Secret: There is no magical marketing plan, idea, campaign, or video that will get an overpriced, tough to sell listing sold! Stop looking for a miracle and sharpen your skills. The object is to be the listing agent at the time it sells.

First, review the facts of the subject property and the seller’s situation.

  1. Do a new CMA. You now know the house better and you’ve had feedback. Since you’ve been listed, there have been new sales, new pending sales, and new active listings to compete with. Pretend it’s a new listing. Where would you price it TODAY?

Consider the following:

  • Absorption rate
  • Days on Market
  • List to sell price ratio
  • Trends
  • Number of homes you’re competing against.


  1. Review the seller’s motivation. Why are they moving? Are they a have to move seller or just a want to move seller? Where are they going when it sells? Have they already moved out? Remember, their motivation may have changed since you first listed the home.

Note to self: If they’re buying with you and they don’t have a good feel for where they’ll be moving, this could be the issue. Why would they give you a better price if they don’t know where they’d move to?

SolutionTake them out for a long afternoon or even a full day to actually see what their options are. They need to fall in love with what’s next, so that they can let go of what’s current.

Secret: Sometimes new construction is the answer. Be sure you know what’s being built where and at what price points. Learn the builder incentives. This may require you to go out for a day and investigate the options.

  1. Is keeping the home an option for your seller? Might they lease it? Always say YES to leasing it. You also may advertise it for lease and sale at the same time and decide what to do based on which happens first.

Secret: Once you actually discuss the reality of them being a landlord, the amount it will probably lease for, and what their net will be, they may change their mind about leasing it. Know how to research lease pricing if haven’t already.

  1. Set up the “Reality Tour” for yourself and your seller. Do your research first so that you know what you’re going to show and how it impacts the subject property. Then, actually take your seller(s) out on a showing trip where you’ll see what they’re competing against as well as what’s currently pending. Don’t over coach them. Show the properties and ask what their thoughts are.
  1. Discuss with the seller that, “taking it off and trying again next quarter/year/ season,” isn’t always the best plan. When do they have the most competition? Usually it will be in the Spring. Many tough to sell listings will sell 4th quarter or 1st quarter when there’s less competition. Relocating executives usually move during these quarters.
  1. Ask if their plan is to just re-list with someone new. What is the first thing a new agent is going to ask them to do? They will ask for a new price of course! Why lose valuable marketing time with re-staging, new photos, new videos, and new media when you can do this for them now?
  1. Review and use the NAR price reduction script: “According to NAR, if after two weeks or ten showings, you don’t have a workable offer… you are missing the market regarding price. It’s time to reposition the property to more accurately reflect the expectations of the buyers currently looking.”
  1. When you get your price adjustment, get an extension to your listing agreement at the same time. It’s easier to do all of that document signing at once rather than having to have a second tough conversation!
  1. Correct all negative feedback! You may need to assist your homeowner in actually getting this done. Find service providers who agree to be paid out of proceeds at closing if the seller can’t afford repairs. Otherwise reduce the price to reflect the condition. This is usually lower than you think.
  1. Share what your new marketing plan is with your seller once the price has been improved and the listing has been extended. Also share any negative feedback remedied. They absolutely will expect this from you. 

Consider adding the following to your plan:

  • Call all previous showing agents and alert them to the improved price as well as any improved condition items. If their buyer hasn’t bought yet, get them to come back and take a new look at your listing.
  • Announce the price improvement via your MLS digital flyer system.
  • New open house(s). Consider holiday open houses, charity open houses, etc.
  • New social media, including videos, etc.
  • New or better staging and de-cluttering.
  • New pictures, especially if the last ones are seasonal.
  • New bomb bomb video to your database highlighting the home as well as to previous showing agents.
  • Use your color home brochures in the signpost out front.

Secret: Be sure that you tell the seller everything you’re doing for them, as you do it. Don’t assume they believe you’re following your plan. You have to show them what you’re doing.

Note to selfDon’t ever let a hard to sell listing (or a batch of them) ruin your listing mindset. It’s your JOB to be good at everything discussed above. It’s your JOB to be the best at pricing as well as the best at setting your seller’s expectations. More days on the market allows you to build inventory, which leads to self-generation, helping more people buy and sell with greater profitability, so keep your listing mindset clear and positive.

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