13 Ways To Revive A Stale Real Estate Listing
Every agent has been there. You fight tooth and nail to snag a listing, spend a bunch of time and money assembling the marketing materials and excitedly publish it to the MLS with fantasies of how you will spend the commission check.
Then, despite a showing or two, you find yourself sitting on a stale listing with less than pleased sellers. You promised you could get it sold. You feel like you’ve done everything you can to attract a buyer, and your sellers are refusing to reduce the price.
If you are anything like most agents, you feel stuck; like there’s nothing more that you can do other than what you already have. However, the truth is there are some simple steps you can take to breathe new life into a listing and actually attract that elusive buyer.
This is a long one so don’t forget to bookmark and pin it so you can come back to it year after year!
1. Get A New Perspective
You know how when you walk away from a puzzle for a few minutes and return that you can suddenly see the pieces you were looking for? Sometimes, you are so deep into the listing that it becomes impossible for you or your sellers to see problems that are right in front of your face. For this reason, you should bring in a fresh pair of eyes and perspective to identify shortcomings and untapped marketing opportunities. Your broker is a good person to turn to, as well as, any real estate marketing experts like myself that can help identify a strategy you need.
2. Revisit The Feedback
If you have had showings in the past, you need to take the feedback you were given seriously. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to circle back to those agents again to dig a bit deeper and find out what their clients liked, loved, and hated about the property. Any common responses should be addressed with the seller and incorporated into your new marketing plan.
You can always turn negatives into positives with the right spin. For example, if people keep complaining that the yard is too small, alter the description to make that a positive by stating that with less time wasted on back-breaking yard work there is more time to do what you love.
3. Take A Tough Look At The Listing Photos
Did you hire a professional photographer or cheap out and take the photos yourself? I hope I don’t have to tell you that you screwed up there but regardless, you need professional photos. Still, there are times when the original professional photos aren’t doing their part. Therefore, you may want to consider having some seasonal, new daytime, and new nighttime photos taken to refresh the marketing materials and get hesitant buyers to see it in a new light.
4. Get A New Professional Listing Description
Most real estate agents have no idea how many major mistakes they make with their listing descriptions. A proper listing description should be written to paint a picture of the lifestyle provided with the home. It should incorporate sophisticated psychology and be tailored to SEO to help it rank well on search engines. Just as it should never be a question if you need professional photos taken, you should never hesitate to have a professional real estate writer like myself write your descriptions. While many writers will charge you hundreds of dollars for these, you can purchase mine for as little as $100.
5. Incorporate The Floor Plan
Many buyers are particular about the floor plan and want to have a clear picture of it before booking a showing. Therefore, you should incorporate it whenever you can. Especially if you are working with a new construction listing or are hoping to attract long-distance buyers.
6. Paint A Picture Of The Lifestyle
As I mentioned before, it is not enough to state the obvious, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or list the amenities. Your job as the listing agent is to use pictures, videos, written descriptions, and any other media at your disposal to give buyers a fantasy about living there. You want them to be able to see themselves happily living and building their future in the listing. Regurgitating the bullet points of the listing detail will never do that.
7. Keep Switching It Up
One of the smallest and easiest things you can do to keep drawing attention to the listing is swapping out the featured image. In fact, you may want to do it every week and keep track of how each of them performs. It wouldn't hurt to pay attention to which one is performing the best so you can eventually settle.
8. Write A Blog Post About All Of Your Real Estate Listings
Beyond the standard listing description that you post to the MLS or your social media, did you know that you could leverage your listings into a bigger, better web presence by turning them into full-blown blog posts?
Yup, more and more real estate agents have realized that blogging about listings is a powerful way to:
Get more attention to listings you have or want to promote & sell
Improve your real estate website’s SEO
Impress the pants off your sellers
Increase the value of your real estate website
But just like anything, there is a right way and a wrong way to blog about your listings.
Obviously, as I just told you, you need to highlight the lifestyle and direct benefits of said lifestyle in a listing blog post. After that, you need to turn to the location. Don’t just say things like “a short walk to nearby stores and parks”. Instead, help buyers imagine what a day in their life might look like when they buy your listing, as it relates to what is in their new neighborhood.
Let’s say your listing is a condo in a city’s downtown district. Talk about how much fun the buyer will be able to have shopping, dining out, and socializing in nearby establishments that are just steps away from their door.
This is a fabulous opportunity for you to highlight the most relevant local businesses and attractions which will do wonders for your real estate website’s SEO and help you to build a relationship with those business owners.
I always recommend that you reach out to the owners or managers of the businesses that you feature and ask them to help promote the content you create around them or even pay to be featured alongside your listings. Many of my clients that hire me to write their listing descriptions and blogs for them charge local businesses to be featured this way and make a killing doing it!
You also need to look for ways to up the SEO ante even further. I explain some of those strategies in my article How To Blog About Your Listings.
9. Draw Bigger Crowds To Open Houses With Giveaways
It is no surprise that it can feel like teeth getting people to show up to open houses. In addition to notifying your network and the neighbors with personalized invites, you can also entice attendance with giveaways.
My favorite way to do this is with MarketingBoost which allows you to give away unlimited vacations to clients and prospects. I have used them for years now and I actually have taken the vacations myself a few times and have loved them.
Obviously, if people think they will win a free vacay just for showing up you will attract some not-so-serious buyers. However, if you include some rules to be entered for your giveaway, you can actually leverage those tire kickers. Here are some suggestions for what people should do to be entered for your giveaway:
Require them to sign-in with a valid name, number, and email
Must list at least one person (with contact info) that might buy/sell within a year
Must do a social post with strategic hashtags
10. Create A Video About The Listing & Neighborhood
From a quality perspective, I would prefer you to enlist the help of your real estate photographer for this one but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. Go around the neighborhood and local attractions, shops, restaurants, etc. and create videos, which you can include in that blog post, which show off the benefits of the locale. Remember, you aren’t selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle.
Just imagine if your perfect buyers were overlooking the property because they weren’t blown away by the house but had been craving a lifestyle change that the neighborhood would afford them. There are tons of buyers out there that would gladly compromise on some ugly finishes to get easy access to the lifestyle they want to maintain or wish they had.
11. Enlist The Help Of Home Partners
I won’t go into great detail about HP because you can look them up for yourself on their website. But in essence, they are a company that buys qualifying homes for buyers that would prefer to lease-to-own for a while before purchasing and rents it to them. The main benefit here is that Home Partners will close on the property with you quickly and you get a commission now, rather than in a few years. They will help you close far more deals with both buyers and sellers if you use them correctly.
12. Remember Your Hashtags
Most people simply do not understand hashtags, what they are, or how to use them. They work like keywords for social media platforms that are basically search engines in disguise i.e. Facebook. When you are adding hashtags to a social post about your listing, you need to include 25-30 strategic hashtags as a comment to your post. Make sure the majority of them are hyperlocal and pertain to real estate.
13. Get Real Answers From Other Agents
Sometimes you need to just swallow your pride and reach out to your peers or even competition to get the right insight. There are times that only other agents and brokers will be able to identify what is missing or wrong with the listing that is preventing the sale. The key here is to ask for written comments from them about what they think is off or missing. That way, you can show them to the client if you agree with the comments but they haven’t been listening to you. For example, let’s say you think you’re overpriced but the sellers have been digging their heels in and insisting other agents would get the price they want. If you can show them written comments from other agents agreeing with you, they should come around. For the record, if they don’t then I think you should walk away from the listing before you allow them to waste any more of your time or money.
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