What to Do If Your Real Estate Listings Have Expired

woman looking at paperwork next to hourglass
••• Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Sellers find it difficult to be optimistic after a listing has expired. Most are excited and nervous when that listing agreement is first signed, hoping that the home sells quickly and for a big profit. It's frustrating to wait week after week 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 come to an end (more or less). 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 to sell. If you don't fit one of the 15 reasons listed, then you might want to revisit why you are selling. In other words, maybe you don't have a reason to sell. Perhaps you should temporarily take your home off the market.

If you are not motivated to sell, you are not a seller. You're a homeowner with a sign in the yard. Without motivation, you've got about as much hope for selling as an owner with a sign that reads, "Keep Off the Grass."

Review Marketing

Where is the business plan to sell your home? Review the marketing plan with your agent, step-by-step. Did your agent drop the ball? Did you? What worked, what didn't pull ad calls or showings? Did you do a virtual tour, send out direct mail, put a lockbox on the property?

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. Maybe your home needs to be staged. Does your home scream curb appeal? Have you followed the top 10 home showing tips?

Look Again at Buyer Objections

What have buyers said about your home? Review buyer feedback, which your agent should have obtained for you when your home first went on the market. Is there validity to what buyers were saying? How can you 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.

You may wonder why your listing, now that it has expired, is so popular. Many agents specialize in contacting expired listings because they want the listing. Period. Moreover, realize that some agents will take an overpriced listing just to get signage.

You might 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

Interview agents. Ask the hard questions to determine if the agents are giving you the right answers. Find out what another agent might do differently. If another agent offers substantially more service than your existing agent, list with that agent. Check your criteria for choosing a listing agent.

Talk to Your Existing Agent About Why the Listing Expired

If your agent has fulfilled the marketing plan, worked diligently to sell your home, and the market is not answering the ring to your dinner bell, then you might need to conform to the market. This means 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.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.