Real Estate

7 ways to revive a stale listing

Even in the best housing markets and conditions, homes up for sale can sometimes sit longer than expected. If your client’s home isn’t getting the attention you hoped, you can use best practices to revive it and bring in buyers.

What is a stale listing?

A stale listing is a house that’s been on the market for an extended period without an offer, typically three months or longer. Several factors can affect a home’s ability to sell, including things you can’t change such as location and timing, but many factors can be addressed.

How to move a stale listing

A successful real estate agent will use the following strategies to get more eyes on a stale listing.

Run a market analysis

Use a comparative market analysis (CMA) to judge whether the listing is priced fairly or not. If the sale price is too high, discuss lowering it with your client.

Reassess your marketing

Reassess your marketing plan, including all printed and online materials, as well as social media.


Staging a home allows potential buyers to picture themselves living there. There’s an added expense involved when hiring a home stager, but it’s worth the investment to create a more inviting environment.

Updating curb appeal

Little changes to the landscape or some new plants can go a long way to improve the home’s look.

Make needed repairs

It could be that the home needs some repairs. Assess the house for anything that could be holding buyers back, like a leaky roof, driveway damage or old HVAC system. Urge your client to take the necessary steps.

New photography

Most buyers start online, so poor photography could prevent the listing from getting attention. If you didn’t previously, hire a professional photographer to take quality photos and include photos of anything that’s a major selling point.

Rewrite the listing description

Your listing description needs to be clear and engaging. A good listing description helps a buyer imagine themselves living in the home. Go back and read the listing out loud. See if it hits the right notes or needs an update.

Should you repost the listing?

If you end up with a stale listing, you may be thinking about reposting it. Taking a home off the market allows the seller time to address any issues with the home and you to regroup to go over your strategy and pricing.

One thing to keep in mind is that the listing must stay off the market. In many markets, it must be removed for up to 90 days or more. You may be better off refreshing the listing with some low-cost improvements while keeping it on the market.

If you do end up reposting, create new marketing materials and update photos and descriptions. The last thing you want is for people to recognize the home from the previous listing. You could cause potential buyers to view the home as damaged goods or overpriced.

How to tell your client a listing needs to be revived

No doubt, your client is frustrated about having a stale listing. You need the right balance of honesty and tact during your dialogue.

If they’re resistant to the idea, help them understand by providing evidence. Show them comparable listings or provide other cases when updating a listing proved to be the right choice. Work with your client to determine the best course of action, especially if extra expenses are involved.

The bottom line

Dealing with a stale listing is stressful. Collaborate with your client to find the best ways to revive the listing. The extra work you put in will be worth the effort, and your client will appreciate your help.

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