Stale listings? 5 ways to freshen it up get it SOLD

Listings are leverage and the secret sauce to jump starting your career, but they can be  hard to get. Buyer leads are often much easier to obtain, and although working with buyers can be rewarding as well as lucrative, it is much more time consuming than working with sellers. Listings not only leverage your time by freeing you up to do other things while buyer agents show the property, listings also generate buyer leads which continue to feed your business. 

In addition to your fiduciary responsibility to the seller to get the listing sold, you also  worked really hard to land that listing, so it is extra important that you get it under contract and prove that you are an effective listing agent. This reputation will speak volumes and help you win more listings. 

However, no matter how well you price it and how well you market it, there are times when listings sit on the market.

And sit.

And sit.

And sit…

Don’t panic.

If you are like most agents, as soon as a property sits for a few minutes, you panic and tell the seller to reduce the price. Although price is really important, I don’t agree that it is always the most important factor in selling a house. So long as the property is priced at least sort of right, it often makes financial sense to leave the price alone and instead find ways to drive more traffic to the property.  The thought behind it is that even if the property is priced right, if no one gets in to see it, you won’t get any offers. Conversely, even if it is priced a little high but you find ways to get buyers to the property, you can often create enough interest to generate offers. 

Stale is for bread, not for listings.

When a property listing sits for a while it can get stale. Sellers often want to take the property off the market for a while so they can list it later and get a refresh. 

This costs the seller time

Agents might suggest  the common ways to revive them, like price reductions and minor upgrades, but everyone does that. 

This costs the seller money. 

Either way, your client is losing time or money on his or her most expensive asset. 

Put on your superhero cape.

 You are a creative, get-shit-done superhero and you are better than common. Here are 5 out of the box ideas that will help get your listing fresh and in front of new buyers and show the world your agent superpowers.

  1. Put a pin in it

Update the house for the season and document in photos. Is it holiday season or is the garden in full bloom?  Take some timely new photos and make them the first photos that buyers see. The photos should be amazing and bright, and Pinterest worthy. Post them on your Pinterest so they get repinned and spread the word. Make sure the original source of the photos is your website so the traffic gets directed to you and not a third party internet site.

2. Throw a party or event at the property

Are you doing a coat drive or a bake sale to benefit the local school? Make the property the drop off point. Promote the crap out of it and link to the listing. You can share it on all of your social media and ask people to donate and share. You will catch the attention of like minded people by doing a charity event. You will catch the eye of buyers and sellers since you are doing it in one of your listings. Right away people will see you as creative as well as someone who takes action to get the job done.

Also encourage the organization who is benefiting from the event to promote it. Your logo and brief info about the listing should be on all of the marketing pieces.  Make sure the house is stocked with all the required disclosures, listing and mortgage information, as well as neighborhood info. Get the most bang for your buck by really impressing all of the people who show up to the event.

There is also the sign out front that people will see when they pick up their apple pie or drop off that winter coat.

3. Virtual staging

Virtual staging is a great way for people to visualize the house furnished and decorated. It is faster and cheaper than real staging, and most often less expensive than a price reduction. Post the new photos all over social media and email out to your database. Consider tagging the staging company and use one who will also feature the listing on their site. Cross promote. Increase how many eyes see your listing.

4. If you can’t find buyers, make buyers.

Hold a first time home buyer seminar there. Pair up with a lender and offer the property as a venue. Market to your clients and the lender’s clients and hold a seminar there for free. Get buyers qualified and show them the house at the same time.   Make it festive with refreshments and light music. You can even have a photo backdrop with your logo on it. Take photos, tag, and post on social media. Spread the word and plan to do this again. Not only will you gain a following of potential buyers, you will strengthen your reputation as a listing agent. When sellers see what an amazing event you throw, along with results you deliver, it will propel your listing business.  

Be as prepared and professional as you can by having all the disclosures and information I mentioned in #2. Ask the lender to offer an incentive if they apply for a mortgage that night for the house. Maybe a free home warranty or reduction in closing costs. 

5.  Don’t be afraid of a little competition.

Are there other houses on the market in your area that are similar?  Partner up with the agents of those listings and hold an open house tour. The more houses, the better. Open the property for several hours in order to allow people time to visit all of them.  Make sure you see the other listings beforehand so you are better informed and able to discuss features that may stand out. There is no need to fear that buyers will choose another home if you work together with other agents, because there isn’t much you can do to influence them. They are going to purchase the one they want, no matter what you say. Instead, focus on doing your best to show your listing and find a way to connect with as many potential buyers as possible. It will still benefit your seller if the other houses on the tour sell because it will decrease supply. That will just help your listing sell even faster.

Consider all agents your teammates, rather than your competition. Co-market with other agents and drive as much traffic to the area as possible. Have a map showing all of the open houses and hand them out at each property. Keep flyers in each house with info on each home on the tour.  You can even add to the fun by handing out cards and giving a prize to the person who gets the card stamped at each house on the tour.

Real estate is a people business, we are in the business of people. Get creative and not only offer them your experience, offer them an experience. Think outside the box.Make your business so much fun that it doesn’t even feel like work.