5 Ways to Market a Stale Listing

Real Estate Technology

Trulia Pro Blog StaffA stale listing? In this market? We know—in hot markets, inventory is still low, buyers are jumping and many listings are still getting multiple offers. But all of this can make it even more frustrating for agents if you have a listing that isn’t pulling in strong offers or is stalling on a sale. Of course, all agents have had the seller who makes some missteps or novice mistakes that can make even a great home a tough sell. And, if we’re all being honest, sometimes even agents share some of the blame for not taking simple measures to improve a home’s exposure and appeal.

Relax. Not all is lost, and in this market, a few quick fresh fixes may be all your listing needs to get your sellers some great offers and a closed deal.

1. Boost Your Online Presence

how agents can boost their online presenceThe first step to selling a home is attracting interested buyers, and that requires getting as much online exposure as possible. More than 90 percent of all buyers are starting their home search online, so you need to get on their radar from the beginning by updating listings and open house times weekly on popular real estate search sites like Trulia, Craigslist, and more. Remember, prospective buyers are also searching Trulia.com and using their mobile apps with filters for listings with open houses happening this weekend and filters for listings with price reductions.

2. Update Your Photos

Considering that potential buyers probably Instagrammed their dinners last night, saying that photos are important is an understatement. If the listing was photographed in the winter and spring is now in full bloom, take a new batch. If that’s not possible, switch up the order so that they seem new to buyers.

Also, get creative: Instead of leading with an exterior shot of the house like everyone else, draw in buyers with an intriguing feature of the home, like a huge and newly-renovated master bathroom or an incredible outdoor space to appeal to their dreams of a summer spent lounging poolside.

The 5 best real estate listing photos

3. Write Attention-Getting Marketing Copy

Once you draw in buyers with fresh, captivating photos, it’s time to win them over with words. Wake up buyers whose eyes are glazing over from bland descriptions and pique their interest with peppy headlines and descriptions. Make your listing stand out with detailed descriptions, and don’t forget to highlight the home’s noteworthy features. Also, make sure you update the listing frequently to freshen up copy and get more attention.

4. Let Buyers In

Garnering attention from buyers through online marketing is only half the battle. Now that they’re interested, you have to actually let them come in and see the house. Sounds obvious, right? Apparently not, considering some agents count inaccessibility as the top reason why homes don’t sell.

5. Make It Financially Irresistible

If buyers are financially on the fence— whether it’s an issue of making the down payment or being on the edge of loan limits— it’s time to sweeten the deal. Consider offering financial incentives like paying for closing costs, inspections, or repairs, or providing allowances or credits for home upgrades after closing. You could also offer to pre-pay taxes, homeowners dues, and insurance. These kind of financial incentives can be the factors that sway wavering buyers.


This article was originally published on the Trulia Pro blog. You can find this article - and other helpful guides and articles for real estate agents - by clicking here. If you're interested in learning more tips on how to appeal to homebuyers, click the below image.

what buyers want in a real estate agent


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Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

All five of those things help in marketing but a sale comes down to three things: price, condition and location.

Sep 19, 2014 04:31 AM #2
Eugene Skinner
Eugene, OR

Thanks for the great tips! I appreciate your blog post! Have a great weekend!


Lori Spohn

Realty One

Sep 19, 2014 04:34 AM #3
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist

I especially like your tip #5 "Making it fincially irresistible" because so many people are driven by monthly payments or cash needed to close.

Sep 19, 2014 06:08 AM #4
Jason Boone
Duke Warner Realty - Bend, OR
Principal Broker, CRIS, RENE, SRS

Those are 5 excellent tips for marketing a property, especially a stale listing.  Nevertheless #5 is the most intrinsic component of them all.

Sep 19, 2014 07:48 AM #5
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert - McKenna & Vane - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate

Yes, Update your photos.  I am really surprised at the number of listing with snow in them here in Maryland.  February is one thing, September lets get really. 

Sep 19, 2014 09:08 AM #6
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

If these 5 steps had been taken, maybe the listing wouldn't be stale, but would instead be sold.

Sep 19, 2014 11:57 AM #7
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

These 5 steps most likely will make a huge difference in getting a stale listing to a desirable listing.

Sep 19, 2014 12:33 PM #8
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Trulia Pro Blog for sure making it financially a great deal makes all the difference - and the new pictures, too.

Sep 19, 2014 01:20 PM #9
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Good stuff here.  We've got a couple of stale listings right now that we just took new pictures of.  

Sep 19, 2014 10:28 PM #10
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

It sounds almost like starting over with your stale listing ~ but so easy and worth the time to freshen it up with new photos, marketing copy and pricing!

Sep 19, 2014 11:35 PM #11
Jimmy Chickey
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Las Vegas, NV
Realtor, Nationally Recognized Author, Teacher

Great tips.   Every little bit helps.  :)

Sep 20, 2014 01:08 AM #12
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
WestUSA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I see... now Trulia posts it blogs on AR, IN ADDITION to sending them in my email, unsolicited I shall add.

Sep 20, 2014 03:24 AM #13
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I always ask my buyers, while we are still at the house, if they would live there for any price.  If it is just the price they don't like, what would you pay. I have gotten offers that way.  On Stale Homes!

Sep 20, 2014 12:55 PM #14
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Lowering the price is a last resort, but if the seller cannot do the items on their checklist, they may have to get a buyer by taking a hit in the pocketbook. Luckily, there are always spunky, creative buyers, who are willing to take on a dog.

Sep 22, 2014 07:47 AM #15
Sellstate Partners Realty - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!

If the pictures and property show well, property is accessible & still no sale, then it's the price.

Sep 22, 2014 08:43 AM #16
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330 - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

I've started rotating front views so as to keep a fresher look (ala Bob Cenk).

Sep 22, 2014 09:08 AM #17
Sarah, John Rummage
Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 - Nashville, TN
Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area!

New Photos! I can't believe the dark photos of homes that are still in MLS. They look worse now than ever, now that so many agents are using professional photography and there is such a comparision.

Sep 22, 2014 12:05 PM #18
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Pricing the property correctly is essential to avoid stale listings. All those elements in your post won't change the circumstances if the asking price isn't  realistic.

Sep 23, 2014 04:51 AM #19
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

Finding new ways to spruce up a listing is sometimes a challenge when you do all the above right to being with. LOL. But good to step back and re-evaluate for sure. 

Oct 26, 2014 02:26 PM #20
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I believe in great imagery, as this makes sales! People don’t just want to read about your listings, they want to see some quality examples of the property they’re interested in too. Choose the most complimentary pictures and then use these to point out exceptional features on the property and with the home.

Mar 07, 2017 07:26 PM #21
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