Updated October 4, 2023
You have a listing that’s been sitting on the market, and try as you may, it just isn’t moving. The days on the market are piling up and so are the frustrated texts from your seller. While you’re brainstorming how to revive your stale listing, your seller is at home wondering if they should get another agent.
It’s another unfortunate case of a stale listing and it happens all the time. A stale listing is a home that has been sitting on the market for an extended period of time such as a few months. It typically hasn’t gotten any offers and may be hard-pressed to get any until something changes.
Why Listings Go Stale
Some homes just won’t sell. Listings can go stale for a variety of reasons such as:
- The price is too high
- It’s a bad market
- The house is in an undesirable location
- The home has big issues or is in need of repairs
- The home isn’t move-in ready or modern
- Not enough people or the wrong people know about the listing
Any one of these issues or a combination of them can leave a house sitting on the market for an extended period of time with little hope of being sold. It’s a bad experience for agents and homeowners alike, but there are a few potential solutions.
How to Market a Stale Listing
If a listing goes stale, it can be a big problem for your business. Your relationship with your client can go south quickly. The result may be a negative review, lost referrals, and even losing the listing itself. When a listing goes stale (and even the best real estate agents will face this issue), it is time to go back to the drawing board. Follow these tips on how to revive a stale listing so you can get the house sold and salvage your relationship with your client.
Address Big Issues
Have items come up on inspections that have ruined sales? Maybe the roof needs to be replaced or the HVAC is past its prime. These problems will continue to stall your sale. If you want to sell a stale listing with issues like these, you need to get these problems fixed.
While many homeowners don’t want to or simply can’t afford to front the money for these repairs, it doesn’t mean there is no hope. Our inspection repair app can streamline the estimate and repair process, and your homeowners do not need to pay anything until closing.
Get The Word Out
Maybe your stale listing just isn’t reaching enough people or the right audience. Besides just showing up on Zillow or one of those other sites, you may need to put in a little extra work. Think more signage around the neighborhood, hosting more open houses, and reaching out to your network via email or social media. Other creative ways to market a stale listing may include making a video or posting in agent groups on Facebook. This extra marketing can help your listing get more visibility and hopefully find the right buyer.
Update the Online Listing
With 96% of buyers saying they use online tools during their search for a home,2 one way to help sell a stale listing is to refresh its online presence. Are the photos high quality and professionally done? Is the main photo the best choice? Is the property description the best it can be?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, it is time to increase your listing’s digital curb appeal. Along with making these updates, you may also want to consider a virtual tour or adding photos of the neighborhood to show off the area’s best features. When the online listing is in better shape, you are more likely to get people offline and through the door.
Stage the Property
Another stale listing marketing strategy is to get the home staged. If the home is empty or filled with your seller’s personal style and items, it may be turning buyers off. Instead, staging a home may help the home sell faster. By one account, staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than those homes that are not staged.3 Some agents believe staging can also help homes sell over the asking price, get more bids, have better showings, and increase their listing price.
Even if the house is already staged, it may not be done well. The current setup could be a poor layout or not highlighting the home’s best qualities. Getting the home staged properly can help potential buyers see the full potential of the home.
If you or the buyer are worried about finding the money upfront to stage, we want to help. At Curbio, our professional staging services allow your homeowners to defer payment for staging until closing. Some markets may have just a small administrative fee.
Focus on Curb Appeal
While buyers are encouraged not to judge a home by just the outside, it can be hard for them not to. Especially if the landscaping is overgrown, weeds are everywhere, and the paint is chipped, many buyers will not bother checking out the rest of the home. If this is how the homeowner takes care of the outside of the home, then how neglected is the inside?
One good real estate listing strategy for old listings is to refresh the exterior of the home. Some basic landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, and some power washing can often transform the outside of the home. The best part is all these projects tend to have a high return.
Ask for Feedback
Have you had showings with buyers that you never heard from again? Do people walk out of an open house in a hurry? Maybe there’s something you’re missing that’s turning buyers off. You can also ask other agents what they think. They may bring in a fresh perspective. Knowledge is power, and asking for feedback will help you and your sellers make informed decisions about how to revive a stale listing and sell the home faster.
Make Sure the Home is Market-Ready
If the listing is outdated or out-of-style, it is no wonder it has sat on the market. According to our survey, 77% of buyers said they will not even consider buying a home that isn’t move-in ready.1 Of the potential buyers surveyed, 67% also said they only consider homes with updated features or layouts.1 This means that about three-quarters of buyers won’t even look at your listing if it isn’t updated.
Having your seller invest in some pre-sale home renovations can make all the difference. With our help at Curbio, your sellers can make smart updates in just a few weeks without having to pay anything until closing. In the end, the house can get off the market, and the seller doesn’t have to pay a dime upfront. You may even be able to increase the sales price.
Approaching the Seller
Maybe it’s seasonality, the state of the house, or the price is too high. Once you get a better idea of why the house won’t sell as well as brainstorm some stale listing marketing ideas and solutions, it is time to talk to your seller.
Be gentle. Many sellers develop an emotional attachment to their home and can become offended if you start criticizing it. They are also probably already frustrated and annoyed with their home sitting on the market, so you do not want to push it and risk losing the listing.
You also need to come to them with solutions and next steps. Should they make some updates? Do they need to adjust the price? Should they consider renting it out instead? Showing them potential next steps can help them restore some confidence in you. On the other hand, not talking to your seller will make them think you aren’t doing anything and could lead to a lost listing.
At Curbio, we understand the loss of time and money that can come with a stale listing and want to help. Our pay-at-closing home improvements include everything from major repairs to staging to help spruce up the home. No matter the project, we also take care of all the details so you don’t have to. Plus, when you pitch us, you may be more likely to win the listing in the first place. Find out what work your stale listing needs with a free estimate.
- Curbio (2022). Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report
- National Association of Realtors (2022). 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
- The Zebra (2023). Home Staging Statistics