Listing Gone Stale? 6 Ways to Land a Home Sale

We've all seen homes for sale that linger on the market until the owners give up, only to list again. That can be a great marketing strategy, if you make changes.

When a home for sale sits on the market for 90 days or more, it's time to take a closer look at the pricing, marketing, condition or any combination thereof. Some agents say that you shouldn't even wait that long to reposition.

"If a seller hasn't had buyers walk through their doors in 30 to 45 days, they need to lower their list price," says Pat Lashinsky, CEO of ZipRealty, a home listing service. "If the home hasn't sold in six months, the asking price is off and the condition of the home may not be in the place it needs to be to attract buyers, and it's time to take it off the market."

Re-listing the home is a way that sellers can say goodbye to stale and hello to home sale. Here are six ways to land a home sale, whether you're a new or repeat listing:

1. Drop the price.

In its first days on the market, a five-bedroom split-entry rambler at 1900 Cape Cod Place in Minnetonka, Minn. was listed for $429,900 and a few weeks later dropped to $409,900.

"Often we tell people it won't sell at the price they want and people say 'I can't sell it for less because this is what I owe on my mortgage,'" says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. The best price for your home sale is what buyers are willing to pay. So don't hesitate to undercut the competitor's price to get the sale. If you drop the price to a realistic number you might get an offer without another price reduction.

2. Take the offer.

If a purchase offer comes in after the first week, do what you can to close the deal. That's what the owners of the Minnetonka 2,564-square-footer on a cul-de-sac are wishing they had done. They received a "low-ball offer" for $389,000 and shooed away the buyers. Two years later and no home sale, the sellers dropped the price, three more times, down to its latest list price of $369,900.

"Sellers should be more flexible and think about the long term," says Scott Sambucci, CEO of Altos Research. "If market conditions worsen, today's low offer might end up being a price they wished they would have taken six months down the road."

3. Price like a search engine.

Price properties on the round number, such as in $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 increments, says Atlanta real estate agent Rhonda Duffy. That way home buyers searching from $250,000 to $300,000 can pull them up as well as those searching from $300,000 to $350,000. No one has ever started a search with $299,900 to $399,900.

4. Highlight buyers' wants.

"Sellers need to understand what buyers are looking for in a home, and market the home appropriately," says Lashinky, whose company offers sellers a free feature called Buyer Buzz that has agents weigh in with feedback on how to better market their home. "We found that nearly half of all buyers view 'green' home features to be a priority," he says, "while only 1 percent of all listings market energy efficient appliances, green insulation or solar paneling."

"What does also work is offering a home warranty program to eliminate buyers' risk and natural fears that they're buying a lemon," says Lashinsky.

5. Shoot new pictures.

When you're re-listing, take the opportunity to swap in some new Internet pictures. Buyers don't want to see snow-covered driveways in July. And if the rear of your house on a pond is more beautiful than the view from your front curb, maybe you should lead with the former. Changing up your photos keeps the listing fresh and might attract a buyer who looked past your home the first time -- but only if the photos look good. "It pays to hire a professional photographer," says Kelman.

6. Stage anew.

High quality photos are wasted on messy rooms. Even if it was spotless at the time you first listed, there's a chance you've grown tired of hiding that laundry basket and cleaning the toilet daily. Your furniture might need some rearranging as well. Spruce up the room and consider hiring a professional stager. Unfortunately, buyers can't see past the clutter, and sometimes neither can you.

"The house itself is the most important element" for a home sale, says Kelman. "It's postcard marketing,"

Want more great advice on selling your home? Here are some AOL Real EstateSelling Guides to help you no matter whether you choose to buy or rent:

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