Jul 17, 2020 by - Hana LaRock

How To Arbitrage Accordingly When You Have a Home That Won’t Sell

If you had to ask, most agents would probably say they enjoy working with buyers more than sellers. While buyers can certainly be a handful, sellers, in general, can be extremely tough to work with. This is especially true if they’re not cooperative, strict on the price they want, and/or not willing to make any changes to the home that would make it more appealing to buyers. Aside from this, working with a seller is not usually half as exciting as working with buyers who are looking forward to finding the right home, but that’s beside the point. 

That’s because a seller is still your client, and it’s important to give them the same effort and attention as you would your buyers, no matter what. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it feels discouraging when you can’t sell a home, whether that’s due to your client’s stubbornness, the home itself, or your own marketing setbacks. 

Whatever the case may be, there’s hope. Here’s how to arbitrage accordingly when you have a home (or a seller) that’s just not able to sell. And, if you’re having trouble convincing them, show your client this!

The Four Factors in Selling

Experienced agents may already know this, but either way, it’s a good refresher. In real estate—especially when buying—we often say the three most important factors are, “location, location, location”. While it may seem logical to apply this to a sale, there are actually four factors to consider when selling a home, and understanding these will help you learn how to then arbitrage these factors so that your listing goes under contract.

  1. Location
  2. Condition
  3. Pricing
  4. Marketing

Obviously, location and the condition of the home are much more fixed factors compared to pricing and marketing, which can change based on the location and the condition of the home. But, depending on how flexible your seller is, the condition of the home (to varying degrees) could be changed if the seller is willing to put in the work. And, while location cannot be changed, there will always be a buyer out there for any location. Of course, knowing how to market the home to the right buyer is where you come in. 

Unfortunately, sometimes that’s just not enough.

Where is the Problem?

Now, if you’re not getting anyone out to see the home, then it could be an issue with anyone of these four factors. Perhaps the marketing is great, but the price is just not competitive enough for the condition the home is in. Take some time to really sit down and see why you’re not getting interest in the home. Maybe it has nothing to do with you or the seller or the home; maybe it’s just the market. But, until you do some analyzing and evaluating, you won’t know. And, if you don’t know, you can’t make an attempt to fix the problem.

Now, if people are coming to see the home or they’re at least inquiring about it—but, then not going forward—that should tell you that you’re probably doing an okay job of marketing the listing. But, when they see the home, something is just not doing it for them. Maybe there’s something better out there. There are pieces missing from the puzzle.

Luckily, if you’ve gotten this far, there are some techniques you can try.

“If you are getting people there and they don’t like it, you have to change the condition or the price. Virtual staging may not be enough, you may need to physically stage it. Or reduce the price”, says Dana Possick, broker-owner of Quantum Realty in Woodstock Georgia and a member of Lab Coat Agents.

You could also ask your clients for specific feedback regarding the home. (Though, a good agent should be able to pick up on this right away.) 

At this point, marketing may fix the problem, or it might not. It may be time to go to the seller. 

Arbitraging These Factors to Make It Work

One of the major conflicts that exist between sellers and their listing agents is the inability to reach a common ground. That’s why many listings end up expiring without going under contract, and many listing agents and/or sellers end up frustrated with the results.

Now that you know you’ll need to make a change to one of the factors, that’s exactly what you should do. 

What we mean to say is, just pick one thing to tackle, and see if it changes the level of interest you’re getting in the home. 

A seller may not respond well to you telling them they must change the condition and the price of the home in order to sell. They may also not respond well if you give them a choice between one or the other. So, using your amazing agent skills, choose what you think will be the best approach, first, and ease your client into the idea. If they’re not into it, present the runner up. 

While your client may not take well to either idea (and, may even argue back that you’re marketing is the factor that’s the problem, not the other three) reiterate that you’re doing your best to help them sell their home, and this is one of the ways you can help them gain interest in their home faster. 

Of course, at the same time, it never hurts to check yourself and make sure you are in fact putting your best marketing efforts forth, to begin with. 

Selling a home that’s not easy to sell is never easy, even for the most experienced real estate agents. And, no matter what type of client you’re working with, a seller will never be thrilled about the idea of lowering the price of their home or putting money in to fix it. But, if you can present them with reasons why doing so will serve them well (selling their home quicker, getting much more than their original price-mark just by putting in some investment), they’ll thank you for it later. As always, make sure you have references you can highlight from former clients to demonstrate your credibility. 


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