Ask an Agent: What If Your Home Doesn’t Sell Within Your Listing Agreement Timeline?

Listing Agreement Timeline
Ravi Singh

Ravi Singh has been in real estate for 15 years.

His team, The Connexus Group at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty, has a wealth of experience when it comes to understanding the ebb and flow of the market. Singh himself also understands the real value offering that a realtor should present to a seller, which makes him the perfect agent to answer this week’s question.

What happens if your home doesn’t sell within your listing agreement timeline?

If your home has not sold during the specified dates in your listing agreement — say it’s a 90-day listing agreement — it’s telling you information about the market at that time. It’s telling you that despite bringing the property to MLS and exposing it to the public and an agent network of over 55,000 agents, for whatever reason, your home did not come to a successful sale. That is likely to be a function of one of three things:

  • Where the house was priced
  • How the house was promoted and exposed
  • The condition of the the house

All three of these are in your control. You can control exposing the property well and the best way to do that is to bring it to the open market through realtor.ca, through MLS, and through a proven realtor.

READ: Ask an Agent: What Should Sellers Know Before Signing a Lease Agreement?

The second, which is a little more difficult, is how the home has been packaged and presented. Some of the things that may change that are: How was the home staged? Was the home properly cleaned? Was it landscaped? Did the home require any upgrades or finishes? Are there any deficiencies that should have been assessed? Is there anything in the house, in terms of the actual product, that can be changed?

Lastly, and most importantly, if you’re in a hyper-sellers’ market where the absorption rate is very high, where, like Toronto, people are buying homes and yours is not being bought, it may just be a function of how the house has been priced. Even the best marketer and realtor in the world, doing the best job at promoting your home and getting it looking in its best state, won’t be able to sell it if it’s not priced well.

Realtors have an obligation to the public, to the industry, and to their clients to not overprice listings to the point that they’re not logical (and is in even misguided). I see realtors as the guardians of our industry, and we need to make sure that when we’re advising our clients about bringing a property to market that we are giving them the right expectations.

Really and truly, agents, or anyone who is selling a property, need to come with the proper piece of the puzzle. In my experience, that means you have to have someone who’s really in tune with the market, you have to have someone who has the right marketing tools – digital, print, in-person, agent-to-agent, agent-to-public – to engage with target buyers. Then, you need someone who’s doing the follow-up – that’s the sales component. They are working to follow-up on leads, capture an audience, and if someone’s on the fence, trying to get them off the fence with an offer.

There are a lot of great agents out there. But if you’re not feeling you’re getting the level of communication and results that you’re looking for (and you’re priced properly), then you need to look at who’s listing your home and figure out if there’s a better option out there for you.

If the price is the issue, that has to be discussed. It goes without saying that if you’re getting the feedback that it’s priced wrong, your agent should be telling you this. Your agent should also be collecting input from people either looking at the house, especially if they’re objecting to the price. It’s the realtor’s job to advise the client on these things. You should never be in a situation where the communication is poor and you’re reaching out to get answers. The realtor should be readily providing you with answers regarding the price.

READ: Ask an Agent: What if You Change Your Mind About Selling Your Home After it’s Listed?

Let’s say you’re selling your house and it has been listed for 90 days, which has you starting to wonder – why is it not selling? If the agent has done their job – they brought it to market, have had people through, and collected good feedback – their next responsibility is going to be to let you know if you’re overpriced. We’re in a sellers’ market. There’s no problem trying a price that might be a little high. But if you’re not sold and you’re hitting that 90-day market, the market is telling you something.

A lot has to do with your motivation as a seller. If you’re looking for a certain price and you don’t care when you get it, it might take another year before the market gets to where you want to be. If you’re moving because you need to be somewhere else by a certain date, that’s totally different and you need to change your strategy or reduce the price. The only time you should take it off the market and put it back on after a period of time is if you can actually afford to wait for a certain price.

Our job as realtors is to make sure the seller’s expectations are appropriately set.

This interview was edited for both time and clarity. 

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