What should you do after your listing expires?

Homeowners are unlikely to enjoy playing the waiting game when they put their home on the market. After a number of open houses and showings go by with no offers, they'll start to worry if a buyer will ever materialize.

It can be even more disheartening if the listing expires. If this situation occurs, you'll want to start thinking about why your home didn't attract any interest. It's also a good time to consider finding a different real estate agent to represent you.

When you work with a listing agent, you'll sign a contract giving them the exclusive right to try to sell your property. Jeanne Sager, writing for the National Association of Realtors, says this agreement is usually good for a period of six months to one year.

The listing expires when you reach the date stipulated in the contract. If the home has gone under contract by the time of the expiration, you'll still need to work with the listing agent to complete the transaction. But if you haven't accepted an offer by this time, your home will be removed from the multiple listing service and the exclusive relationship will be severed.

At this point, you'll want to assess why your home didn't sell. Elizabeth Weintraub, writing for the budgeting site The Balance, says you can discuss potential issues with your listing agent to see if they suspect any particular flaw.

The price might be a particularly contentious point. Sellers often overprice their homes, either in hopes of finding a buyer willing to meet this sum or because they believe their property is worth more than it really is. Kyle Hiscock, a real estate agent in Rochester, N.Y., says buyers are typically deterred by excessive pricing while homes with fair prices will sell more quickly.

Your home may have languished on the market if competition was particularly heavy. When there are many homes available for purchase, buyers will have more choice and are more likely to cross certain properties off their list. You may want to try listing your home during a less competitive season, or offer more incentives to help the property stand out to buyers.

Buyer feedback received at open houses and showings can be an invaluable resource for determining why your home didn't sell. Weintraub says these remarks can help you identify issues that will make a buyer less likely to make an offer.

The condition of the home might be deterring buyers who are looking for a property in more of a move-in ready condition. You might need to complete some repairs or upgrades, or lower your asking price to account for the cost the buyer will incur to complete this work. Buyer feedback may also identify issues that are easier to remedy, such as unpleasant odors or excessive clutter.

Review the marketing for your home as well. Virtual tours, advertisements, social media, and other methods can all help to make buyers more aware of the property. If the home was insufficiently marketed, some buyers may not have even been aware at the property was available.

The marketing plan is one way you can assess whether your agent did a sufficient job of representing your property. Hiscock says you should consider how you decided on the agent and whether they were a good fit for promoting your home. He suggests that even if you are willing to use the same agent when re-listing your home, you should interview other candidates to see if one might be able to represent you better.

Once the listing expires, you have the option of finding a new agent to represent you. Sager says you can change agents without penalty at this point. Whether you stay with the same agent or go with a new one, you'll need to relist the property on the MLS to put it back up for sale.

Finding a new agent will involve plenty of research. Bill and Nora Leeder, real estate agents in Tahoe City, Calif., says you can look for referrals from family members, friends, or even local businesses. Interview potential agents to assess their experience, and ask them how they would market your property. You should be comfortable with the agent and the way they work.

Several agents may approach you after a listing expires. Mary Pope-Handy, a real estate agent in Los Gatos, Calif., says listing agents are often on the lookout for expired listings since the seller is often in the market for new representation. They can also make contact if you and your agent decide to cancel a listing, since this also terminates the agent's exclusive representation. You can expect them to contact via phone or e-mail, or even stop by your home to introduce themselves.

Naturally, some sellers are irritated by this flurry of attention after the listing expires. Weintraub says you can ask your agent to remove your contact information from the MLS before the listing expires.

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