You hired a real estate agent to sell your house. At the beginning of that arrangement, you likely signed a legally-binding agreement that allows your agent to advertise your property and sell it on your behalf. This process is called a real estate listing agreement.
The buyers and sellers must agree upon a set start and end date for a real estate listing agreement. Most brokerages have a standard duration of time for these agreements, such as four or six months. Once the deal is signed, you can’t back out without potentially facing legal consequences.
However, once the real estate listing expires, you have lots of options.
Here are some pathways to consider once your real estate listing expires.
1. Find a new real estate agent
You need a real estate agent that can get the job done. An expired real estate listing means your house didn’t sell. There are a variety of reasons why homes don’t sell, one of which could be the real estate agent’s strategy or, in some instances, a lack thereof.
Consider finding a new real estate agent by:
- Asking friends or family in your area for a referral. If someone you trust had a positive selling experience, it’s more likely that you will, too.
- Look for real estate agents that often sell houses in your neighborhood. Some agents do repeat business in the same areas, which means they’re experienced in pricing and marketing in those neighborhoods. Try driving around your neighborhood and looking at the “For Sale” signs. See if you notice any repeat names pop up.
Gather a list of roughly three agents and conduct interviews with each one.
Ask questions like:
- Are you a licensed agent in my state?
- What brokerage company do you work for, and how long have they been in business?
- How long have you been a real estate agent?
- How many homes have you sold in my area?
- Can you provide two references for properties you’ve sold in the past year?
- Will I be working directly with you or with your assistants?
- How much do you charge in commission?
Real estate commission is typically 5 to 6 percent of the house’s final sale price.
2. Make updates to generate buyer interest
Specific issues with your house may deter buyers. If you were happy with your original real estate agent, ask them what questions they received about your property.
Maybe the roof has asphalt or wooden shingles, and they’re curling or buckling. Have people asked about this during showings or open houses?
You might consider fixing it before you re-list your home — and then you can market the fact that you have a new roof.
On average, it costs $8,846 to install a new roof, according to Angi. Outdated home furnishings can also drive down interest in your property. Vertical blinds, honey oak cabinets, tile countertops, passé wallpaper patterns, or carpet throughout the house are some dated trends that might be causing buyers to scroll past your listing.
Consider making home updates to modernize your home, such as:
- Remove outdated wallpaper and opt for neutral-colored paints (white, beige, taupe, gray).
- Ditch vertical blinds and hang curtains 4-to-6 feet above the windows’ top. This creates the illusion of taller ceilings.
- Choose matching stainless steel appliances, including a new fridge and dishwasher.
- Re-face kitchen cabinets and drawers.
- Upgrade your countertops to quartz or quartzite.
Modernizing your house not only helps with your home sale, but it can also help boost the final sale price.
3. Take professional photos
Once you make updates to your house, consider taking professional photos. Roughly half of the recent home buyers said viewing professional photos was extremely or very important to them. A photoshoot is a great place to start if your expired real estate listing only had a few photos or the photos weren’t professionally taken.
Before you hire someone to take the photos:
- Clean, declutter, and depersonalize your house. Clothes on the ground, toys covering tables, or paperwork on the countertop can be distracting in photos. Tidy things up and remove anything personalized, such as family photos or signs with your last name.
- Remove seasonal decor. When you re-list your property, remove anything tied to a seasonal holiday, such as fake spiderwebs for Halloween or lights at Christmastime. You want the décor to be timeless.
- Stage your rooms. The right décor and setup can bring out the best in a room. If it’s in the budget, hire a professional stager. Each staged room can run up to $600 per month, but it’s worth the price if it leads to a home sale.
Your real estate agent might include professional photography as part of your listing agreement. They often have a photographer they regularly work with on listings.
At the day’s end, you want to post roughly 22 to 27 photos, which is the ideal number based on Zillow’s research. Interestingly, listings with more than 28 photos took longer to sell.
People want enough visuals to picture themselves in the home, but not so many that it feels tedious to sift through.
4. List it again at a lower price
The right asking price can make or break a home sale. During a hot seller’s market, listing your house for way more than it’s worth can be tempting.
However, this could lead to buyers putting your home in a “wait and see” category. And the longer your home sits on the market, the more potential buyers start to think something might be wrong with it.
Additionally, if the appraisal comes in lower than the sale price, it can be a deal breaker for buyers who need a loan to purchase the property.
Mortgage lenders won’t lend out more than the home’s appraisal value. As a result, the buyer will then either have to negotiate the home sale price with you (the seller) or cover the difference themselves (known as the “appraisal gap”).
To ensure your house is competitively priced when you re-list it, your agent should utilize “comps.” These are comparable, nearby properties that recently sold on the market.
What happens if you list your house again and it’s still not getting any showings after ten days? Reduce the price by 3 percent. On the other hand, if you’re getting a lot of showings but no official offers, a 1 percent price reduction may be enough to encourage buyers to make a move.
5. Sell directly to a home buying company
On average, it takes 55 to 70 days to sell a U.S. home. Once your home hits the 90-day mark, it becomes “stale.” A stale listing is what real estate agents call a house that has been on the market for too long.
Fortunately, there’s still another way to sell your property. Once you have an expired real estate listing and are no longer bound to a contract, you can sell your house to a homebuying company like Meridian Trust. We purchase houses “as is” for cash in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. There are no closing costs, no inspections, and no brokerage commissions.
If we can buy your property, the price we offer you is the price you’ll receive after closing — and it can happen as quickly as ten business days. For homeowners with an expired real estate listing, it’s a fast, easy way to get paid for a property that didn’t sell on the market.
To find out how much your property might be worth, call us for a free, no-obligation offer: (954) 807-9087.
Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. Meridian Trust does not guarantee the sufficiency of the content in or linked to this blog post or that it complies with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.
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