How to Get your Home Sold When It Didn’t Sell!
Having your home expire may leave your feeling frustrated, rejected and maybe a little angry. Angry that promises made were not kept, frustrated that buyers didn’t see the value, and upset that your plans had to change. I can help. My Expired Report will help explain why your home was rejected by the market place, and what steps we can take to put your home in a position to sell immediately!
As an agent with over 20 years experience in both Arizona and Colorado, I specialize in getting homes sold that didn’t sell the first time.
If you have questions about this report, or of its contents please give me a call at your convenience. You may reach me at 720-277-9001.
Introduction / Background
I’m a real estate professional who loves working in the South Metro Area of Denver I care about my clients and helping them with their real estate challenges! You see I have had many clients, just like you, who have been upset and extremely disappointed that their home did not sell the first time it was listed.
But you may be surprised to learn that as a national statistic this happens to almost half of all the sellers that list their homes for sale with a real estate agent. Yes, you read it right, historically almost half the time agents simply fail to get their listings sold! Here in Denver it’s been almost 35% for the last 12 months.
That’s why my clients are so relieved and excited when I show them exactly the reasons why their home may not have sold the first time and more importantly how they could can be sure to sell the next time. I can’t tell you how many sellers have thanked me when they learned the truth behind selling their home.
Be aware that some agents may aggressively market their services to you with various pitches and some downright borderline tactics. You may hear things like “I have a client” or “I specialize in your neighborhood” or “I can sell your home for more than any other agent.” If they have a client where is their offer? If they specialize in your neighborhood (and it’s very hard to specialize in Denver with all the small neighborhoods) where were they when you had it listed previously and “If they try to inflate your price in order to get you to sign the listing agreement “ what will they say when it doesn’t sell. Your home needs a fresh, honest approach to help it sell. That’s what I offer.
After successfully closing many transactions with previously expired listings, listings that had been rejected by the entire market, a few of my clients asked to me write my thoughts down in a report. The report you are about to read is the culmination of my experience in working to successfully position, market, and sell listings that failed to sell the first time.
The Three P’s of Selling a Home!
There’s an old joke in real estate about the “average” agent and the three P’s of marketing: put an ad in the paper, put a sign in the yard and pray it will sell.
The three P’s of selling anything are product, promotion and price.
If your home didn’t sell it could have been overpriced. Unfortunately overzealous agents or sellers sometimes overprice listings. Many top agents consider the majority of the marketing to be done with setting the price correctly.
Your might also have picked a poor agent. They may be nice people but have been a part-time or inexperienced agent. They may have told you what you wanted to hear or may not have known how to tell you the truth.
The last reason may have been poor marketing. Poor pictures, a poor description, no sign, no personal contact with the neighbors, no video, no Facebook or craigslist postings, etc.
Selling a home is part formula and part art form. For most homeowners it is the largest single asset that they own. So selling or buying a home can be an emotional experience, even a roller coaster ride with highs and lows, lots of excitement initially, and big dips of disappointment as your home sits on the market. In fact many psychologists rank buying or selling a home just below death, divorce and speaking in public on the list of stressful instances in ones life.
The first task in unraveling the secret to selling is understanding that selling is really fairly simple – this doesn’t mean easy but it’s a simple concept. Contracts can be complex and we highly recommend you seek professional help from your team consisting of a professional agent, your tax adviser, and a possibly a lawyer. However selling a home is the art form of having your product (your home), the promotion (the marketing), and the price be in alignment with what a buyer is looking for.
Can you guess which of the Three P’s is the most important aspect of selling any home? If you guessed the price you are correct.
Many desperate real estate agents eager to take a listing will price it too high in the hopes that they can get you to lower the price by telling you that you need to lower the price week after week after week. . Often this is done to impress the seller or to “outbid” a competing real estate agent but in the end all the parties suffer from the agent’s weakness to correctly counsel his own client regarding price. I call this strategy real estate malpractice. When we meet I’ll be 100% honest about pricing and show you why I am confident I can show the buyers, the buyers agent, and the appraiser the value in the price we select.
How can you choose the right price and still make sure you receive a fair price? First understand that all prices are market driven – not seller driven, agent driven, or even buyer driven. This means that competition and the free market system will ultimately decide what your home is worth or not worth.
To correctly price your property you must be 100% honest about
- What have homes similar to your home recently sold for?
- What are homes similar to your home currently listed for?
- What is the average market time of both groups?
All real estate is local so don’t believe everything you read in the papers or internet. Here in Denver the average price is up about 8% from last year, but the range varies with different prices ranges and some areas losing money and others gaining 25%. Don’t listen to hyped up agents selling pie in the sky promises on TV and Radio. Ask me what your home is worth and I’ll show you how and why I arrive at a value and more importantly show you how I’ll get the buyer, the buyers agent and their appraiser to agree.
Listing time on the market will give you an indication if prices are moving up, staying constant, or heading downward. If prices are trending upward you may be able to price your home slightly more aggressively than if the market is trending down, or sideways.
Another statistic you should be concerned with is how long it takes to sell a home. This statistic will tell you how long the average seller had to wait before selling. If you wish to sell faster than the average days on market there is only one sure way to accomplish this goal and that is to adjust the price. By adjusting the price you will encourage buyers to purchase your home over other comparable listings.
So where do you get this information? A good real estate agent should be willing to provide you with a detailed report called a Comparative Market Analysis. This report is generally free but be careful. Many agents have the ability to create a suggested price page on these reports. These suggested price pages can often lead to disaster? How? Some agents will manipulate the report to create an inflated recommend price just to take your listing. A professional real estate agent will provide you with this information and guide you through the pricing process.
To review a free updated CMA please give me a call at 720-277-9001.
A last note on pricing: If your home fails to receive very many showings in the first 10 to 14 days this is a clear indication that the home is overpriced and should be immediately reduced. On the flip side if you have many showings but still no offers this is a clear indication that there is something wrong with the next P – Product!
Your home is the product for sale! Although it may be difficult to view your home as just a product, have no doubt that the buyers viewing your home will do just that! They have options, and the money. Consider yourself when you visit a grocery store, you are faced with numerous choices with just about every product you wish to purchase.
How does someone decide upon a product when you have choices.? First and foremost most consumers will shop by price, second to that they will begin to look at the packaging or the product itself. If the package or product is appealing, the buyer has a much greater chance of completing the purchase.
So how can you make your home more appealing? There are really two main areas to be concerned with – first your home’s curb appeal, and second your homes interior.
Most buyers will make a decision within 30 to 45 seconds of pulling up to a home as to whether or not they like the home.. If your home doesn’t make a good first impression you will have a huge obstacle to overcome when the buyer does come inside the home, if they come inside at all.
So how can you evaluate your homes curb appeal? The best way is to put yourself in the mindset of the buyer – Walk out to your curb and look back at your home. Often we begin to visually gloss over glaring problems because we are used to them but take a really close look. Pick apart your home and instantly compare it to the other homes you are competing against and be sure to include new construction.
The interior of your home is also very important as buyers must be able to see themselves as living here. What greets a buyer as they walk through a home is critical to the buyer’s ability to emotionally bond with the home. This visualization tendency is something that all buyers find themselves doing when they like a home. Buyers may begin mentally placing furniture, hanging photos, and day-dreaming about future projects – all of these are clear buying signs. What can prevent this much-needed process? Three of the top condition problems are:
Floor Coverings – If the home is covered in dated flooring or worn out carpeting the buyer’s ability to visualize may be critically impaired. Many buyers will not be able to see past the problem and those buyers that are able to do so will want an immediate price adjustment.
Clutter – The way you sell a home and the way you live in a home are two very different things. If a home is covered with clutter it is difficult for the buyer to envision the home as theirs with their stuff in it. Pack up lots of books and toys, box away kitchen appliances, clean out your closets, get rid of extra furniture, and remove excessive photos from the walls. . Rent a storage facility and put all your stuff there (or fill half your garage).
Dirt and neglect– As busy people, many sellers may have let the small things slip by but again, a buyer will not overlook these seemingly small details. Clean and pressure wash, freshen the home with new linens and area rugs. Before marketing a home it is always wise to thoroughly clean the property from top to bottom.
Now when your price is set and your product is show ready the next step is to put into play the last P – Promotion
Promotion is the marketing of the property. This is where a great real estate professional should expose your home to the maximum number of potential buyers in the market place.
Every real estate professional should have a marketing plan specific to your home. This will ensure that your home is hitting just the right type of prospective buyers. Below is a list of questions you may ask yourself about your last real estate experience:
- Was a sign used to advertise the fact that your property was on the market?
- What type of sign was used, arm post or conventional lawn type?
- What were the colors of the sign?
- Was the sign visible from a distance?
- Was the property listed in a multiple listing service?
- Did the listing office have a website?
- What National or International Websites was it featured on?
- How many showings came from these sources?
- Was the property professionally photographed?
- Was a flyer made and distributed?
- Was a description added?
- Were you happy with the flyer?
- Was a home warranty plan offered to the buyer for one or two years from closing?
- Did the listing agent promote the property to the immediate neighborhood?
- How many times was the property shown?
- How many offers were presented to you?
- Was a commitment given in writing on the service planned by the agent?
If you would like to explore my exclusive marketing plan designed to reach every buyer in the entire market give me a call today. The first step in putting together your customized marketing plan is my full review of your property. I specialize in marketing properties using the Internet, craigslist, email, direct target marketing, and effectively using the MLS system.
Now let’s move on to another vital aspect of selling your home, dispelling some common real estate myths.
When we are disappointed it is often easy to fall prey to unrealistic expectations or worse – real estate myths. These false expectations can influence the way you or your agent market your home and in the end can cause a property to fail to sell.
Unfortunately there are many myths surrounding the best way to market real estate. These myths are prevalent in almost any real estate market and are fueled by agents wishing to take a listing at all costs, including telling sellers what they want to hear instead of the truth. Let’s look at my top five real estate myths:
1) I want to leave room for negotiations.
Over pricing my home can’t hurt – I can always come down later, right – Wrong, the most activity on any new listing happens in the first four weeks. This is when all buyers in the market place are first exposed to your home as well as all the local real estate agents. If the home is overpriced it can become stigmatized as overpriced, and may end up forcing a seller to discount the price more steeply later to counter this label.
2) All it takes is an ad on the Internet
– Wrong, even though most recent studies reveal that the 90+% of buyers now use the Internet as their first source for real estate information and that more of those buyers (those who look on the Internet) hire an agent to help them find the home than buyers who don’t use the Internet to search. – so the Internet is important but we must sell the home to the agent and the buyer. This requires experience and know-how.
3) Open Houses are a good way to market my home
– Wrong, open houses are a good way for real estate agents to find new buyers and sellers. Only about 2-3% of the time will a buyer walk into the open house and buy that house.
4) People will want to pick their own (carpet, paint, curtains, appliances, etc.)
If they can’t see it, most buyers want a ready to move into home. Most buyers aren’t looking to buy their next big project. Unless you’re wiling to discount your price your home should be in show – ready condition.
5) The best time to sell is spring or summer or fall or winter
– Houses sell every day of the year, so the best time to sell is when you are ready to sell. Although it is true that there are more buyers looking during certain times of year it is also true that there are also many more listings competing for those buyers.
6) I’ll wait a while (until Fall, Spring, Summer) to re-market my home.
While the frustration may make you feel that taking a break is a good idea, I find that many sellers who wait regret the fact because of factors outside of their control. Interest rates, supply, demand, and rules and regulations are constantly changing. So taking action now assures yourself of knowing at least some of these variables. Ask me for market predictions to determine whether taking a break is a good idea for you!
Now that we have busted a few misconceptions it’s time to unveil some super secret insider “tricks” to selling your home quickly for top dollar!
So what are some of the tricks of the real estate trade? How can you position your home to sell for top dollar and quickly? These are some of the questions that I hear most often from my clients and believe it or not there are some insider tips that can help almost any seller get more money for their home, and more importantly help find that “right” buyer.
Tip # 1 – Use Price Points to get more showings
When a buyer walks into our office they generally don’t say I’m looking for a home under $342,700. Instead they will be almost always looking in round numbers or at the most ten thousand dollar increments. This is important because of the way real estate agents search for homes in the MLS system. Almost invariably they will search by ten thousand dollar increments. We call these price points. For instance here are a few search patterns:
- 225,000-250,000 (Makes sense doesn’t it?)
So pricing your home at $342,700 makes no sense because it does not help you to break in to the next price point. You may as well list the home for $344,900. But a better suggestion may be to list the home for $340,000. This will result in your showing up in far more search results.
This same applies to price reductions. When adjusting your price it makes no sense to even make a reduction unless you’re willing to adjust the price to the next price point. Our MLS keeps a listing on the HOT Sheet (something that most agents who have buyers look at daily) for a week after a price change so it makes sense to time lowering the price to keep it on the HOT Sheet.
Tip # 2 Less Can be More
Have you ever looked at a piece of advertising and thought to yourself, wow “that’s confusing?” This is exactly what happens to many buyers trying to decipher real estate advertising stuffed with too many words. acronyms and “realtor speak.” Remember this sentence: “A confused mind naturally says no!”
If we cram our ads with too much information or with confusing language the buyer may just reject the advertising out of hand! Remember the goal of advertising is to make the phone ring. If we give away all the information about a property within the advertising what reason will the potential customer have to call a real estate office?
Almost as an important as what you do advertise, is what you don’t! What you leave out of the ad may, in fact, be the primary motivator for a potential customer to call your real estate agent! Lots of pictures help too!
Tip # 3 – If it’s broken – fix it!
If you have not received an offer or at the very least, a significant amount of showings and activity on your home in the first few weeks of listing you must immediately make changes to one of two areas, the price or the product.
How do you know which area to improve? If you have had no showings on the house the market is rejecting your price – immediately lower the price to, at a minimum, the next price point. If you have had many showings but no offers, something is wrong with the condition. In other words buyers are walking into your home and saying NO to something. Ask your agent to find out the buyers objections. If you hear consistently it’s the carpeting or the paint you need to immediately fix these problems.
The average buyer will not just look at your home they will look at between 7 to 15 homes before making a buying decision. To sell your home you have to ask yourself this hard question: If I were the buyer, would I buy my own home, at this price, and in this condition?
Tip # 4 Agents are Motivated by Money
If you want your home to really stand out from the competition you want to offer the selling agent (not the listing agent) a bonus of some kind. A bonus motivates an agent to show your home more often, and keep your home “top of mind” when they are talking with buyers.
Your goal should be to become the first home shown by agents when a customer or client is looking in your price category. Think of this as being like rankings on an Internet search engine; the higher you rank the more likely someone is to purchase your home. Do people pay to be ranked higher? Every day of the week!
A bonus of an extra 1% or 2% will generate a lot of showings. One word of caution – regardless of how much money you throw at a selling agent it will never make up for an overpriced property or a home in poor condition.
A buyer has to be a natural rejection machine. Buyers have an intuitive knowledge that there are hundreds or at least dozens of homes available for sale in their market. This knowledge often causes them to quickly sift through properties and discard as many as possible so that they can find 4 to 8 to actually investigate further.
This sifting process is done at every level of the buyers search. Think of the last time you shopped for a home. Did you find yourself eliminating homes based on the size, bedrooms, baths, neighborhoods, school districts or price? Of course you did! By the way this is one area an agent really earns that commission – they are able to tell the buyer “ I know the next home doesn’t fit your initial criteria but I know you’ll find it worth your time to look.” Buyers don’t really know what they want until they see the home. It’s a axiom in real estate that buyers often say they can only afford $350,000 but when they fall in love with a home at $375,000 or so they “make it work.”
When buyers begin to actually view homes they often use the same technique – in other words buyers are often looking for reasons to reject your home before they ever come inside. Again an agent can help by saying, “wait until you see the inside” or :”this home is a great buy because of X and Y” as they walk up to a home with less than ideal curb appeal.
Another way to counter the natural tendency to exclude a home quickly is to take a few simple steps. One of the first steps is to remove objections; one example of removing objections is to order pre-inspections of your home if your appliances or roof or fixtures are 5 years old or older. A pre-inspection and a corresponding correction of issues can be extremely helpful in removing buyer doubts about your homes structure, or economic lifespan.
Examples of pre-inspections you may want to consider:
- Pest and Dry Rot Inspection
- Whole House Inspection
- Roof Inspections
- Radon Inspection
- Sewer Scope
Now you may be asking yourself – What if the inspection uncovers something negative about my home? Better to know now than find out later when time is critical. By law you must disclose any known defects to the buyer, but remember in all likelihood these facts would have been discovered later by a buyer during their inspection period. By discovering and correcting these defects now you have the opportunity to have them fixed by the repairman you choose, and provide a potential buyer and their agents with a home that has a clean bill of health. This will help to eliminate surprises during escrow, give the buyer more confidence when viewing your home, and remove any leverage the buyer may have had when negotiating the sale.
Proving Your Price
One of the questions I hear most often asked by buyers and selling agents is this: How did you come up with the price? Now for most real estate agents this is a tough question because in many cases the price was arrived at using the PFA method – Pulled from Air!
When listing agents stumble and ramble after being asked this question, it’s a clear signal to buyers’ agents that the price may not be justifiable. In many cases this can result in lower offers, and longer negotiations.
The good news is, I have a better way! Strong listing agents provide buyers’ agents with proof of price. How? With information! The most powerful piece of information that a seller can provide to a buyer is a logical pricing strategy.
What if, when that buyers’ agent asked: How did you come up with the price? Your agent should reply in this way:
I did a thorough market analysis using sold properties and assessed values as the primary basis for arriving at the price. In fact the seller has authorized me to provide you with a copy of my analysis. Would you like me to email it to you?
Can you see the difference? We are now able to provide a powerful, compelling reason for our pricing strategy that is based on an objective reasonable standard.
I use a comprehensive market analysis system that shows the agents, the buyers, and the appraisers the value your home has.
Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
Hiring the right real estate agent is a vitally important task! But the way most sellers choose their real estate agent is usually through a series of acquaintances, introductions, or in some cases just blind random luck!
Should you entrust your most valuable asset to someone who you haven’t thoroughly screened? The answer is absolutely not! Instead you should thoroughly investigate your potential agent by asking a series of probing and in-depth questions.
Questions You May Want to Ask Your Next Agent:
- How long have you been in the Real Estate Business?
- Are you Full-Time or Part-Time?
- How many homes have you sold in the last year?
- How many listings do you have in your personal inventory?
- What was your background before you entered the real estate field?
- What kind of designations or education have you earned?
- What is your most effective way to find buyers in this market?
- What do you offer that other agents don’t?
- What will you do if my home hasn’t sold in the first 30 days?
- Do you put your services in writing?
After asking these questions you may want to invite the agent to share with you their custom marketing plan for your home.
Last is a discussion about what would happen should you become dissatisfied in some way with the agents performance. Are you trapped in an agreement with someone for the duration of the listing even if you are unhappy? Do they offer a performance guarantee, or an easy exit listing?
Statistically the most likely way a buyer will be found for your home will be through an agent who utilizes the multiple listing system (MLS) or a buyer who finds the home on the Internet (via the MLS) and asks their agent to show the home to them. The multiple listing system (MLS) is a collection of real estate brokers who share information on their listings using a common database. In fact in most markets over 90% of all properties are found through the use of the local MLS system.
So with that knowledge, do most agents spend time making sure that their listing data is accurate, that the pictures are up to date, and that the description of the property is captivating? Surprisingly you still see listings with no pictures, blurry pictures, no descriptions and inaccurate information!
Many agents carelessly ignore the importance of a strong MLS marketing plan. So how can a good agent avoid that trap and use the MLS as a strong piece of their marketing plan. They can look at four key areas:
1) Professional Photos –MLS systems allow for multiple photographs of the property, as well as Virtual Tours. This means that a buyers’ agent or a buyer can view your home on-line. A good agent will have high quality professional photos taken and arrange them in order of importance within the system. Get on realtor.com and look at the difference good photos make.
2) Accurate Data – To ensure that selling agents are armed with the best data, good listing agents should carefully check all of their listings for accuracy and ask you, the seller, to confirm those details. In many cases MLS data can be inaccurate because of either human error, or corrupted files. This can lead to frustrated selling agents, and in addition legal liability issues.
3) Accurate Status – A listings status can indicate whether the property is available for sale, under contract, or sold. In many cases a listings status can influence greatly how many showings a property may receive. If the status is inaccurate your home may not be shown and you could miss out on a high quality buyer.
4) Remarks – This may be the most crucial part of the MLS listing data. This is an open area where the listing agent can sell your home to the other members of the MLS community and buyers over the Internet. This is in effect an advertisement of your property to every agent in the real estate market and to every potential buyer worldwide. A poorly written description can cost you showings and a sale. Double check your listing description.
Statistically the biggest complaints about real estate agents is not that they didn’t get the home sold, but rather that they fail to follow-through with good communication after they have taken a listing. Communication is vital to getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar. If you don’t know what’s going on with your home it’s easy to become frustrated with your agent.
To avoid this common pitfall it is wise to establish a communication plan with your agent at the outset of your relationship. This ongoing constant communication will enable you to be fully informed and aware of what is going right and what is going wrong. But beware you may not like what you hear because even a great real estate agent can’t wave their magic wand and make everything ok. Although I try!
So how should you be kept aware of your listing activity? I have listed five quick ways:
1) Weekly Phone Call / Email – A good real estate agent should want to talk to about your listing on a regular basis. Although they may have nothing to report in some cases, this should be a signal that it is time to adjust the price, the product, or the promotion.
2) Bi-weekly Visit in your Home — It’s important that your Realtor regularly sees the product, not only to see that it is still in the same condition as when it was listed, but also to make note of any possible subtle changes that may be “turning off” any buyers.
3) Once a Month Office Visit – You may opt instead to visit with the agent in person at their office. This is a great time to review the marketing, and review any new comparable sales. Remember the market is dynamic. It can and does change.
4) After Showing Follow-Through – When the property has been shown, you should let your listing agent know about the showing. Your agent can then follow up and attempt to discover the buyer’s comments. If you consistently hear the same issues from multiple buyers it may be a signal to make a change in some aspect of the product!
5) Marketing Updates – You and the agent are a team working together to sell your home. Part of your job is to review the ongoing marketing and notify your listing agent if you see any obvious errors in the description of your home. To help you with this a great agent should send you regular copies of all the advertising.
Selling your home doesn’t need to be a frustrating experience. In fact with just a few simple adjustments almost any home can sell quickly and for top dollar. For my friends and clients who have entrusted me with the marketing of their homes it has been exciting to watch how these simple ideas provided powerful results.
Can I share with you my personal marketing plan? There is no obligation, no high pressure sales tactics, just simple answers to all of your questions. Give me a call at 720-277-9001 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Seller Pledge
My goal is to get your home sold to the right buyer at the right time with the least stress and for the most money possible.
My Service Commitment:
- To provide you with a comprehensive listing presentation.
- To provide you with a competitive market analysis.
- To provide you with a customized marketing plan for your home.
- To provide you with access to a home warranty program.
- To provide you with Internet powered marketing.
- To list and show your property favorably in the local Multiple Listing Service.
- To regular communicate with the you regarding all aspects of the listing.
- To follow up with any potential buyer on showings, or comments about the home.
- To promptly present all offers, and provide negotiation services.
- To answer or find answers to any questions that the seller may have.
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