How Real Estate Listings Expire

By: Shawn Buryska

The real estate market is far different than it was several years ago. Now, homes may linger on the market for months or years without a sale or even an offer. Nevertheless, some properties do sell quickly. Understanding why some sell and others do not is essential to helping your own home sell quickly in a buyer's market.

The first two reasons listings expire are condition and staging. High housing inventories and longer market times allow buyers to be more discriminating, so the home in the best condition and best presentation is more likely to sell first.

The third essential element in ensuring a successful sale is an effective marketing program. Previously we examined the difference between listing and marketing: listing is simply announcing that your home is for sale; marketing involves developing and implementing a strategy for attracting potential buyers to your home.

A listing may sell, eventually, even with very little marketing. In a buyer's market, however, without marketing the odds are it will not sell or will take a long time, which can be expensive in both holding costs and price erosion.

Proper marketing involves getting the word out and making sure your home is promoted differently than the average home for sale.

Getting the Word Out
It is essential that your home be listed and advertised in as many places as possible. The larger the potential buyer pool, the more likely that the 'right' buyer will find your home. The five main outlets are the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), internet, print advertising, signage, and inter-office and outer-office networking.

Setting Your Home Apart
It's not enough to simply alert the buyers. Reaching the largest potential buyer pool possible increases the likelihood of finding the right buyer quickly. Your home must stand out from the rest. Here are several ways your agent can maximize your home's visibility:

MLS - Make sure the information is complete and accurate. This is not the area to take shortcuts. Photos should be taken by a professional to best showcase your home. Multiple photographs illustrating key features of your home and a virtual tour are a must.

Maximize Exposure - If you're in an area with overlapping MLS's, be sure your agent lists your home in both systems. Again, the more potential buyers who learn of your home, the more likely your home will sell quickly.

Internet - In most MLS's your home is on the internet as a service of the MLS. Steps can be taken in many of the national key websites to enhance the listing. More comments can be added, as well as photos, room counts, virtual tours etc. It's extra work and more expensive, but well worth it. You want to be sure your home makes the buyer's 'short list' of homes to visit in person.

Print Advertising - Some would argue that print advertising is not that effective but personal experience has been the more we do the better the results. Many local 'move up' buyers who are casually shopping will look at local homes magazines before sitting down to do a dedicated search. Frequently the print ad gets the buyer's attention, then they go to the internet for more information.

Signage - The bigger the better. Directional signs work well if allowed by town ordinance.

Networking - This is the 'extra mile' that you need your agent to go. Networking involves a lot of extra work, but a busy agent is in contact all day long with other agents - both in their own office and in other agencies - who have buyers in various price ranges. Taking the time to make sure those agents know about your home expands the potential buyer pool even farther. As much as the internet has helped increase visibility, you still can't beat good old fashion person-to-person promotion.

Direct Mailings - Targeted mailings to your neighborhood can help. Your neighbors probably won't buy your home, but they might have a friend who would.

Open Houses - Although open houses are notoriously ineffective at producing a sale, a professionally-hosted open house will produce a direct buyer in about 1 of 50 open houses. Yours may be the 50th! Plus the more people who see your home, the more likely the right buyer will see it.

A Lead Capture System - Your agent should have an effective way of getting a prospective buyer's name and phone number. Brochure boxes are very convenient for buyers, but they provide no means for your agent to follow up with prospects. There are systems that can capture the buyer's name and phone number so your agent can check with the buyer to see if there is any interest.

Guaranteed Sale Program - The buyer who has a home to sell before they can buy yours is at a disadvantage unless your agent has a guaranteed sale program. This sort of program may encourage a buyer to choose your home over someone else's since it removes the hassle of a contingent offer.

The Choice is Yours
A great agent will do everything they can to market your home and get it sold quickly and for top dollar. When selecting an agent, don't make assumptions. You need an agent with a proven and consistent track record. Don't rely on the reputation of the agency as every agent is an independent contractor with their own level of experience and success. You want the best working for you.

Copyright ? Shawn Buryska.

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