One of my pet peeves is the notion of “bad listings”. I’ve heard agents talk about certain properties being bad listings, either because the home was not pristine, or because they assumed it was over-priced. I believe that the majority of those comments are simply sour grapes, because the agent lost the listing.
Maybe I’m wrong. If you are reading this and you think you have a bad listing, please feel free to refer it to me immediately. You see, I don’t think there are any bad listings, just bad agents. I’ll tell you why.
Listings are only considered bad because they are difficult to sell. After all, we get paid to sell homes, and not to simply list them. So let’s explore some of the typical hard-to-sell scenarios and see if they are really bad listings.
The “dog house” listing. You know what I mean — the listing that looks like a bomb went off inside. No maintenance for years. Pet stains and odors. Outdated. Landscaping is a wreck. The seller won’t pick up his junk so it looks like it’s in shambles. Many times the owner doesn’t want to do any repairs prior to selling, or it might even be tenant occupied (one of my personal favorites). Is this a bad listing? No!
The “over-priced” listing. This one is generally the polar opposite of the dog house listing. This is one of those sellers who has the best looking home on the block, and so he mistakenly believes that translates into a higher sale price. Maybe he’s spent lots of money on upgrades, a swimming pool, an in-ground hot tub, landscaping, an out building, and so on. He naturally assumes that since the money was spent on his home, it is a good investment. So he insists on pricing the home outside the reasonable range of value. Is this a bad listing? No!
The “invisible” listing. This one is essentially unavailable for showing. Maybe it’s tenant occupied, and maybe it’s a client who never seems to be available to show the home. Maybe they refuse a lockbox. Often invisible listings are what we consider to be un-motivated sellers. Maybe it’s just difficult to find. So does this make it a bad listing? No!
I think you’ll agree that almost all of what we call “bad listings” fall into one or more of those categories. Now let me explain why you should still want them, and why you should still take them. Here are just four good reasons. Feel free to add more in your comments.
- Market presence. Your sign in the yard tells all the neighbors, and those driving by, who you are. You are branding yourself in that area. It’s like geographic farming only free and much easier.
- Leads. I’ve taken thousands of calls — sign calls, home magazine calls, and website calls and inquiries from the worst possible listings. Often those over-priced homes that look so awesome attract hundreds of calls from other buyers who may never consider buying that listing. And leads are extremely valuable. Ask an agent that has none.
- Reality Check. Many times, after the home sits on the market for an extended period, the unrealistic seller gets a reality check. There’s nothing like the passage of time and buyers staying away in droves to get their attention. Once you have the seller’s undivided attention, he may very well take your advice and change a few things, making it easier to sell. If you had passed on the listing, where would you be when he came to his senses and really wanted to sell?
- Bad Listings Sell. This is my favorite reason. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve had some of the nicest listings sit on the market forever, and some of the worst sell immediately. Go figure. There’s one thing I’ve noticed: When you look at the HUD-1s, they all look the same. I especially like the top line on page 2. How about you?
Let me sum it up. I’ll take every single opportunity to list a home. I realize that some will be easier to sell than others. Some may never sell. But with the right approach, most will eventually sell, and I’ll get paid. That’s why I don’t think there are any bad listings. And that’s my quick answer. (By the way, you might want to read about my approach on my blog. I’ve used this approach to list 119 homes in a single year, all at 8% or more in a market that is 6% and less.)