closing" to "fix" an issue. Sometimes if the problem is something that is easily fixed (eg purple carpet) it is easier to offer $5000 to replace the carpet rather than reduce the price by $5000. At least then the buyer has the cash to do the fix rather than a lower mortgage payment. Hope that makes sense. (I really should check to see if we can still do this!! Sometimes the seller will offer gift cards to home depot as well)

October 21, 2011 09:22 AM
Karen Anne Mathers
Realtor - Vero Beach Florida Homes for Sale
Dale Sorensen Real Estate


I love it when I have listed a home that shows like a model because I know it is going to make it easier to sell. It may not bring $20,000 more but it will certainly sell faster and maybe even get multiple offers.  

I think we need to do a better job educating our homeowners.  I know I have a hard time telling a seller that they need to pick up laundry and do the dishes . . . I just assume they know that.   Lately I have been listing the home and then setting an appointment to come back and take pictures when they have had an opportunity to get the home ready. Half the time it looks the same. I know that home is going to sell based on price.

I am going to make a checklist of things homeowners need to do and removing all the magnets off the front of the refrigerator is the first thing!

October 22, 2011 12:33 PM

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the balloons to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase: