marketing strategy

What to do if your home is taking a long time to sell…

In this article, you will find straight-forward tips and advice on what to do if you have a home that is taking a long time to sell.

If a house stays on the market a long time, does that mean there is something wrong with it?

Not always.

It is true that some properties are harder to sell. If there is unconsented building work that can certainly pour some rain on your selling parade. More often than not though, if a home hasn’t sold after 6 months, then it is down to one of the four ‘P’s’: Price, Presentation, Promotion and PERSON (eg. the agent you hire.)

If your presentation is bad…

Fix it as best you can. Do you need a serious de-cluttering session? Do you need to invest in the services of staging company? Could a late night trip to k-mart for some DIY staging make all the difference? Are their problems you need to get sorted to present the property at it’s best? Sometimes all it takes is hiring a handyman for half a day to do some touch-up paint work and small fix-it jobs.

If you have a consenting issue…

Don’t stick your head in the sand. Be up front and disclose it to buyers early in the process. Don’t let them find out after they have made an offer. Better still, work with your local Council to get the problem sorted. Solving consent issues can add a lot of value and help open your property up to a larger group of buyers.

If your promotion is lacking…

Upgrade it, make sure you are a featured listing on trademe &, try a boosted post on facebook. While you are at it, change your photos around, change your advert text. A good agent should look to do this every 2-3 weeks.

All that is fine. What else can I do?

If your presentation is tip-top, you have every consent you need, you have promoted the heck out of your property and you still aren’t selling around the median time in your area, then you need to look at your price expectation. Or you need to look at the person you have employed.

If a home hasn’t sold after 3 months / 6 months / 9 months, isn’t the agent to blame?

Your agent should have been reviewing the situation regularly, every 2-3 weeks. They should be changing photos, changing the advert text and trying different marketing strategies, eg. Auction, Tender, Asking price.

If none of these work, then it is a salesperson’s job to suggest a break from active marketing, eg. take your property off the market and re-list later. Or suggest a re-positioning regarding price.

Above all, they should be keeping in contact with you. Meeting in person if possible, every 2-3 weeks as a minimum

Sadly, many agents lose interest after a home has been on the market for 2-3 months or more. They hang on to the listing, waiting for a buyer to miraculously appear but they stop taking pro-active steps to attract new interest.

Note: Exceptions apply here for rural or commercial properties which can have extremely long listing times. 

Here’s the catch though…

Don’t blame the agent just to avoid dropping your price. Many owners fall into this trap. If your agent has followed the process above and you haven’t secured the offers you want, then you need to take a long hard look at your expectations.

Every single house on the market would sell tomorrow if price didn’t matter. What you need to do is find the sweet spot where you walk away feeling like you got the most you could, without having to stay on the market forever to get it.

“I don’t have to sell. I’ll just wait for a buyer to pay what I want.”

A common position embraced by owners. One slight issue here is – you can only accept or reject the offers that your chosen salesperson is good enough to bring you.

Here is another way of looking at it. After analysing 5 years of sale data in Wellington (back to March 2013), we charted your probability of selling in the next 30 days, depending on how long you have been on the market.

As you can see, in the first 30 days, hope springs eternal. You have a 50% chance (give or take) of being one of the lucky ones! After that, it’s all downhill though. If your home doesn’t sell in the first 70 days, there is only a 35% chance you will sell in the next 30 days.

Worse still – these stats only include the homes that actually end up selling, not the ones where the owners give up and take their home off the market. So the real probability figures are likely much, much worse.

Key takeaway…

Make sure you have the ability to walk away after a reasonable period of time if your chosen salesperson isn’t performing. In this blogger’s opinion, you should never sign a sole or exclusive agency for more than 60 days.

That’s why, at our independent Wellington real estate agency relatable, our listing agreements are 60 days or less. Meanwhile, traditional companies try to sign you up for 90 days, trapping you in a contract you can’t get out of for 3 whole months.

If you choose to limit the agency agreement to 60 days at the most, you can always sign an extension at the end of the period and keep that agent on if they are doing a good job. But at least this way the power is in your hands.

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