Sell Your House In Today’s Market – Ideas to Stand Out from the Crowd of Stale Listings


Our neighbours are about to have baby #3 and they want more space. As their due date fast approaches, they are starting to have visions of trying to move with a new born baby and two other kids in tow.

That thought isn’t pretty, so they did what every desperate wanna be home seller does… they dropped the price.

After nearly four full months on the market, a flyer hit our mailbox advertising the property for sale. The headline screamed “NEW LISTING!”

But it showed the price being slashed by $30,000 (um, if it’s new, why is the price already being slashed?). And, in the text of the listing promotion it says “These high quality units do not last so call today for your private showing.”

I think most agents are throwing up their hands and thinking “nothing is going to sell in today’s market…they just have to keep lowering the price“. And maybe they are right – maybe people are just so scared or just so sure that waiting will get them a better deal – that they aren’t going to buy no matter what you do.

But, trying to create a false sense of urgency by saying these units don’t last long just makes the reader of that flyer laugh out loud! I know we did!

Until a few weeks ago, there were four units in our complex on the market. All of them nearly identical. After almost six months of unsuccessfully trying to sell, the other three units were pulled off the market. But none of them really tried that hard. In fact they all were overpriced even in hot market conditions! They obviously didn’t HAVE to sell.

So, if I were in a situation where I had to sell my house right now, here’s what I would try and do:How Not to Sell a House

  1. Find an agent that was willing to be compensated for results. Let’s face it… if you are selling your house for $520,000 is there really much difference to the agent if you sell for $520,000 or $500,000? It roughly works out to another $200 for your agent (a bit more if they act as a dual agent),  but for you, it’s $20,000! So what if you offered your agent a flat fee of $16,000 to sell it for a minimum of $480,000? AND offered your agent a bonus of 40% of whatever they pull in over and above $500,000? So, if they sell it for $520,000 they get an additional $8,000 as a bonus. Suddenly they have a lot more incentive to work harder and sell your house for a higher price. I’m not saying be unreasonable here… I’m assuming you’re desperate. If the market value of your house (with recent comparables) is $520,000 then this should work. But if your market value is actually $490,000… well then the numbers here aren’t going to work.
  2. Write better listing copy! I think that every listing should follow two simple rules… it should be written with a target market in mind (in other words the house should be sold to someone, not anyone) AND it should be engaging . It’s your first impression of the home. Usually you will scan the text and then click on the photos. So, you need to make it sound good. Personally, I think every real estate agent should have a freelance copywriter that writes their listings. No more boring boiler plate copy that says the same thing everyone else says “Fantastic Southern panoramic view from rooftop deck. This great neighbourhood is located walking distance from trendy shops, restaurants, transportation, schools, and parks.” What if this instead said “Sneak a  peak at Mount Baker on clear days as you entertain your friends on your rooftop deck. Or relax by the fireplace with a glass of wine as you wait for dinner to come out of your state of the art oven. So easy to use it practically makes dinner for you! The unit is so cozy and warm that you might not want to leave, but when you need to, the area has everything you need within steps. The award winning Pear Tree restaurant is just steps away, or wander a few blocks to Dolce 67 for one of their 126 flavours of gelato. ” I’m not a copywriter so this isn’t that great, but I just wanted to demonstrate how this is now written with a target market in mind, not just anyone with a pulse. And it tries to be engaging for the reader.
  3. Help Make The Sale. I’d have a home stager in, I’d have open houses every Sunday as long as my agent thought they would be useful, and I would tell EVERYONE I know that my house is on the market.

313b_bannerrev-n-youlowqual2Ok…so these are just ideas. We have bought a lot more properties than we’ve sold (that is why we consider ourselves buy and hold real estate investors!) so I am not a home selling expert but it just seems to me that this would make success more likely. Anyone want to give it a try and let me know how it goes? Or, maybe you’re an agent and have a perspective on why this is a terrible idea. Let me know…it’s just something I have been thinking about as I wander by the dozens of listing signs on my street.


Filed under real estate

3 responses to “Sell Your House In Today’s Market – Ideas to Stand Out from the Crowd of Stale Listings

  1. Julie,

    It’s not a new gig.

    Incentive packages makes you think that Realtors will jump up and down. Not so!

    In reality, these schemes don’t matter to a pro. They do the best job all the time.

    builder $100,000 bonus – his property is still for sale.

    The reality is the buyers today are determining the sale price.

    You can put all the butter you want on the toast in terms of copy ads, open houses. If the price is highly competitive it will sell. If it is lost in the pack it won’t.

    It’s not magic. If the price were right you might even buy it and hold. But the numbers have got to work.

    just sayin….

  2. @ Larry – thanks for your comments!! I trust your experience and judgment on this…and I suspected this to be the case…I assumed that the good agents out there have given most methods a try. But when that flyer hit our mail I just got to thinking that there might be different ways to attract buyers…even in today’s market. Is price really the only thing that attracts a buyer? Maybe…but I still think buying a new home is a pretty emotional decision.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Pingback: - Real Estate Agents: Whose Side Are They On?

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