There are a few “conventions” in residential real estate. For example, 6 percent listing commissions have been around for decades and are the norm for most agencies despite the clear statements in law that commissions are subject to negotiation.
Another example is the long-held belief in a six-month listing. While some are longer and others are shorter, it’s generally fair to assume six months with a sign in the yard.
But what happens when, as with many in this market, time runs out for the listing and the house is still for sale? Rather than simply signing an extension agreement with your current agent, you should step back and look at some things:
- Is my house sitting as a product of the “slow market” or is it really my price? Statistics say it’s probably your price, to be honest. If a house doesn’t go under contract in 30 days, it’s most likely the price. There’s no magic formula, and some sellers are just stuck between a rock and a hard place with how low they can go, but this is likely the No. 1 barrier today for you.
- How does my house look to potential buyers? This is an overall summary of your current agent’s marketing efforts. Are the photos outstanding wherever possible? Does the house have a great sign out front, its own website, virtual tours etc? Beyond the pricing strategy, the presentation is the most important factor and you should be 100 percent happy with your listing agent’s efforts there.
- Have I maintained the property well and been a help to my listing agent, or has he/she really been hamstrung marketing the house without my active partnership? Messy rooms and yards, difficult showings for buyers (24-hour notice!), any number of visual issues that will scare off potentially interested parties? Ask your agent to be honest with you and see if you have been part of the problem.
Bottom line: Lower the price. If your agent doesn’t wow you with marketing, interview a new one. If you need to step up personally, then commit to doing so today. There’s no getting around the work needed to get a home sold today, so time for “all hands on deck.”
Jeff Geoghan is a residential real estate agent and founder of the Jeff Geoghan Realty Group in Lancaster County. He also hosts “YourLancasterHomeTV.” He holds a Green designation from the National Association of Realtors and blogs about homes and green issues.