Post # 7 out of 12 posts for sellers looking at the real estate process from their point of view.
There is an unspoken sub-title to the question above - Should I change my agent?
Answer - There is a popular book titled “When bad things happen to good people”, which tries to teach people how to cope with the curve balls of life. Dr, Phil would just say, “Get real. Deal with it.” In real estate we have lots of articles about “When good houses don’t sell.” The bottom line in real estate is usually always the same – price, price, and price. It used to be location, location, location, but in today’s market we have come to realize that price is just as important that even location in determining how quickly a property will sell.
I suspect that this is not really news to you and that your agent has been gently (maybe too gently) trying to get you to consider a price reduction. My advice is DO IT NOW! Untie your agent’s hands and let them sell this puppy. You’ve had your six months of fun telling all your friends and relatives that you live in a $400,000 house, now let your agent see if he/she can move it for the $350,000 that the market says it is worth. Listen to his advice.
Hopefully some of the people that you turned off with the price when they first came through are still interested and still looking. Your Realtor has probably kept track of the people who’ve come through and could get word back out to them of the price change. If you haven’t let it get completely stale, a price reduction will also have a little kick-start effect on your listing and could generate a spike in showing activity, especially if you drop into a new price tier. Buyers and Realtors tend to search in tiers with break points at the $100,000 levels. Getting your overpriced listing at $325,000 down under $300,000 will do wonders for it (and no, you didn’t just lose $25,000 – your house never had that $25,000 in value and the market told you that already).
If, your Agent feels that the house is priced competitively and you just haven’t been getting much traffic through it or interest in it, sit with your agent and go over with him/her the marketing efforts over the six-month period. See if you feel comfortable that the agent is doing everything within reason to market the house. If the last time that you saw or heard from the agent was six months ago when you signed the Listing Agreement, that is a red flag that you may need to find a new agent.
Don’t try to micro-manage the marketing process, especially in a field that you really don’t know. Not every agent uses the same marketing techniques, so some may not hold open houses or some may not do virtual tours or some may not advertise in the little free Real Estate books or in newspapers. In today’s real estate market many of the traditional old marketing tools just don’t do much anymore. The focus these days is on line and on mobile apps. Ask your Realtor to show you the listing on line and on a mobile app to see what it looks like and if it can be improved. Ask to see the YouTube video or whatever video the agent maybe using. It could well be that your agent is using the most appropriate marketing channels for today’s market and the right people are seeing his/her marketing efforts but just don’t like the house. Your agent should update his/her original pricing CMA and see if they think the house is still appropriately priced. Listen to his advice.
If you have an agent who did nothing but place the house in the Multi-List Service and sit back and wait for it to sell, maybe you do need to look around for a new agent. That happens sometimes, especially with very big, very busy agents. You should certainly expect to be getting regular feedback from your agent about any showings and/or open houses that they hold. After a reasonable period, perhaps after the first 30 - 60 days, your agent should have had enough market feedback to advise you on whether or not the house is priced right and whether there are any other factors that could affecting the marketability of the property. He/she should be talking with you on a regular basis. Listen to his advice.
No one wants to hear “your house is ugly”. That’s like someone saying something like that about your wife or daughter; but maybe it’s true. House styles come and go and there are many styles that were once all the rage that fewer people want these days. That could be the main issue. Some of the split level styles – bi-levels and tri & quad-level houses have fallen out of favor and will naturally attract less showing traffic. It's not that they're ugly; they just don't appeal to modern buyers as much as other styles. Ranches and colonials are fairly timeless and still; have appeal; but the big thing these days is the Cape Cod style with a story and a half (at least in my market).
Some people have made things worse by adding on a room that doesn’t fit or maybe doing a partial new floor above the old top floor. Additions like that may have made sense to the owner at the time that they were built, but they can make the place very hard to sell. You Realtor should have factored that into his/her price recommendation, but maybe you didn’t listen to that at the time. Listen to his advice.
Finally, don’t be a bully or a butthead. Some sellers seem to take great delight in trying to bully their agent into accepting a listing price that the agent knows is too high. If they succeed in that they sometimes continue to play the role of the bully in other aspects of the relationship with the Realtor. Ranting and raving and threatening over every suggested price reduction or other marketing suggestion is counter-productive and a good agent will not put up with that. They will fire you well before you can fire them. Setting your jaw and refusing to budge on price after repeated feedback that your price is too high is just being a butthead. You really don’t want to sell. In either case, you don't need a new Realtor; you need a new attitude. Listen to his advice. Did I mention that before?