When a home is on the market for a long time and it still has not sold, a homeowner might legitimately ask his agent, or himself if he is a FSBO (for sale by owner), do I need to reduce my price? Have I overpriced my home?

In my experience, whenever the DOM (days on market) exceed 90 days, and especially when the DOM approaches 200, the first question everyone focuses on is the price. “Oh, it must be priced too high. Let’s drop it and try to get some attention that way.”

An overpriced listing is like death to a serious home seller, but sometimes the reason a home hasn’t sold has nothing to do with the current price. Elsewhere, I’ve written about the danger of overpricing, and that should be a consideration, but there is a huge factor that may be far more important in “getting attention” from prospective buyers.

How well is your home being marketed? Is your marketing plan reaching buyers (wherever they may be) in this price range and for your area and for the floor plan and features of your home? If your marketing is ineffective, the price is not why your home has not sold. It’s because buyers are not even aware of your home.

Anyone who reads my blog articles knows that one of my pet peeves is ineffective marketing of homes. So many FSBO’s and so many practicing real estate agents think that simply putting a house in the MLS and in some local newspaper ads is all there is to this marketing business. Some think they have the secret key, because they’ve placed a few haphazard ads on the Internet. There’s so much more to marketing and placement. There’s so much more to knowing how to reach prospects on the Internet.

Why does a marketing expert like Jay Abraham get paid as much as $1 million dollars to draft one letter for major retailers? Because they can make an extra $200 million dollars in sales. Well, why not save all that money and simply pay a Boeing engineer to write a letter, or a retired sporting goods store owner, or a waitress? Because they don’t know how. Period. It doesn’t matter if they think they know, they don’t. That’s why Jay Abraham can charge so much. Because he produces results.

A homeowner may think they know about marketing. A real estate agent might present themselves as an expert who can sell someones’s home. If they are wrong and don’t know, who pays the price? The homeowner who is stuck with a house that hasn’t sold. A Boeing engineer may be very smart about engineering, a retired sporting goods store owner may have been very successful in his business, and a waitress may be phenomenal, but are they marketing experts in selling their own homes in this market? Probably not. I’m sure they would admit that. [They might say, “I just want to give it a try.” Red flag. Maybe I’ll write about how listings go stale once they’re overpriced, and no one comes back.]

I recently listed an incredible home with an unbelievable view of International waters. It was listed by another agent, but nothing happened for six months. So my client asked me, “Do I need to reduce the price.” My answer was a probing question, “Was your house effectively marketed to your potential buyers?” His answer was a quick, “No.” He knew it wasn’t. My response, “Then we don’t know if we need to reduce the price yet. First we market, then we adjust price if those buyers are telling us the price is too high.”

If you had a home listed at $425,000, but it was not effectively being exposed to prospective buyers, you could drop the price to $400,000, and still you would have no activity, except tire kickers. You could drop the price 6 months later to $387,000, and still you would have no offers. How much money are you willing to lose until you actually sell it to someone who is just looking for a steal. It isn’t always about price.

Selling your home is effective marketing plus a reasonable listing price. Effective marketing is not for the inexperienced. The difference between good marketing and poor marketing is 60 DOM or 324 DOM. It gets even better than that. The house that is on the market for a long time before it sells will also get a lesser price than the same house sold in 60 days with good marketing.

In today’s real estate market, effective marketing is more important than ever. Either you, as the homeowner, must become an expert in marketing in all its facets if you are to sell your home in a reasonable period of time for the highest price, or you should be darn sure your Realtor is a true expert. Do you know how to discern the difference between a Realtor who is and who is not? [Hint: just because their lips are moving doesn’t mean they are saying something that will help you sell your home.]

If you’re selling your home soon, be careful. It’s dangerous out there. There are many Traps for the Unwary, and a poor marketing plan is one of those traps.

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