When a home languishes on the market, sellers find themselves in a difficult position, asking tough questions. Should we relist it? If so, do we relist with the same agent? Above all else, what can we do differently?
It’s difficult to get over the disappointment of an unsold home but owners need to look at it as a second chance or a fresh start rather than a failure.
One of the first decisions to be made: Should you stick with the same agent or hire a new one?
Evaluate your agent’s performance and commitment to selling your house. If the lack of a sale was caused by other factors, such as a slow season or failure on your part to stage and declutter, fix the issues and stick with your agent. If your agent didn’t keep marketing promises or generally lacked enthusiasm, start interviewing potential new agents. Be specific about what you are looking for and ask lots of questions.
A second question is how long should you wait to relist? Depending on locations, most homes must be off the market 30 to 90 days before being considered a new listing. Many sellers focus in on this because so much emphasis is put on the “days on market” stats that show prominently in the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. Remember, however, that even with the clock reset, agents can easily find the cumulative sales history of the house, including prior listings that didn’t yield a sale.
How has the market changed since you previously listed? This is a key question to discuss with your agent. Is it a healthy market where homes are selling briskly, or is it slow? What are the average “days on market,”an indicator of how long it takes to sell? At which price range are homes selling fastest and which slowest?
Learn from your mistakes and set the right price. Set it too high and the house will languish, forcing future price reductions. Is this the trap that you fell into before? Also, be savvy about where you fall in price range searches. For example, if your home is valued at $255,000, it won’t be seen by buyers searching in the $225,00 to $250,000 range.
Consider the seasonality of selling. In most areas of the country, homes sell best from March to August. It’s possible to sell outside that window, but it’s more challenging. Were you previously trying to sell during a slow period? If so, you will likely have an easier time this go-round.
Clean, repair and stage your home. If you didn’t do some of these things before, make them a priority. Check the feedback from your previous listing period. Take the advice and make reasonable changes and fixes.
Redo pictures and website. Once you’ve cleaned and staged, your agent should retake professional pictures to create a new online presence for your home. The photos should also be taken from the current season. Winter photos displayed during the spring are an obvious turn off to potential buyers.