Just because a home hasn’t sold doesn’t mean that the Realtor is doing a bad job.

But, if your home is lingering on the market, it’s imperative to know why.

Here are four signs that the problem may not be your home, but your Realtor.

One. Mediocrity (or worse).

Fortunately, egregious Realtor ineptitude is usually easy to spot.

Examples include omitting or misstating key information about your home on the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS“) database or marketing materials; lack of familiarity with the contracts you’ve been asked to sign; having zero social media skills (ask them what criteria they use to “boost” a listing on Facebook); and/or thinking a “Broker Tour” is when area real estate brokers give office tours (it’s when Realtors hold new listings open for the benefit of their colleagues ” at least in the Twin Cities, each Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Not as obvious, but just as harmful, is when your Realtor fails to showcase your home’s best selling points ” in which case, other Realtors and the public are likely to miss them, too.

Even in today’s Seller’s market, if a home isn’t shown off to maximum effect ” online, inside, and from the curb ” it’s likely to stay on the market longer, fetch a lower sales price . . . or both.

Two. Underperforming the competition.

Market time varies directly with price point (the higher the price, the longer the expected market time).

However, that doesn’t explain why the 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Colonial down the block sold in three weeks, while yours has been on the market for four months (and counting).

If seemingly inferior homes are selling while yours sits, your Realtor should have a ready explanation.

Sometimes, a nearby home that appears less impressive on paper in fact has a remodeled kitchen, a superior floor plan, etc.

Or, your home may have one or more warts that, after years (decades?) living in it, you either take for granted or can’t see anymore.

Three. Poor or no feedback from prospective Buyers.

As I like to tell clients, the best feedback any home seller can receive is a full-price, non-contingent offer from a financially qualified Buyer (even better: several of them!).

However, in the meantime, a proactive Realtor will elicit and make the most of feedback from non-Buyers.

If prospects are balking because the mechanicals are old, savvy sellers may want to consider buying a home warranty (or, if the asking price warrants it, replacing an ancient furnace, water heater, etc.)

If Buyers are turned off by old paint or carpeting, cosmetic updated may be in order.

If the curb appeal is a turn-off, flattering interior shots ” and lots of them ” can help compensate.

If you don’t know what Buyers’ objections are, however, you can’t counter them.

Even if the problems cannot be easily remedied, it is important for Sellers to know so that their asking price can be discounted appropriately.

Four. Inattention.

It is never a good sign when your Realtor takes days to respond to you (or doesn’t respond at all). Even a Realtor in the middle of multiple deals will find a way to fire off a quick text message or leave a voice mail — if only to say they’re tied up, and will respond more fully later.

But, what if your Realtor is guilty of none of these sins?

On the contrary, what if they continue to aggressively market your home to fellow Realtors and the public, hold open houses, refresh the marketing materials, track nearby activity for trends and developments, etc.

As a famous Roman once put it (according to Shakespeare): “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

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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