Changing price and listing exposure will boost interest.
Question: I hope you can help us get our home sold. It has been listed for sale more than five months. The local market is very slow now. The listing agent has the house on her Web site and occasionally holds a weekend open house. What can we do to get our house sold so we can buy another home near my husband's new job site?
Answer: The primary reason a house doesn't sell is it's overpriced. If your home has been listed for sale more than five months, something is seriously wrong.
Ask the listing agent to prepare a new CMA (comparative market analysis) and a price trend analysis. These forms shows recent sales prices of similar nearby homes, the asking prices of competitive neighborhood homes (your competition), the asking prices of recently expired comparable listings (usually overpriced), as well as the trend in recent sales of homes and market absorption rate.
The market absorption rate is the rate at which a market can absorb additional units of supply without causing market saturation and severe price distortions. For example, during a recessionary period, many homeowners may list their house for sale. If the supply of homes entering the home resale market increases without a corresponding increase in demand, the market absorption rate has been exceeded, and the market price of the resale homes declines.
The CMA should also show your listing agent's recommended asking price. If your home is overpriced, it's time to face reality and reduce the asking price.
Equally important, be certain your home is correctly listed in the local MLS (multiple listing service) and on the local MLS Web site, the listing agent's most powerful marketing tool. Also, check your home's listing at http://www.realtor.com/ where more than 75 percent of today's home buyers begin their search.
In addition, ask the listing agent to explain what she has done - and is doing - to properly market your home in a slow market. How often does your real estate agent advertise your home in the newspapers and in local home sales magazines? How well is your home being marketed online? Internet advertising should have an ample number of photos of your home. Your real estate agent should also be holding a well-advertised open house at least once a month.
In addition, your real estate agent should "network" among the other MLS member agents who sell homes like yours to be certain they are aware of your home. Lastly, ask the listing agent if she recommends "staging" your home to show at its best, such as by removing old-fashioned furniture and sprucing up the interior to make it appear more attractive.
East Bridgewater, MA 02333
Lew Corcoran, ASP®, IAHSP, IAHSP-CB