- Be sure to look at homes that did not sell when analyzing your home and a good price
- Just because your home is listed and on the market doesn’t mean it will sell – you and your agent have to put effort into it
You found a Realtor, moved out of your home, fixed a few odds and ends, and have your home on the market! Next stop? Closing!
Not for 46% of Fort Hood home owners.
These are all homes that sold while listed on the MLS. Most homes that do sell in the area are on the MLS, which is why this information about sales data is so useful, making a savvy Realtor an important asset when selling.
The listing agreement between a seller and their agent is only for a set term – often six months. Once that term is up, if the home hasn’t sold, the seller can either extend the agreement term or let it “expire” on the MLS, at which point is no longer on the market.
- The Listing Agreement: Para. 3, 4 and 5 – Listing Price, Term and Commissions
- 1 Month Listing Agreement
A seller can also withdraw a listing from the MLS before the term expires. Perhaps their circumstances have changed, or they are unhappy with their agent, or they’ve just given up on selling. Perhaps they were not serious about selling, or unrealistic about the market.
It is not uncommon for sellers to list their home for sale and rent simultaneously, willing to work with whoever comes first – renter or buyer (though usually they’d prefer to sell it). Often it is because the seller knows it’s a little overpriced – maybe they are underwater on the loan, but still want to test to see if there is a willing buyer instead of a renter.
Why Wouldn’t a Home Sell?
Incredibly, only 54% of listings in 2015 actually sold (as of this writing, there are still a couple hundred active on the market whose listing began in 2015 – they are not included in the data).
This number may understate things a little. Many homes may appear on this list twice, or even more. Sometimes a home may go on the market, the listing expires (it shows up as an “expired”) and then get put back on the market and then sell during the second or even third or fourth listing agreement.
Additionally, some homes that show as “withdrawn” actually did sell, but the buyer and seller agreed that they didn’t want the final details showing in the MLS.
There are lots of reasons a home wouldn’t sell. Check out my article on some of the biggest mistakes home sellers make.
What Does This Mean To Me?
When pricing your home, it is important to take into account not just homes that did sell, but those that didn’t. Homes that were listed in your neighborhood but withdrawn or expired often can show you what homes are doing wrong. Usually it was because they were overpriced or in poor condition. Look at the pictures of other homes if there are any. Sometimes the reason these homes didn’t sell lurks below the surface – a bad appraisal, title issues, foundation problems, etc. Your agent can even call the previous agents on some of these homes and see what they can find out that will help when pricing your home.
Some of these homes sell after they’ve been withdrawn and/or expired multiple times. Eventually it might sell, but the seller might be losing a lot more than if they had been competitive when they initially listed it. The MLS history does not go away, and future agents will see your home trying and failing to sell when they review your home for their future buyers. It’s best to hit the market like a sledgehammer and get sold right away.
What Does This Mean for Agents?
Good, experienced Realtors may be cautious about taking your business if they don’t think you’re serious and realistic about selling. Just because we get a listing doesn’t mean we are ever going to see a dime for our efforts. Indeed, nearly half of these listings earn Realtors nothing.
For that reason, many agents are likely to keep their costs down to a minimum so they don’t lose too much money on homes that don’t sell and make up for it on those that do. A listing can be expensive – the lock box ($125) and yard sign ($80) alone ain’t chump change.
My own philosophy is to only take serious sellers, and then do everything I can to not be a statistic. It is hard to turn down a listing, but I try to stay disciplined. I want to get listings I know will sell if marketed and priced properly and then put in the effort to make it happen, maximizing the odds that the listing sells and that both I and the seller get to closing. That means money up front and out of my pocket like professional photography and paid advertising, and even managing things like utilities, cleanings and lawn care to ensure the listing shows as well as possible.
Selling your home is a major event and not guaranteed in the current Fort Hood, TX market, even for those who do everything correctly. Don’t become a statistic. Read my Ultimate Fort Hood Home Sellers Guide to learn about the proper techniques for selling your home, including my PACE Strategy.