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9 Ways to heat a freezing-cold listing this winter

What happens when snow isn't fresh? It loses its appeal. It's the same with listings, Coach Darryl Davis writes, so here's how to warm up your listings to keep them fresh.

As winter rolls through with alarming bluster in many areas, a lot of you are trying hard to put a little spring back in stale listings that aren’t moving. We get it. While a little time on the market is good for you — a listing that just sits without activity or offers looks a little like week-old snow that’s turned to slush. It loses its magic.

What happens when once-pristine snow turns to slush and gets dirty from the plows and foot traffic? It loses its appeal and becomes something people want to clear away rather than admire and even play in. In the same way, a property listing that sits too long can start to feel like slush.

Potential buyers may see it as problematic, leading them to lose interest or lower their offers. This is why it’s often wise to adjust the price of a stale listing.

Setting the price at, or even slightly below, fair market value can spark renewed interest, much like the first fresh snowfall rejuvenates a winter landscape. This strategy can turn a lackluster listing into a hot commodity, attracting multiple offers and giving your seller the advantage of negotiating from a position of strength.

So, if you find yourself in a “slush” situation — here are nine things you can do to warm up your listings, profile, and results.

1. Drop the price

One thing I tell my students is that it’s not your job to decide; it’s your job to lay out all the options and coach people to make good decisions. I love metaphors and analogies for helping people connect their options to real-world situations. That’s why I would use the stale bread analogy and explain, as I just did, what happens to bread that gets stale in the grocery store (they have to lower the price to sell it).

You can also explain that the longer a house sits on the market, especially when inventory is still relatively low, the more people start to question what is wrong with it, and that question will translate into fewer offers and less money.

2. Swap out the pictures with better ones

I’m a fanatic about listing photos, and find it mind-boggling how little effort some agents put into this key part of the listing. We live in a world where almost everything is searched online first. I’ve seen listings with six photos of the outside of the house and not one of the interior.

Take photos of every room and label them (front bedroom, dining room, etc.) before uploading them to the MLS. If possible, get a professional to take the photos — especially over a certain price point where buyers expect higher quality. A tool like BoxBrownie can enhance your images or virtual stage when necessary.

3. Add a floorplan

I love the idea of putting a floor plan in every listing. Did you know that sources say a floorplan can increase the click-through on your online listing by over 50 percent? Again, we recommend BoxBrownie for making this one important component super easy. This one little addition helps buyers plot and plan how they can make a space their own with way more ease, making your listing more attractive because you help take the guesswork out of the space.

4. Consider asking the homeowners to add seller incentives

In a competitive market, seller incentives such as closing cost assistance, mortgage buy down, flexible occupancy date, or home warranty would certainly make your listing a little “sweeter” of a deal to catch the eye of more buyers.

5. Don’t be skimpy with your descriptions

We had a wonderful writer do two powerful trainings for our coaching members, all about the importance of writing captivating property descriptions. You’ll probably note the name Christy Murdock, as she’s a valued contributor here on Inman. She’s a master at helping agents…

  • Lead with the wow factor copy!

  • Weave powerful stories into descriptions that compel buyers to say, “That’s the house I want to see.”

  • Spellcheck (please!), and use Grammarly to assess grammar use, or have someone with a keen eye review your descriptions before you “submit” on that listing.

  • Always use a CTA (Call to Action) to invite action. Examples: “Call for a Tour!” “Join us for our Open House.”

6. Use the feedback to improve the listing

If you’re getting showings but no offers, chances are that you are getting at least some feedback from the buyers and their agents about the root of the problem. Dig in and discover what people are saying so that you can adjust your listing accordingly to account for what buyers are saying.

7. Host open houses, catering to different groups

I’ve always been a fan of the open house, but more now than ever. I prefer agents do a “Neighborhood Open House” first to get the looky-loo neighbors out of the way. By doing this, you not only help separate lookers from buyers, but you have a chance to offer all those nice people a “Neighborhood Market Report,” which is a fancy, family-friendly way of saying CMA, which could lead to more listings for you.

Next, host an open house (or two, or three) for buyers, and even once specifically for brokers.

8. Alert agents who specialize in the price range of your listing

If you know agents in your market who have repeatedly sold in your price range before, call them up. Share the details of your listing, let them know what makes it special, and ask if they know any buyers who might be interested.

9. Take advantage of social media’s reach

Turn to social media for a powerful tool to refresh a stale listing. Post high-quality pictures and a detailed description of the property, along with a clever, creative caption, so it can stand apart from the usual bland listings you see. Also, consider boosting the listing to target potential users.

Reviving a slushy listing this winter season might seem challenging at first, but with these tips, it is entirely possible. With a few minor adjustments in the pricing, ensuring your photographs depict the home in the best possible way, and updating and improving the descriptions, your real estate listing will be warmed up in no time.

By: Darryl Davis

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