Why Your Listing is Stale and What to do About it

The spring real estate market is here (whether the real spring is here is up for debate) and that means you’re noticing a lot more For Sale signs popping up in your neighborhood. It also might bring your attention to some homes that are showing their wear because they’ve been listed for a few years months, and have gone stale. Whether this is your house, your neighbor’s, or one you’re looking at buying, a stale listing matters to you. 

The wrong wreath. You’ve got that right. I opened with a wreath because curb appeal is e v e r y t h i n g. I can’t stress it enough. There is a home in our neighborhood that was listed when we moved in, and still is fifteen months later. This particular house has a Christmas wreath, easily spotted from the road, made from bright red Christmas tree bulbs and takes up half the door. While it may not feel like spring, it is indeed the middle of April and we’ve had a few holidays post-Christmas. If you don’t want to go out and buy a new one (but you should, first impressions, people!), at least take it down. That signals to potential buyers (neighbors, anyone, really) that you aren’t paying attention, don’t live there, or worst of all, don’t care. Then the wheels start turning. What else don’t they care about? What else have they let go? I know this may seem nitpicky and bizarre, but I can promise you it’s true, we’ve been out with enough buyers to know what they’re thinking.

Your listing? Replace the wreath with something fresh, cheerful, and vibrant to give a warm first impression. We’d also advise you to give the door a fresh coat of paint and a few other items on the Punch List but we’ve listed those before.

Your neighbor? Do them a favor (golden rule!) and tell them you read a staggering study about first impressions and not making the right one leads to a reduced sales price of 20%. Or, extend even more kindness by telling them what wonderful neighbors they’ve been and gift them with a sweet little Home Goods special for $20. Why, you ask? Their selling price directly impacts yours. Even if you’re not listing tomorrow, people will pull up their sold price when running comps for yours in the future. The more they make, the more you make.

Your potential new home? Look even more closely at what’s inside…and out. Why is this property stale? I promise you when homes are priced right, they sell. So it’s likely a high listing price. But that being said, why do the sellers think they can command that? Do you notice other things on the same vein as the Christmas wreath? Nasty furnace filters, holes that need patching, water spots on the ceiling…other maintenance items that have been deferred? These tell a story. This could add up to a lower offer from you, or perhaps they pile too high and this isn’t the one. 

Other stale signs include:

  • Bad pictures. This could mean listing photos with three feet of snow on the ground when now there is none. In the house referenced above, they have an ironing board out in one of the bedrooms with a pile of laundry ready to be ironed. You read that right. In the listing photos. The horror! A huge pet peeve of mine – seeing laundry, toilet seats up, cluttered counters…all of that should be put away (or put down) before you have photos taken. Talk about a bad first impression and you haven’t even gotten there yet.
  • No showings in two weeks. If you’ve gone a period of time without a single showing, your listing has gone stale. When a home is priced right, it will sell in 30 days or less. Period. It always comes down to price.
  • Showings, but no offers. Same as above, it is likely price. But look around. What do the comps have that you don’t? How do your photos look? Do you get on your hands and knees and scrub it spotless for every showing? How does it smell? How does it feel?

Any signs you’d add to the list? Share with the Pack below! And as always, thanks for taking a minute out of your hectic day to join us, friends. We truly appreciate it!







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