Yes, it IS a seller’s market – up to a point.  BUT, there can be many reasons why a home isn’t selling.

What agents can do: 

  1. Be proactive. Agents need to be on point and truly help sellers.   Sellers depend on their agent.  They look to the person or team that listed the house to get it sold at the best possible price.  In a perfect world, that means that a client will trust their agent/team to make whatever level of activity that is needed to get the sale done.

The most important thing that agents can do is – communicate.  Communicate on a regular basis, at least weekly, and let the seller know what’s going on.  Silence breeds anxiety.

Don’t wait for the seller to call you and ask why there is no activity.  If the agent takes the initiative and makes the call, the anxiety level goes down and the trust level goes up.  

  1. Create proper expectations. Part of being proactive is to put facts in front of sellers.  Most people sell a home every 10-15 years, so they don’t have the same perspective we do as Realtors.  They are also going to get information from friends and family that is based on what they hear and see on television and in other media.

As an agent, you need to give them accurate information about the market so they can have a realistic viewpoint.  It’s important to point out any issues with the home, and try to get the seller to understand that any flaws in the home or in the price may create issues.

You need to be politely candid and share concerns with the sellers about the potential issues relative to the condition of the home –color, possible need for TLC/repairs, their desired listing price- whatever you see as possible bars to sale.  It’s important to communicate clearly.  Let them know what you can and cannot control and encourage them to focus on what you can actually do.

  1. Make a point of showing information on activity. Go over your showings record and share sales statistics with the seller.   It’s especially important to give the seller some perspective on current market trends, especially with the situation with similar properties and activity with the neighborhood or area in which the listing is located.

It’s always a good idea to report any negative comments from prospective buyers that relate to why the home isn’t selling.  If you pointed out some issues prior to listing that need to be revisited, share the feedback from prospective buyers and you can address them without too much drama.

“I told you so” is not a good way to deal with those issues.  Instead, just gently remind the seller that the issue or issues that visitors mentioned were ones previously discussed that needed attention.

  1. Plan ahead and include the seller on possible strategies and activities. Part of setting realistic expectations is to discuss PRIOR TO LISTING, what your game plan is, especially if the home doesn’t sell right away.

If you have been communicating all along with the seller, the strategies that you have already shared – lowering the price, making repairs, repainting, or any others – will be easier for the seller to understand.   Having done that will also reduce friction – frustrated calls or upset reactions will be held to a minimum.

The Bottom Line

The sellers may not have wanted to remedy any flaws or lower the price before listing BUT they know that you addressed the issues.  They will almost certainly recognize that you made a good faith effort from the beginning and also discussed the “what can we do if the house doesn’t sell quickly” issue.

Communication makes it easier for the seller to trust that you have done your job.   Having a working process with sellers based on friendly but clear communication before during and after listing will make your life easier.   It will also make the seller’s life less stressful.