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Is Your Home Listed to Sell or Listed to Sit?

Industry Observer with Swanepoel T3 Group

After a few days of showing, I think back on what my clients and I saw and how it reflects on the real estate market. Many homes are beautifully presented and competitively priced...these homes make it hard for a buyer to make a decision.

On the other hand, an awful lot of houses are listed but are just sitting. Maybe the seller isn't really aware of how much competition there is, or maybe she is tired, or maybe too beat up by too many negative comments for months. Or at a vacant listing, maybe the agent has turned on lights and swept the front porch so many times that she, too, is tired of making an effort and not getting results.

I understand...even for the nicest homes in the nicest neighborhoods, there just aren't enough active buyers. Nevertheless, if a house is listed for sale, the homeowner and the agent really should make an effort for every single showing.

Here's a few thoughts after seeing some sort-of-sad houses this weekend.

Current Remarks:
Please make sure your MLS remarks are current. "Free Spring Break trip to St. Croix for contract by February 1" is probably not a current incentive.

Real Buyer? I am not entertaining my family and friends by showing houses. I am working and, yes, I believe it's a real buyer. I am NOT sharing client information to get the listing agent to get his seller to clean the place up. You'll just have to trust me...if I'm showing, it's a real buyer.

Schedule Changes: Despite my best efforts, the schedule can change a little as we go through the day. Little kids get car sick, husbands get distracted by their blackberries, teenagers insist on another Diet Coke every hour. If I call in a slight schedule change, either the showing service or the listing agent should be able to reach the seller.

Brochures, feature sheets, something written has to be in the house to highlight the important features of the home. After about the fourth house, the houses start to blur together. And by the way, I think the mini CDs are a waste of money. If someone has to use a computer to see the photos and be reminded of the details, they can just as easily go online.

Community information in the house can be valuable for an out of area buyer. There are hundreds of subdivisions in the western suburbs of Chicago, and I can't possible know every detail of every neighborhood. Community centers, church programs, recycling information, library information: these are all important and and might make a difference in a buyer's decision.

Kids and Dogs: Now that the kids are home for summer, they probably need to be reminded of a few basic rules if someone is there to see the house. Even a 10 year old can clean up his dishes and spritz some Febreze. Teenagers need to get out of bed and let us see the room if it's after, say 11:00 am. And, please, the family dog needs to be taken for a walk when we get there.

I know it's tough market, but if I'm showing your house, I might sell it....help me do the best for all of our clients.


RhondaHeaslip NanaimoRealEstate
RE/MAX of Nanaimo - Nanaimo, BC

All great points for the seller. The house has to be as well presented as possible; as if dressing for a first date.Romance the buyers, don't turn them off.

Jun 21, 2011 12:22 PM
Roberta Kayne
Dublin & Central Ohio Homes - Dublin, OH
CRS, ABR, SFR, RRS, Realtor, Re/Max Affiliates

Great points and good post.  Even when we educate our sellers, they have to hear us and actually do what we say or all the education in the world won't help.  Looks like you struck a chord with many of the AR members!  I know it resonated with me. 

Jun 21, 2011 12:50 PM
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

Great points. In this market it is definitely important to have the best foot forward so that it will get an offer. The initial inspection of the home should also result in an honest assessment of what needs to be done, if they waited until that point to take action.

Jun 21, 2011 03:04 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Gerard: yep, offers are the goal

Roberta: thanks

Rhonda: there's your next post "first date"

Rob: ouch....motor homes don't = curb appeal!

Marion: yuck, I agree

Monique: maybe a seller's code of conduct

Kathy: if it's hot, everyone will see it...so don't wait



Jun 21, 2011 03:16 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Elizabeth: darn it, that's frustrating

Kathy: and again!

Robby: useful feedback doesn't hurt a buyer

Steve: maybe the snow won't last?

Justin: Call me old-fashioned....I still like nice brochures

Dagny: Up from the couch.....now!

Sandy: I love taking sellers into the competion....the good and the bad.

Jun 21, 2011 03:22 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Constantine: thanks

Jon: great point

Nirmala: I like brochures

Thomas: many do a great job...but some sellers maybe are not cooperative

Marge: I also will show an overpriced house if seller looks like they can sell

Marte: I think buyers like to have photos and data to refer to while we're out showing.....



Jun 21, 2011 03:28 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Bryan: my thoughts EXACTLY

Carolyn: mixed feelings for you, I'm sure.

Chris and Patti: how you sell is not how you live!

Lisa: I deduct incentives regardless of their date ;-)

Richard: be gentle....we're fragile.

Bryan: yes....and you don't have snow!

Jun 21, 2011 03:43 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Rob: well, prayer helps....but it can't fix over-priced

Jeanne and Ralph: or a time warp?

Michael: flash cards for sellers on 3 x 5 cards....;-)

Lorraine: and the seller loses out

Juan: common sense. yes.

Gerald: ok, will add rich Texans to marketing plan

Debbe: no kidding

Jun 21, 2011 03:48 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Bill: are we looking at houses or sports scores?

Kimo: it's tricky. If someone says....we can be patient, then what to do?

Don: that's a great way to phrase it

Cindy: we stage every listing, so I agree!

Wende: thank you, that is nice of you. I like writing and real estate.

Gina: yes, the basics.

David: well, it's all about getting your point across....thanks


Jun 21, 2011 03:54 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Great Post.  Selling a home is tough.  It needs to be priced right - not just look right.

Jun 22, 2011 04:33 AM
Ellen Kippel
Weichert Realtors - Suffern, NY
Licensed NY and NJ realtor 914-588-2365

Thanks for your article.  I agree -- there are so many homes on the market, each home has to show well and be priced well, to sell!

Jun 22, 2011 08:21 AM
Ken Anderson
Apex Results Realty Inc., Brokerage - Burlington, ON
Broker in Burlington, Ontario

All so true.  Sometimes, as a listing agent, you can talk until you're blue in the face, but some owners just can't see it.  Even taking them out to view the competition, and how well-presented those homes are doesn't faze them.  Some people just have no sense of style, taste or grace.  But you're preaching to the choir where I'm concerned.  Thanks for the reminder and the humour (that's humor Canadian-style).

Jun 22, 2011 10:08 AM
Stacey Gibson

Excellent points... you only get one chance to make a GREAT first impression.... and if the buyer has considered the home after viewing online...then the seller needs to be serious about showing a ready property!

Jun 22, 2011 12:41 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Stacey: with so many houses listed, each showing is a gift

Ken: The first draft was better, but not suited for a family channel ;-)

Ellen: thank you

Gene: Price is of course the first gate...


Jun 22, 2011 01:47 PM
Linda Gurtel, CRS
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Glastonbury, CT

Homes have to be priced right, staged and the sellers have to be willing to have showing when agents want to show. 

Jun 23, 2011 03:39 AM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

When Ann and I were actually looking for a new house 4 years ago, one promising one kept saying they needed more notice. They said they needed to get the place ready. When we finally did get in, it was a living shambles. Ironic. 

Jun 24, 2011 02:07 PM
Sharon MaHarry
My favorite is the Seller who Acknowledges that prices are way down but insists HIS house is still worth what he paid in 2006 or 2007.
Jun 26, 2011 09:12 AM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Sharon: somehow, we all think this....

Philip: Ironic...a real buyer and the seller misses out.

Linda: I can be flexible, we but still have a schedule!

Jun 26, 2011 11:13 AM
Cindy Snider

I agree with everything in your post.  As much as the realtor's try to speak to the homeowner to do sometimes just simple things, they are too overwhelmed by the whole process of selling their home.  That's why I am an Accredited Staging Professional.  I am part of a realtor's marketing team to help them be more time productive in selling their listings.  Realtors don't have the time they would like to have in order to make sure their sellers are on board with preparing their homes. Let a stager handle that for you.  Be sure to have an A.S.P. stager as part on your marketing plan and save time and money.  A house will fall within a certain price range, but the homeowner can make sure that it lands in the top end by having their home staged professionally.  The agent spends less time working to sell the home and it sells for more money.  It's a win win situation for everyone.  Try an A.S.P. stager in your area and let them help you market your client's home.

Jun 27, 2011 08:38 AM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Cindy: well, yes. Many of my posts refer to the importance of staging. This post was about some of the trip-ups I observed on other agent's listings. A perfectly staged home can still be unsellable if other issues prevail.

Jun 27, 2011 01:14 PM