Let that listing Expire, Be Confident

Real Estate Agent with Asset Realty Group

When you have done everything right and your seller knows it, try letting the listing expire.  We had seen four offers, and been under contract one time.  After it bounced out of contract, we reduced the price and were now the lowest priced home in West Bellevue.  The home was remodeled nicely, there were two bedrooms and one bath--these limitations provided just enough hesitation that most buyers couldn't bring themselves to write a good offer.  The kitchen and bath were nicely upgraded, the hardwood floors were refinished beautifully.  There was a detached one car garage, a nice fenced in back and front yard.  The home was 10 blocks to downtown Bellevue, and on the busline.  It was a perfect condominium alternative. Inventory was tight, yet the offers weren't refective of this.  Enatai Rambler

So, with only 9 days left on the listing period, and with the price having been dropped $20,000 to $399,000 we got in two low ball offers.  They were below the seller's threshold of acceptance and even lower than the land value, not to mention the value of the home itself.  So, I prepared my seller to let it expire with the committment to relist it in a week or two.  I told her I wanted to see what came in after it expired.  I was planning the Take Away and we hoped it would work.

When something has been on market for months at higher prices, it begins to be tainted with market time. Yet, the truth remained, it was a good solid home, and the right buyer hadn't come forward as yet.  Within two days of it being out of the market, we started getting calls about when it would be relisted. 

The agents said their buyer had been watching the listing, and now that it was gone, they wanted to know if they could see it.  I left a contractors lock box on the home, having removed my sign and the MLS keybox.  I gave the combination to the agent, he showed the home to his buyer.  And, he got back to me that she was going to make an offer. 

Three other agents also started wanting access to home, but by this time we had an accepted offer.  Then one of the first agents who ever showed the property told me his client was now beating themselves up by not having purchased the home for their kids.  What changed?  The psychology of the home's status changed, it was no longer available and people couldn't low ball it, it was gone!  When somebody can't have it, the thing becomes more desireable. 

The moral of the story is this.  Sometimes we need to give a listing a breather, let it go out of the market.  Take some time to re-assess, evaluate the profile of the buyer, and examine what has been done.  We knew we had done everything right, but the pyschology needed adjusting.  We did that and we got a firm sale, closing in three weeks!  My seller and I worked well together, this was our second deal in two years.  The relationship was right, we persisted together and gained the sale we were looking for.

Comments (46)

Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Interesting post today, thanks for sharing your thoughts/ story.

Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

May 31, 2011 03:09 AM
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

Congratulations on the outcome, Richard. It sounds like this strategy will work in more than one circumstance!

May 31, 2011 04:53 AM
Roger Roberge
RR and Company Realty, LLC / www.rrandcompany.com - Wilbraham, MA
MA/CT Broker, e-Pro

I like risky propositions that have happy endings.  Kudos to you on your bravado.

May 31, 2011 05:18 AM
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Richard, this strategy just helped me on a property that we felt needed a breather by going off the market.  It isn't playing games but it is the reverse of a price reduction by taking candy away from a child.  They want it but didn't realize it until it was gone. 

There are agents in Chicagoi who do this repeatedly and I call it the "crying wolf" syndrome.  They believe by doing this repeatedly that it will draw attention.  When in total actuallity most start guessing how long the listing will be off before it comes back on at the same price and then truly expires two years down the road.

May 31, 2011 05:19 AM
Sarah, John Rummage
Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 - Nashville, TN
Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area!

Good strategy! It is a pleasure, isn't it, to work with a client who gets it and knows that sometimes a little psychology is needed as well as staging and pricing.

Glad it worked!


May 31, 2011 05:42 AM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


The relationship was right, we persisted together and gained the sale we were looking for.  Relationships are everything in business.  Great post!

Mike in Tucson

May 31, 2011 05:46 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Hadn't really considered this. I may have to give it a try.

May 31, 2011 05:57 AM
Juan Bassett
Long & Foster - Germantown, MD

Excellent story! I think the most important thing was the communication between you and the seller. Your strategy was perfect! Confidence is high.

May 31, 2011 07:01 AM
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

This sounds like a plan that can actually work. I definitely have to try it out on one of my listings.

May 31, 2011 07:03 AM
MaryJane Sheppard
The Van Dyk Group - Real Estate - Long Beach Island, NJ

Great post, Richard and definitely worth a try!  Thanks!

May 31, 2011 07:46 AM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


I would want an exclusive (pocket listing) during this down period.  Otherwise, there really is no reason the seller MUST pay a commission to a listing agent during this period - not listed.

May 31, 2011 07:46 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Richard,  Interesting post and comment thread.  Most sellers would be shaking in their boots ove this strategy.  Well done !

May 31, 2011 07:49 AM
Adam Mallory
eBroker Real Estate 619-566-ADAM - San Diego, CA
Broker, ABR, e-Pro

Excellent post!  What you call "a little breather" my Broker calls "letting it mellow".

May 31, 2011 08:38 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Congratulations on getting a buyer that wanted what they thought they could not have!  This is a great strategy as long as the seller is loyal to you.

May 31, 2011 09:29 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Every real estate market is different. But our prices are so much lower. I find don't stop the marketing but adjust the price, change up the images, copy and video but don't stop or let the property expire.

May 31, 2011 09:38 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Rich, takes a combination of trust and guts to pull this off. Great job thinking a little out of the box.

May 31, 2011 09:56 AM
Richard Willard
Asset Realty Group - Bellevue, WA
Richard Delane Willard

Escrow just called with recording numbers, the transaction has closed, a happy ending.  Thanks for all the great comments, hopefully we can all get a boost emotionally when things go our way.  Sometimes there is a tendency to take it personally for what is a larger problem in our market.  Don't let your self esteem suffer when things get tough, that is when we must be strong and innovative, take bold steps.  Fortunately, I had a seller who was in lock step with me, and the trust relationship was intact.  This couldn't have worked without the good will of my seller going out of listing contract.  Once it sold firm, we relisted it as a pending sale for the benefit of providing the accuarate comparable sold property information, and to prevent future calls from agents working the expired listings. 

May 31, 2011 10:23 AM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Yes. "Take it away."

We've done similar things, although I have the client sign an agreement prior to just allowing it to expire. The psychology of people wanting what they an't have is powerful, especially with the huge number of lurkers out there who watch homes online. 

Jun 01, 2011 12:22 AM
Richard Willard
Asset Realty Group - Bellevue, WA
Richard Delane Willard

J. Philip, your point is well taken, best practice for sure.  She had given me a verbal assurance and was willing to relist, so when we got the sale inspection waived, we did relist it as a pending sale.  I heard from others in this situation where going from for sale to for lease also worked.  Thanks for your comments, all of you.  It's fun to get this kind of response. 

Jun 02, 2011 09:32 AM
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Hi Richard: I am a tad skeptical about the honesty of the seller. Money is a powerful motivating factor... I was going into contract as a buyer's agent on a home and had negotiated long and hard.... and the wife decided not to sign... The listing expired... (divorce) and we all stayed in touch.. it is now 6 months later.. and I can see myself getting nicely cut out of the sale transaction..... enough time had lapsed that I was just a memory even though the seller had said he would honor my commission (months ago). I guess  I helped pay their legal bills and out of pocket expenses... so I would be careful to strategize your way BUT glad it worked for you! Best, G

Jun 03, 2011 01:33 AM