If you sign a contract with a real estate agent to get help selling your home, the contract will stipulate that the agent will represent you for a period of time, typically six months to a year. If your house isn’t sold within that time frame, your listing on the multiple listing service (MLS) will expire. At that point, you can work with your agent to figure out why your home didn’t sell and what to do about it, or you can switch to a different agent.
Did You Set Your Price Too High?
Real estate prices go up and down. Numerous local factors, such as property taxes, crime rates, school quality and whether a house is close to businesses, parks and other amenities, can influence home prices. The price for one house will also depend on how much comparable homes in the same area have sold for recently.
A real estate agent should take all that information into consideration and set a reasonable asking price. In some cases, however, an agent tells a homeowner that a house can sell for a high amount to get the owner as a client, but the house lingers on the market because the asking price is too high. It’s also common for a homeowner who is influenced by emotion to insist on setting a price that is unreasonable, given the current real estate market in the area.
If your listing has expired, it’s time for you and your real estate agent to have a frank discussion about whether the asking price was too high. If your agent tells you that other houses selling for the amount you asked are larger than yours, in better condition, or have amenities that yours doesn’t, take that to heart. You may not want to reduce the price, but it may be necessary to attract a buyer.
Does Your House Need Repairs or Updates?
Your agent may recommend that you make repairs or remodel outdated rooms before you relist your home. You may be able to make some fairly simple changes, such as cleaning up the yard, replacing the front door and installing new hardware in the kitchen, or you may have to spend more money to update the kitchen or bathrooms.
What Did Prospective Buyers Say?
If a handful of people expressed interest in your home but decided not to buy it, their feedback may be helpful, especially if there was a consistent theme. If several people said they thought the house was outdated, poorly maintained, or overpriced, that means you will have to address those concerns if you want to find a buyer.
Should You Change Agents?
If your agent overpriced your home, didn’t do a good job of marketing, or didn’t provide a high level of service, you may want to relist your home with a different agent after your contract with the first individual expires. Don’t be too quick to blame your agent, however. Consider other possible reasons why your house didn’t sell.