I remember interviewing for my second listing back in 1997. The seller asked me this question: "Jennifer, I assume our house will sell quickly because it's so cute (it was), but if it doesn't sell right away, what will you do?"
Hmmmmmmmm. Hell, I dunno. I was a green bean agent; I'd only had one other listing in my career and didn't have a clue. I came up with something, that probably sounded like this: " I'll do a broker open house, I'll do mid-week open houses, I'll distribute color brochures throughout the neighborhood and post an ad on the nearby college's bulletin board."
Lucky for me, the house did sell quickly, so I didn't have to implement my admittedly weak Plan B.
But it's now 12 years later and I still don't have a good answer to the question: "What will you do in 30 days if my house hasn't sold?"
However, with 12 years of experience under my belt, I KNOW that there ISN'T a great answer to the question! Especially if the seller is expecting me to reach into some magic bag of tricks and pull out a secret marketing strategy that I reserve only for my non-selling listings!
Here's the thing. Even if I HAD a magic bag of secret marketing tricks, why would I hold out using them until after the listing is stale? Wouldn't it make more sense to hit the market with all guns blazing?
But the truth is, I don't have a magic bag of tricks (and neither do you). NO AMOUNT OF MARKETING CAN SELL AN UNSELLABLE HOME. You can do broker opens every day of the week, distribute enough color brochures to kill a small forest and refresh your Craigslist ad every 21 days for the next five years and your listing will not sell if it's not properly priced, properly prepared and properly presented! NO AMOUNT OF MARKETING CAN SELL AN UNSELLABLE HOME!
Our job as professional real estate agents is to know what it's gonna take to get a house sold. We need to know how to price the home TO SELL; how to prepare our sellers for the reality of Being on the Market and how to help them prepare the home to evoke the most positive emotional reaction from the greatest number of potential buyers (and their agents). It needs to look good, smell good and photograph well. It needs to be easy to show without the distraction of barking dogs or a work-at-home owner. If there's an obstacle to sale, we need to recognize it and have the balls to be frank with our seller about it (and help ‘em fix it).
That's how you sell your listing. By working with your seller to create a marketable product, not to throw time and money at advertising after the sign goes in the yard. Frankly, the MLS system is an incredibly efficient system to sell houses and there's nothing we can do individually to out-market that MLS.
WARNING - infomercial to follow...
I wrote a little book last year called "For Sale Signs Don't Pay the Bills" which is a very detailed list of 74 things you as a listing agent can do to get your listings sold. It's a damn good book, if I do say so myself and it's only $14.95 right now at my bookstore. If you have listings that aren't selling, or don't WANT listings that don't sell in the future, check it out. I also do live presentations on the material, if your Association is looking for a speaker in 2009.
Okay, Infomercial Over.
Let's go sell our listings!