Expired listings are an all-too-frequent reality in real estate, so I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on what to do if your listing has expired. In this week’s exciting episode, we’ll focus on the real estate professional. Here are some options:
Give your current agent another chance--There are some advantages to trying again with your current listing agent. For example, she or he is already familiar with your property and can update and reactivate the listing very quickly. Giving your current agent another chance spares you the time and effort of interviewing other agents, who must start from scratch with questions, paperwork, photographs and marketing. Besides, breaking up is hard to do. What do you say to your Realtor®? “It’s not you, it’s the property?” “I can’t be in a committed listing relationship with you, but we can still be friends?”
If you’re open to keeping your current agent, ask how the market may differ now. For example, if your Lakes Region home was listed over the winter it may have been exposed to lower traffic than it would receive this time of year when far more people are visiting the region and shopping for homes. Perhaps there are fewer homes for sale now and therefore less competition. Maybe some comparable homes are under agreement and establishing the price precedent your home needed.
Also ask your agent what, if anything, he or she is going to do differently to sell your home this time around. We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is “trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different response,” so if your home hasn’t sold it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a new approach in order to achieve a new result. On the other hand, if the agent doesn’t have satisfactory answers to those questions, you might…
Give another agent a chance--There are advantages to bringing in a fresh set of eyes, especially if your previous agent wasn’t proactive and responsive in their communications (perhaps the leading cause of breakups between sellers and agents). Here are some important questions to consider when interviewing a replacement Realtor®:
Will you put a lock box on my property? I’m amazed how common this practice is. My perspective is that lock boxes don’t sell your home, they just let people in. I’ve had numerous experiences where I was given a lock box code over the phone and never saw the listing agent during showings, inspections or walk-throughs.
Further, lock boxes open real estate professionals and home owners to a lot of potential liability. For example, what if something is stolen during a “showing” where no one was there to represent you? Or what if your pipes burst because a buyer agent unfamiliar with your home thinks they just turned off the lights in the basement, when, in reality, they just turned off the oil burner switch and it’s 10 below?
Do you practice real estate full time or part time? There are some fine people who practice part time and just pick up a listing here and there. A part-timer may get the job done but if your listing has expired there are two issues important to consider: time and commitment. For example, what if the agent is busy with his or her primary job and can’t show your home in a timely fashion? Well, I guess they could put up a lock box.
Further, real estate requires a steep and constant learning curve. Someone who is not 100 percent committed to the business may not be current with the latest training and techniques to make sure your property sells, for an appropriate price, with minimum legal liability.
Where is your office located and what does it focus on? In this case, my client disclosed that his previous listing agent had only a handful of showings over the nearly six months of prior listing. I looked into it and found that the prior agent’s office was in a town more than an hour away from the Laconia property. That agent may be very good, but it’s tough to devote over two hours just to get to and from the property you’re trying to sell. I guess she could have put up a lock box.
Further, the agent worked for a metropolitan office of an ubermegabehemoth international franchise, so the Lakes Region represented only a miniscule, infinitesimal, teeny, little fraction of that agency’s sales.
On the other hand, my office and home are about ten minutes away from the above-mentioned Laconia property, and since its inception decades ago, Roche Realty Group’s slogan has been: “We sell the Lakes Region.” In other words, Lakes Region properties are not an afterthought for us—they are the only thought.
Agent approach and office location and focus can make a huge difference. Because I am dedicated to Lakes Region markets including Laconia, Meredith, Gilford and Moultonborough, practice real estate full time, and don’t use a lock box, I have the above-mentioned property under agreement after just 18 days on market, and for $11,000 more than the previous agent’s expired listing price.
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about the agent side of the equation, in our next exciting episode we’ll explore what you as the homeowner can do differently if your home hasn’t sold and your listing has expired.