What to Do If Your Real Estate Listings Have Expired

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Sellers may find it difficult to be optimistic after a listing has expired. Most are excited and nervous when the listing agreement is first signed, hoping that the home sells quickly and for a big profit. It's frustrating to wait long periods for a purchase offer when that offer never arrives. Regardless of the length of listing—whether the agreement was for a term of 90 days, 180 days, or a year—when the listing has expired, the broker/seller relationship has essentially come to an end. This is when sellers often ask whose fault it is that the home isn't selling.

Check Motivation

The first step is to review your reasons for selling. Maybe you need more space for a growing family, prefer liquid cash, or moving cities for a new job opportunity. The reason itself doesn't matter as much as having a reason in general. If you can't name your reason for selling, perhaps you should temporarily take your home off the market and consider if it's what you really want to do. If you are not motivated to sell, you will have a tough time during this process.

Review Marketing

Review the marketing plan with your agent step-by-step to make sure you had a viable strategy to sell your home. Decide if you or your agent dropped the ball, what worked, and what didn't work. You may have done a virtual tour, sent out direct mail, put a lockbox on the property, or none of the above. The key is to go back to the drawing board and improve on any marketing plans you previously set in place.

Consider Condition

Go out and look at other homes on the market to determine if your home is in the same condition as those actively for sale. Perhaps you need to do repairs before selling, or maybe your home needs to be staged. Whatever the case, you want your home to have curb appeal. The cost of home improvements may be worth it if it ultimately helps you get the house sold. Homeowners make an average of 2.2 renovations on their homes before selling, and 79% make at least one improvement.

Review Buyer Objections

Review buyer feedback—which your agent should have obtained for you when your home first went on the market—to understand what buyers are saying about your home. Consistency in feedback lets you know the potential buyers feel the same way. If there is validity to what they're saying, find out how to compensate for those objections.

Discount Sudden Activity

You won't have to look too far to find agents because they'll all come crawling out of the woodwork when your listing expires. Realtors are prevented from soliciting a seller when the listing is active in MLS, but you're fair game when the listing has expired. Many agents specialize in contacting expired listings because they want the listing. Moreover, realize that some agents will take an overpriced listing just to get signage. Ask your agent to make sure your name and phone number have been removed from MLS when the listing is withdrawn, canceled, or expired to make it more difficult for agents to call you irresponsibly.

Contact Several Listing Agents

Always ask the hard questions when interviewing agents to determine if they're giving you the right answers. Find out what another agent might do differently, and if they offer substantially more service than your existing agent, list with that agent. Check your criteria for choosing a listing agent.

Talk to Your Existing Agent

If your agent has fulfilled the marketing plan, worked diligently to sell your home, and the market is not working in your favor, then you might need a price reduction. Ask your existing agent to prepare another comparative market analysis to determine if your home is priced to sell. If you respect and value your agent, relist with that agent.

Adjust your price accordingly and follow your agent's suggestions, even if it means making repairs or improvements you'd rather not do. If your agent is spending money on your listing through advertising, aggressive marketing, and networking that listing, that agent deserves your loyalty.

Article Sources

  1. Zillow. "Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018." Accessed March 20, 2020.

  2. National Association of Realtors. "2020 Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice." March 20, 2020.