Realtors: Here's what to do with an overpriced, hard-to-sell listing

There are no bad houses. There are just different houses. And every home would sell tomorrow at a certain price level. Therefore, every listing is a good listing, at the right price.

Realtors: Here's what to do with an overpriced, hard-to-sell listing
Photo by Medienst├╝rmer / Unsplash

As salespeople, we run on hope and possibility. When a sale feels like a million miles away, it can be hard to get excited about the work involved in marketing a property.

In these situations, some realtors take aim directly at the owner's price expectations. Challenging their position right from the start.

Sadly, this approach simply alienates owners. Even if a sale is achieved, those owners aren't going to be recommending that realtor to friends and family. No one wants to be pressured into making a large financial decision.

A better approach would be to get alongside your clients first, put in the work, earn their trust and respect and then, only then, should you bring up the subject of price. At that point, an owner is far more likely to be receptive to your message, knowing you have exhausted all other options before seeking an adjustment to their price expectations.

Think about it from their point of view

If you are working with a challenging property, your clients probably already know it's not an ideal home for most buyers.

You don't need to remind them that it's hard to sell.

Instead, you need to be the voice of positivity and to employ a solution-focus at all times.

There are no bad houses. There are just different houses. And every home would sell tomorrow at a certain price level.

Therefore, every listing is a good listing, at the right price.

But, before you can find that market price level, you need to fight for the owners and exhaust every avenue to secure the best possible result.

Exhaust all other options first

Before you go anywhere near talking about a price reduction, you need to show your owners you are on their side.

On that note, check out our listing refresh checklist and work through all the ideas on that list first, so you can earn the right to ask for a price adjustment.

Agent Advice: Listing Refresh Checklist / Ideas to generate more buyer enquiry
If you are unsatisfied with the amount of enquiry you are getting on one of your properties, use this checklist to come up with ideas to get things moving.

Quick tips for a hard-to-sell listing:

List it as a campaign.

A fixed date process like a Tender, Auction or Deadline Sale is a great option for owners with high expectations. Employing a no-price marketing approach saves you from putting a high asking price out to the market which will greatly reduce buyer enquiry.

Here's another reason: you want to delay the moment when you place offers in front of your owner. We've all had the experience where an owner gets a good offer within a few days of going on the market and decides to decline it, citing "it's only early days" and hoping better offers will come later on.

Owners with high expectations will benefit from having a few weeks of feedback to mull over before they review any offers.

Lastly, multiple offers present a clear picture of market value. It's easier for your owner to bring their expectations down to a market level if there are multiple offers showing them what their property is worth. Volume speaks!

Review the marketing process every week.

If you put a property on the market and it doesn't garner interest in the first week, make changes asap. Don't wait for 3-4 weeks before making adjustments to your marketing.

In this modern age, buyers know about your new listing within hours of it being listed. If they aren't booking viewings in the first few days then you need to change things up fast. Start working through the refresh options listed above as soon as you can.

Ok, still no buyers. What's next?

Now that the property has been on the market for 2-3 weeks with no good offers, it's time to have some serious heart-to-heart conversations with your owners.

Here is an example of the kind of dialogue that works when a listing is proving hard to sell:

Owner: "How many groups did you have through today?"

Realtor: "Look, we only had 1 group and they didn't stay long, but hang in there, I'm determined to find the right buyer for your home. So here's what I'm going to do - I'm going to change the advert online, switch the main photo and if that doesn't generate more activity, we'll sit down and talk about whether we need to re-position our pricing strategy. But in the meantime, I want to try these other options first..."

See what's happening with that kind of discussion? You are fostering hope. You are showing that you care, that you have solutions, and that changing the price is the last resort, not the first option.

Owners will listen to you when you first prove to them that you are working hard to protect the value of their biggest asset.

If those small changes to the advertising don't work, you can ask for a price adjustment knowing you have fought hard for your owners first.


How to ask for a price reduction (scripts included)...

How to ask for a price reduction (scripts included)
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