Expired Listings…What went wrong?

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Expired Listings…What went wrong?


If you are the owner of a home that has been on the market for six months or more, but the listing has expired and it still hasn’t sold, you might be experiencing all sorts of feelings. You have put yourself and your family through months of stress, from trying to keep the house clean and ready for showing at any time to leaving the building during dinner or on weekends to allow potential buyers privacy while looking. You see other homes come on the market and get sold while yours is still sitting there, waiting for a buyer. Maybe you even lost the opportunity to submit an offer on a new home you loved because you were still waiting for your present house to sell. Even worse, perhaps you have already started new construction or moved into a new home and are now burdened with two mortgage payments!

According to data obtained from the Bryan/College Station Association of Realtors, in the Bryan and College Station market area there are already 228 residential listings that have expired and not sold since January 1, 2008. They range in price from $19,900 to $1.2 million. The average expired listing home is 2,095 square feet and was at an asking price of $221,181 when the listing expired.

Most active real estate agents experience an expired listing every now and then. It isn’t something we like, but it happens often enough that it becomes just a normal part of the business. But because sellers move so infrequently, when your home doesn’t sell it is a REALLY BIG DEAL to YOU!

You might be asking yourself, “What’s wrong with my house? Why hasn’t it sold?!?” There are several reasons why a house doesn’t sell. Some of them are price, condition, marketing, accessibility for showing, and the time of year they are listed.

Almost any home can be sold, given the right price. If your home was priced too high, buyers and their agents either looked at your home and then bought something comparable for a lower price or they didn’t look at your home at all. The price isn’t a reflection of what you or your agent think your home is worth. The price is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay a seller in an arm’s length transaction. The buyer should have good information about the neighborhood, other comparable listings or sales, the condition of the home, and other facts that may affect their decision.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what a seller thinks their house is worth if there isn’t a buyer who is willing to pay that much. If you insisted on that price against the advice of your listing agent, or if you interviewed potential listing agents and chose the one that suggested the highest listing price, then the listing was doomed from the start. Your home also should not be priced based on what you “need to get out of it” to satisfy a mortgage loan or to make another purchase. The price should be based on the home’s condition and the current market situation.

If you feel that price was the reason your home did not sell, I can provide a complete market analysis to determine where that price should be. Call me at 979-571-3553 to schedule your appointment.

Speaking of condition, the condition of a property affects not only the price, but also whether it will be shown by other agents. If a home is in average or poor condition, aggressive pricing and marketing is necessary to generate interest in the home. The problem of a home not selling because of condition can be overcome. There are only two ways to do that. You can either improve the condition or you can lower the price to compensate a buyer for the reduced value and the time and money it will take to correct those problems. There are no other choices in this matter.

I can walk through your house with you and suggest opportunities to improve its condition. Some of those suggestions could cost little to nothing. I can also arrange a complete home inspection that will give you a written report of improvements that can be made to improve your home’s condition and limit negotiations for repairs or concessions once under contract.

If your home is priced correctly and is in good condition, buyers need to know about it. That is where marketing comes in. Each office and agent does their own marketing. Some are completely independent offices. Many are franchises that are affiliated with nationally-recognized name brands. Each one should have a marketing plan that gets information about your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible. Effective marketing gets your property shown to buyers. It is all a numbers game. The more eyes that see your property, either through marketing media or in person because of that marketing, the greater will be your chance to sell. Like the Scriptures say, don’t let your home be like the “light under a bushel”. Instead, you want your agent and office to make your home the light on a hilltop that can be seen by everyone for miles.

Make sure that your next agent uses the latest in marketing tools and techniques to expose your home to as many buyers as possible. Century 21 Beal and the Century 21 system have those tools and techniques. I would love to tell you about them in person.

How easy was it for potential buyers to see your home? Obviously, you want some sort of notice when someone is going to be in your house. Homes that sell the easiest are usually available at a moment’s notice. A few hours’ notice is usually appropriate and all that most sellers will need. When a seller requires an appointment 24 hours or more in advance, or when there is no lockbox and the home must be shown by the listing agent only or only when the seller is present, that severely limits the number of showings you will have.

Sometimes our buyers are only in town for the day or for the weekend. I often review active listings in the office one more time before going out to show just to make sure my buyers don’t miss seeing something that they would want. If you require 24 hours notice before showing and my buyer has to leave town that night, we aren’t going to get to see your home.

Sometimes showing conditions are unavoidable, such as when someone is sick or if a seller works nights and sleeps days. However, making a home as easy to show as possible will usually increase the showing activity.

Finally, the time your home is on the market can be important. The Bryan and College Station market can be quite cyclical for a variety of reasons.

In the early part of the year, buyers are just starting to think about moving, but not quite yet. They may be recovering from holiday bills and traveling or waiting for an IRS refund to help with down payment or closing costs.

The weather can also be a factor. Wintertime can cause buyers to want to stay inside, but because most buyers start their real estate search online, this is still a great time to have your home on the market.

Early and late spring provides good weather for being outside and looking at houses. It is also when college students will look for something to buy because they want to have that taken care of before they leave town for the summer. Summer is also when school is out and when many people choose to move in order to provide minimal disruption to their kids’ lives and routines.

Fall is often when buyers start to slow down their activity. The kids are in school, weather is turning colder and days are getting shorter, and the holiday season isn’t usually when most families want to go through the hassle of moving. There are still buyers out there, but you usually have to be more aggressive with price and marketing in order to stand out above the crowd.

If you are still unsure which of these factors are responsible for your home not selling, call my cell number at 979-571-3553 or send an email to [email protected] and ask for an appointment. I can meet with you at your home where we can discuss all the factors that might have kept your home from selling. We can then come up with a marketing plan to get your home sold in the shortest possible time and for the highest possible dollar. Call today!

Jason Johnston

Realtor, GRI, e-PRO



  1. SteveSantos says:

    Well said Jason.

    Steve Santos

  2. Susan Hilton says:

    Jason – very impressive post with useful information. Glad to have you on the blog!