Seattle Residential: I Do That: Expired? Cancelled? Off Market? What's a Seller To Do?

Expired? Cancelled? Off Market? What's a Seller To Do?

Expired homeExpired? Cancelled? Off Market? What's a Seller To Do? You are not alone. Many homes in Seattle and elsewhere have languished on the market for months. In other words: Unsold. No action for weeks. You're the seller. The sign post in your yard has been leaning toward the street for so long you can tell it's trying to run away. What do you do? Blame your agent? Blame the market? Blame the banks and their lousy short sales and foreclosures? Let me help you here. There are only three reasons your home didn't sell. And you the seller are directly responsible for two of them and partially responsible for the third.

Here are the three reasons your house didn't sell:

  1. Preparation
  2. Price
  3. Marketing

PREPARATION: The advice on how to prepare a home for sale is unlimited and it's free. Most sellers know well in advance of their own moving plans and have ample time to prepare. Sometimes sellers may not have the money to do major repairs, but a clean and tidy home, inside and out, is the first step in assuring that your home will sell. All you have to do is look and/or ask a professional.

PRICE: You know how hard you shop for bargains. Home buyers are out there scouring the listings for that special value. If you've been expecting that rare buyer with more money than brains is going to show up and fall so soundly in love with your house that they will pay way over market, you need to think again. That happens when the market has been trending up for years and even homes that seem to be over-priced get more than one offer. Select an agent and go with him to look at the competition before you decide on a price.

MARKETING: Some properties slip through the cracks. Not many, but a few do. Often properties marketed by owners are finally listed by agents but already have long market times. This is a turn off to buyers. Everyone wants to get something that's new on market, or they want a deep discount. Marketing can't cure all ills, but if your agent doesn't have a strong Internet presence, doesn't use high quality photography, doesn't advertise your listing online with more than just the simple MLS broadcasting, doesn't have a social media plan to expose your property on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craig's List, Active Rain,,, and others, you aren't getting full exposure. There is such a diverse array of Internet sites these days, all vying to be "the only one" that no buyer is able to check them all.

As a seller, it is up to you to properly prepare and price you home. Don't kid yourself into thinking that those things are not that important. And it is up to you to interview agents and find one that will thoroughly work all avenues of listing exposure to assure that the right buyer will see your home soon after it hits the market.

Homes are selling in Seattle and all over the country. But not all homes. Too many end up expired, cancelled, or just off market.





Glenn Roberts



Comment balloon 30 commentsGlenn Roberts • May 22 2011 11:07AM


Great post, I am going to bookmark it and study your points to add to my seller's presentation.

Thanks and have a good day.

Posted by Virginia Dean, Real Estate Done Your Way (Keller Williams Tulare County) over 9 years ago

Glenn, I've been thinking a lot about these subjects since recommitting to the pursuit of expired listings recently. I have made a promise to myself though, I will not take an over priced listing .

Great post!

Posted by Charles Edwards Bentonville, AR REALTOR, Bentonville Real Estate Agent and Broker (Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette 479-253-3796 ) over 9 years ago

Why properties don't sell and being able to tell the owner this is the value, not just want they want to hear helps you get to more real estate closings to sit at one of the high back leather fancy chairs.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 9 years ago

Virginia - New sellers and relists need good counseling.

Charles - Over-priced listings are anchors.

Andrew - I want a leather chair with wheels. Can I get one?

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Good reminder to sellers.  In our town, it seems everyone wants to sell high and then buy low.  It doesn't work that way...

Posted by Cara Marcelle Mancuso, Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) over 9 years ago

Glenn, preparation is so important! One thing I tell my clients is that if they aren't ready on the day we've agreed to go live with the listing, we will postpone for a week. Yes, it's that important!

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) over 9 years ago

Cara - If only dreams came true.

Maria - People that come the first week have been waiting to be wowed. If the house isn't ready, they won't be. Postponing is the right move.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Excellent advice here on today's market conditions.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 9 years ago

Lyn, Thanks. New listings priced right are selling well. A few older listings are taking deep discounts to get the job done.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago


I'm glad to see you didn't include that tired old saying in this industry...location, location, location. Excellent and timely points.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Rich - Neither the seller nor the agent can change the location.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn, smart post.  The preparation is key.  Let's get it ready to sell at the correct price point, and I will market it like mad.  Then, let's not dilly-dally with the offers.  Let the games begin, if you don't like the first offer, let's negotiate.  Sometimes, it will only go downhill from there.

Posted by Suzanne McLaughlin, Sabinske & Associates, Realtor (Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael)) over 9 years ago

Suzanne - That first offer may not look good on day one but let's work through it just to be sure. It is often the best one a seller will see.

David - It's all yours, Dave. Run with it.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

You hit the nail on the head Glenn.........great post.  I agree with David too, that's a wonderful line!

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 9 years ago

Good advice for Sellers.  They need to do their part and getting their property in tip-top condition is one of those.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 9 years ago

Roger - It's a team sport. If everyone puts their best foot forward, success will be theirs.

Paula - Tip top is what buyers want these days, more than ever.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn, We work Expireds in our area, and you've nailed the common sources of why a home didn't sell!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 over 9 years ago

Bliz - I've not seen any homes in 26 years that were unsalable. Some may be land value only, but there is an app for that.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Oh so true Glenn.  I like your point that the Seller is responsible to a large degree on all three points.  Glad to have you back.  I hope you had a great vacation. 

Posted by Mitch Gover ( over 9 years ago

Mitch - Everyone made a choice to hire the first agent and should be proactive in verifying information. Blue sky doesn't sell well in this market.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Awesome post with excellent advice for sellers to read - and heed!  It's always interesting to me that when you look at the average list prices of the expired listings, they tend to run higher than either the active or sold comparable properties - hmmmm guess price does matter!!

Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA over 9 years ago

Nancy - Price has to match the location and the condition, else everything fails.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Wise words Glenn, we had to give it a suggest! Now, to get the people to listen and follow!

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Al and Peggy - I think sellers are coming around. Some slower than others.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Glenn we speak the same language.  It's a combination of factors involved and you've targeted the top three and the importance of each.  Good deal Glenn.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Charita - Honest assessments are what sellers need to hear from agents.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

Too many time the sellers don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t meet their own ideas.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 9 years ago

Hi Glenn I agree- especially have the house professionally staged and keeping it ready to sell

Posted by Tim Peterson, Realtor Safety Training Classes (Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes) over 9 years ago



I'm "suggesting" this post, and subscribing to your blog. Thanks for your positive contributions.


Jim - Thank you for the reblog.

Tim - Often the sellers sense of what buyers want is way to limited.

janeAnne - Thank you. I've reciprocated, with pleasure.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago