Intro – Why Expireds Aren’t Selling

Have you ever heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door?” Even though the saying might appear to be correct – at least on the surface – it’s false. Over 4,400 people have invented what they thought was a better mousetrap. At least that is how many patents have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office.

But despite all of the new mousetrap inventions, the classic mousetrap (first patented in 1894) is still the best selling design. I’m sure each one of those inventors are frustrated. “Why won’t anyone buy my mousetrap? It’s genius!” they say to themselves. They’re frustrated, no doubt.

Expired Listings can relate to their frustration. One cannot throw a great product out on the street and expect people to gobble it up. This rule applies to inventions, homes, and even movies. Yes, even great movies need to be sold. Here is an example of a great movie that didn’t do well when it was first released.

On Sept. 23, 1994, the movie, The Shawshank Redemption was released to the world. Adapted from a short story from legendary author Stephen King, the feature film centered on a pair of imprisoned men. The film, based in a prison but built on the idea of friendship and of hope and of dreams, was nominated for seven Oscars and won more than a dozen awards. The film was immediately a critic’s favorite. Twenty years later, The Shawshank Redemption is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

In fact, on respected website Internet Movie Database (, it is ranked as the best movie in cinema history, ahead of the likes of The Godfather, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Schindler’s List. Another action movie came out that year. The Flintstones, a live-action remake of the 1960s cartoon, starred John Goodman and Rick Moranis.

It, perhaps needless to say, was not nominated for Best Film at the Oscars. “It falls flatter than a granite slab,” noted a national film critic. Though the film was praised for its costume and set design, it also won “Razzie Awards” for Worst Female Performance and Worst Screenplay and a nominee for Worst Movie of 1994. Its user reviews are roughly half that of The Shawshank Redemption and is rated by users as one of the worst movie of the 1990s.

 The true power of targeted marketing. The Flintstones, behind a team of salespeople, masterfully marketed the film to its targeted demographics. The film grossed $131 million in the U.S. and $358 million worldwide. The people at Universal Studios, who promoted The Shawshank Redemption, admitted they couldn’t figure out how to sell the movie to the public. They had a great product, but they didn’t know how to sell it. It grossed $28 million in the U.S. box office and $60 million worldwide.  It ranked 51st in box office success in 1994 – two spots behind In the Army Now starring Pauly Shore. Look at those numbers, then look at them again. Still don’t believe good marketing and salesmanship doesn’t matter?

The folks at Universal learned their lesson. Even the best products need to be “sold”. Is your home a great product that wasn’t marketed properly? Selling a home for top dollar fast is actually pretty simple. You just have to find the one person who is willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. If they want it more than anyone else, then they will be willing to pay a higher price than anyone else.

 To achieve that, we’re going to take a look at the most commonly encountered reasons for unsuccessful listings:
  1. Price
  2. Condition
  3. Presentation (showing but no offers)
  4. No Showings (not enough)
  5. The Market
  6. Location
  7. Marketing
  8. Your agent

#1. Price

It seems obvious, but price is one of the key points. Listing at the right price works like a magnet. It attracts customers. But a low price can be disastrous. A lower price can have many negative consequences.

A low-end price is considered suspicious, and people may think you want to hide some serious problems. This results in potential buyers paying more attention and becoming very suspicious too. People will try to negotiate the final price. This means the asking price could be greatly reduced and they will lose more money than expected.

#2. Condition

Condition mainly has to do with appearances. It’s the first thing that captures the eye of any potential buyer. Make sure the air stays fresh, and the lighting reveals the best features and unique qualities that make the house special. Even outside, in the garden, you need to have everything in order and arranged accordingly. Any modification, repairs, etc. are to be done before putting the house on sale. Often, you need get the owner to consider major changes in the bathroom. An old bathroom, or old tiles in the bathroom or any other unpleasant detail might drive buyers away. So, make sure it’s in perfect shape.

#3. Presentation

First impressions are critical moments and can make or break a sale. You want to attract buyers and the biggest attraction is well presented property. You will be competing with numerous properties all with different advantages and challenges. You must make sure the house appears in a very good light, and produces an impression of “I want to have it now.” Presentation does make a huge difference.

#4. Not Enough Showings

People today make purchases based on what they see online. They check ads, pictures, prices, do a lot of comparisons and only later they decide to call for a few of them. But showings still are what will seal the deal. If the houses’ ads and online presence aren’t creating enough showings, this makes the house that much harder to get sold.

#5. The Market

The market can change anytime. It is influenced by several factors such as:
The national economy. If people are concerned about what the future may bring, they don’t spend money and the real estate prices drop lower and lower.

The local economy. If the town/city, where the house is on sale, is in a good economic season, it has important some universities, having several consistent job opportunities, good schools in multiple places and a sound infrastructure, then it’s a perfect opportunity for a higher selling price.

If you are selling an expensive house, you can advertise in niche publications that target doctors, lawyers and other well-paid professionals. If you are selling a single-story ranch house, you can market it in publications servicing senior citizens appreciating the style.

Buyers are attracted to properties by seeing themselves living in the space. So features like big flat screens and new comfortable furniture are worthwhile investments. And you get to take those new items with you when you move.

#6. Marketing

This is the most important reason homes don’t sell. We touched on this at the start of the chapter and will later on.