Selling Your Home: How to Rebound After an Expired Listing
An expired listing with your real estate agent shouldn't be considered a failure. Here's how to get your home sale right the next time.
If you feel you worked well with your real estate agent, don't be afraid to sign a new listing with the same professional. However, if you feel there was a lack of communication or marketing plan, you may want to interview other potential agents and brokers.(Getty Images)
For home sellers hoping to move on to their next chapter, seeing an exclusive listing agreement you signed with your real estate agent come to an end without a viable offer can be a huge disappointment. You likely signed that listing agreement feeling optimistic about selling your home quickly and at a great price. If you had a skilled agent at your side, she had a strong marketing plan in place, scheduled open houses and showings and did all the requisite signage and advertising. If all that hard work didn't bring in interested buyers and offers, was it all for naught?
Disappointing though it may be, an expired listing shouldn't always be considered a failure. Instead, think of it as a chance to make an even better effort with the help of some solid market feedback. So, how do you rebound and get it right the next time? Here are five tips for turning an expired listing into one headed for the closing table.
Read:Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019. ]
1. Don’t Be Emotional
Yes, it's discouraging to see your hopes of a quick and profitable sale evaporate. Your home not selling within the prescribed timeframe might cause stress and complications, especially if it is around a planned relocation. If you were buying and selling simultaneously, you're probably feeling your blood pressure rise. You might also be taking your home's lack of buyer interest personally and asking yourself, why don't potential buyers love my home as much as I do?
The more emotion sellers can strip away from the selling process, the better. It's time to stop thinking of it as your home and start thinking of it as someone else's new beginning. Try not to get emotionally attached to your kid's height notches on the door jamb or your painstakingly perfect kitchen remodel, and by all means, don't dwell on your home's failure to sell in its first outing. Instead, stay positive and focus on what can be improved in round two.
2. Do a Thorough Post-Mortem
To avoid making the same mistakes twice, you really have to analyze all the feedback garnered during your home's initial listing period. The most likely culprit in an expired listing is sale price, and price reductions can be a challenging pill for sellers to swallow. Ask your agent to revisit the comparative market analysis to make sure your price makes sense. Keep in mind that with much of the country in a buyer's market, pricing your home too high is a literal deal breaker.
But while the price is a key driver for buyers, it's not the only deciding factor. Be sure to review all the feedback that came in from brokers and buyers during open houses and showings. Categorize each piece of criticism on a scale of "easy fix" – think chipped trim or a broken light switch – to "can't be helped" – that would include things like a small lot size, lack of building amenities or less than desirable school district. Be sure to address all of the issues on the easy end of the scale, and take the other feedback into consideration when revisiting your listing price.
Be sure to review your agent's original marketing plan and take a look at what was and wasn't completed. Did you drop the ball on anything? Did your listing agent? Could any efforts – say, local advertising – be emphasized or added in the next go-round? By the way, if your agent didn't prepare a formal marketing plan in the first place, that can be a clue that it's time to move on.
3. Incorporate Smart Improvements
Much of the country is in a competitive buyer's market right now, meaning prospective buyers are taking their time to find the right home at the right price. In this type of climate, creating a high-impact first impression is absolutely critical. The first impression matters. Fresh paint and carpet can be immediate game-changers in reinventing your home, and these tasks offer the least expensive and dramatic makeover. Minor updates to bathrooms – modern vanity cabinets, upscale fixtures or new lighting – can create an upgraded look without a huge expense. Beyond cosmetic updates, professional deep cleaning and decluttering is in order, and don't discount the impact of professional staging. Research consistently shows that staging recoups its cost in higher sale prices.
And of course, all of this hard work should be thoroughly documented with professional photography and high-end marketing materials. Take a look at comparable homes for sale in your neighborhood for inspiration. In the end, your home should look so good you almost don't want to sell.
4. Consider a New Broker
Keep in mind that an expired listing doesn't necessarily mean it's time to move forward with a new agent. In fact, changing horses midstream, so to speak, can result in a lot more work to get your home on the market again. If you trust in your agent and you feel confident that they've worked hard on your behalf, you should definitely consider renewing the listing with him or her.
However, if you feel like your agent dropped the ball or that your working relationship just didn't click, by all means, consider a new representative. Keep in mind that once your listing expires, real estate agents will be coming out of the woodwork to earn your business. Get recommendations from friends and family, especially those who've gone through an expired listing situation of their own. Interview candidates carefully, being sure to ask hard questions about their approach to and success with expired listings specifically.
5. Make a Fresh Start
Try not to think of your home's next outing as a relisting, but as a relaunching and rebranding. Stay positive and confident in the fact that, by listening to feedback and making smart tweaks, you and your home will find its new owner.