Financial, Psychological Toll

OK, so there’s no actual weight or carrying involved (unlike furniture moving, which I once did).

But, veteran Realtors know — and newbie’s will find out — that it’s burdensome to represent homes that linger on the market.

While median-priced Twin Cities homes (now around $265k) are still selling (too?) quickly, the expected market time for more expensive homes can still be several months.

Of course, if the “For Sale” home isn’t well-priced, prepped, and marketed, the expected market time could be very well be . . . infinite.

Languishing Listings

To be sure, an unsold home weighs most heavily on the frustrated would-be Seller.

After all, they’re the ones who must pay the mortgage, maintain the property, prep for showings, etc.

However, conscientious Realtors — i.e., those who are serious about selling the home, vs. simply using it to attract Buyers who can be sold another home — experience the burden of a languishing “For Sale” home two ways:

One. Ongoing time and financial commitment.

Until a home sells, it’s incumbent upon the listing agent to keep the home in front of Buyers (and their agents).

That means regularly refreshing the marketing verbiage on MLS; updating the photography (no green or brown lawns in February — especially this February); regularly plugging the house at agent meetings and on social media; updating printed marketing materials (yes, agents still provide those — mostly for Buyers viewing the home); debriefing Buyers’ agents after showings; and hosting weekend open houses at regular intervals.

Last but certainly not least: regularly apprising the owner of all of the above.

Frustration Factor

When all those efforts come to naught, month after month, it can take a psychological toll on agents and homeowners alike (Burden #2).

In a word, it’s demoralizing.

While sales professionals have various coping strategies — mine is to sell lots of OTHER houses — they must continually guard against frustration and negativity associated with a laggard listing spilling over to other clients, both current and prospective.

All of which is why it’s critical for listing agents to qualify potential Sellers’ motivation (or lack thereof) from the get-go . . .

See also, “Realtor Prayer 2019“; “What is a “Cooperative Client?” — Home Seller Edition“; Is it Possible to Hold TOO MANY Sunday Open Houses?“; “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Listing” ” True or False?”; “Staging Malfunctions, or, Seller Cold Feet“; and “Just Tell “Em to Make an Offer”: Why Buyers Don’t Write Offers on Overpriced Homes (at least in Minnesota).”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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