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Top Producer and Team Lead Kim V. Colaprete

How Do You Sell a Home in a Down Market? List Like a Diva!

How Do You Sell a Home in a Down Market? List Like a Diva!

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My team and I were able to sell our listings in a down market while other brokers were not. How did we do it? In this blog, I am spilling all my secrets about how we are making magic happen for our sellers, even in a down market, and why other listing brokers are struggling.

Here is the most important advice I give to my team members. Set your sellers up for success up front. I set my sellers up for success by having honest conversations about the market from the very beginning. Have a blunt conversation about price regardless of how bitter a pill it may be. Pricing a home accurately based on the most current market data is absolutely crucial. Next, let your sellers know this is NOT the time to skimp on presentation or marketing. I always make sure all our listings are properly prepared. Every aspect of what the buyer sees needs to sparkle. And you know us, Team Diva always goes the extra mile (or ten) when it comes to marketing. Our adaptation of innovative marketing processes made a huge difference these last few months. While other agents are pulling back on spending during down markets, Team Diva leans in. 

Kim’s Tips On How To Sell Listings in a Down Market

  • First Tip: Use Lessons Learned from the Great Recession to Sell Listings in a Down Market
  • Second Tip: Over Communicate With Your Sellers Especially in a Down Market
  • Third Tip: Prepping The Home to Sell is A Crucial Step
  • Fourth Tip: Spend MORE Money Marketing A Listing in a Recession Than in a Hot Market
  • Fifth Tip: Know How to Really Respond When A Seller Asks “Why Isn’t My Home Selling?”
  • Bonus Tip: Be Honest With Your Sellers About Whether They Should Sell Now

Tell Me More About Team Diva’s Sold/Pending Listings in Fall 2022

In the midst of rising interest rates and deep concerns over inflation the Seattle housing market generally came to a pause. Roy was just quoted in the Seattle Times talking about buyer sentiment. And it perfectly articulates the general malaise amongst Seattle homebuyers right now.

“The confidence to make that jump [to buy a house] has diminished drastically,” said Seattle Coldwell Banker Bain agent Roy Powell. “Part of that is interest rates. Part of that is employment. And part of that is not wanting to overspend.”

Meanwhile, Team Diva sold the following homes in the Fall of 2022 in a market most in the industry would consider rough:

Let’s dive in and see why we sold our homes or Diva Dwellings as we like to call them while others stayed on the market.


How Did My Team Sell Their Listings in a Down Market and Buck the Trend This Fall?

I’m Kim Colaprete with Team Diva Real Estate with Coldwell Banker Bain. I’ve been a real estate agent for over 23 years. I have really seen it all in that time, including the Great Recession. And, we are in another down market right now. Yet Team Diva continues to successfully sell our listings, while others sit on the market. How are we doing it? Ok, I will spill our secrets!

Tip #1: Use the Lessons from the Great Recession to Sell Listings in a Down Market

One of the most important things I learned from the Great Recession is that increased seller communication is absolutely crucial. When you’re working in a down market, you have to have hardcore, realistic conversations with your sellers upfront. Even if it hurts or feels awkward. It will feel a lot more awkward when their house doesn’t sell.

The Great Recession also taught me that you need to make a game plan for after you list your home. If it’s doesn’t sell in the first month, what is the new list price?

– Kim V. Colaprete

You’ve also gotta do a market analysis right away. AND you need to do another one right before you list a home. In a recession market, the market is shifting downward. But you don’t know how fast it’s shifting!

For example, if you’re doing a market analysis on a home in September, but you don’t list the house until October, you are going to need to re-evaluate where the numbers are in October. Otherwise, your list price could be off by quite a bit. This will have a huge impact on whether or not the home sells, and how fast it sells. 

What the Great Recession Taught Me

The Great Recession also taught me that you need to make a game plan for after you list your home. If it doesn’t sell in the first month, what is the new list price? And if it doesn’t sell in 2 months, how much do we reduce the price again? What is the price you’re ultimately ok with selling your home for? 

We also have to be extra positive. Trust the data. If we’re looking at market data and it says your house is going to sell in 45 days and we’re just in the first week, then we will stay positive. If we’re off track from what the data says, then we need to re-evaluate and get back on that. There’s no need to feed the stress and anxiety of selling a home. 

Tip #2: Over Communicate With Your Sellers Especially in a Down Market

Again, communication. Other agents can really struggle with honest communication with their sellers. Now, it’s not that other agents are being purposefully deceitful. But when a lot of agents walk into a potential listing, they want to say what it takes to get the listing. 

It’s just so, so important to be realistic upfront: “Look, I’m the best agent to sell your home and I’m also going to be honest with you. Another broker might say your home is going to sell for $1.7 million, and it might sit on the market for months. But I know the data says this home should be listed for $1.6 million. I know I will be able to sell it.” 

Tip #3: Prep Your Home to Sell Before You List It On the Market

Some agents also struggle to convey to their sellers how critical it is to properly prep your home before listing day. Sellers might be tight on money, and during recessions, it’s easy for sellers to be more restrictive on how they prep their home. But even if they are tight on funds, you must impart to them how vital it is that your listing looks as fabulous as possible. What money DO you have and how can we put it to good use? I cannot stress this enough: You must properly prepare your listing in a market with more selling competition and fewer buyers. 

Tip #4: Listing Brokers Need to Spend MORE Money Marketing Homes in a Recession Than in a Hot Market

Many agents want to cut corners to save money. They pull back on the marketing. They might cut back on making video tours, 3D tours, social media, brokers’ opens, etc… But in a down market, this is the time when you need to do the exact opposite. You need to go harder on your marketing. 

Story Time: Hannah wanted to organize a group brokers tour for all of the condos on the market in Queen Anne that was close to her condo. And NOT ONE SINGLE broker agreed to do the opens with her. Guess what? Hannah’s condo is under contract while the others are still on the market.

Tip #5: Know How to Really Respond When A Seller Asks “Why Isn’t My Home Selling?”

I make as hardcore an effort as possible to never price a house higher than I think it should be, based on the data available. However, if there’s not enough data, then we have 2-3 weeks to realize we’ve overpriced the home. And we’ll talk about what that price drop might be. Now, if I am your agent, then we’ve already had upfront conversations about what to do here. For example, if I tell my sellers that their home will take 45 days to sell based on current market conditions, and it’s only week 1… then we have to sit tight! 

Now, what to do if you are not my Diva Dweller client and your home is not selling? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your home look as perfect as it needs to look? Does your home look better or at least equal to everything in the market that is “sold” or “pending”? 
  • Is your agent doing everything possible, beyond the basics, to get your home sold? Are they following up with everyone who looked at the house? Are they scheduling brokers’ open houses and open houses? Are they talking to other agents to see how their houses are selling? What type of feedback are they getting in the market? Is your listing an anomaly, or is everyone else in the same boat? 
  • Did your agent cut corners on the marketing? Are the photos of your home not great? Is there a video tour and a 3D tour of your home? Is your agent promoting your home on various channels, like social media? Is your agent using all of the tools at their disposal to market your home? You need diverse avenues of marketing. 
  • Did you push your agent to price your home higher than they told you to? Sure your neighbor’s house sold for $1.1 million but that was three rate hikes ago. Your home is now more expensive to buy for the average buyer.

Check out our blog “Why Isn’t My Home Selling?” for more specific details about why a home might not be selling.

At The End of the Day, The Seller Chooses the Price for the Home

There is another reason why your home might not be selling. It could be because we had a conversation about where to price your home, but you wanted to list it for higher. If I tell you that your home should be listed at $1 million and you want to price it at $1.1 million, I might say, ok… that’s way too high based on the data. Let’s compromise and list it for $1,050,000. I’ll stay we’ll give it a chance on the market at this price. However, if we don’t have enough showings in 2-3 weeks (or any showings at all) then we need to move quickly and reduce the price. Or, if we do have showings and potential buyers are loving the house but not making offers, this is another sign we need to drop the price. Now, price drops need to be hardcore drops. It needs to be significant. Look at dropping the price by at least 5%. And in my experience, I can tell you that we end up chasing the market down and selling closer to $950,000 instead of $1 million.

Bonus Tip: Be Honest With Sellers if They Should Sell Now or Wait Until Later

Many listing agents just want to get a listing to show that they are producing. But not every listing will sell. And not every seller should be selling in this market. You really have to find out what is the deeper motivation for wanting to sell your home right now.

Ask yourself and ask your sellers: “What are the reasons why you would wait to sell your home? And WHY are you selling your home?” What is your specific reason for selling?

If the time is right for you—whether you are moving up, moving out, or downsizing—and you are buying in a recession or slower market, then you’re going to be doing great on the buying side. Maybe you’re selling for $50k or $100k less than a year ago, but your next home will cost less, too. 

I would never say it’s not a good time to buy or sell a home without knowing what your unique situation is. Buying and selling depend less on what the market is doing, and more on your personal decisions. I believe that you should never let the market determine your personal decisions. 

Should you rent instead of selling your home right now?

Now, maybe you decide to rent your home because it’s not a good time to sell. Well, one scenario to consider is that after renting your home for a year or however long, your renters might be hard on your home. As a result, you might have to spend $50k to fix it when you could have sold for $50k less a year ago. That’s just one thing to consider. 

When I meet with my seller clients, we start by talking through the whole situation. I give you an idea of what your house could sell for. We look to see what you’d want to buy next. And then we’ll evaluate what advantages you have at the moment. 


How Did Team Diva Sell Listings in a Down Market While Others Did Not? Now You Know Exactly How! 

How did Team Diva sell their listings in a down market while others did not? It all starts with honest communication with my sellers. We have an honest conversation about what the market is doing. I set expectations and we strategize ahead of time. My listings are priced correctly, and they are properly prepared. While other agents pull back on spending during down markets, Team Diva leans in even more. 

Kim’s Tips On How To Sell Listings in a Down Market

  • First Tip: Use the Lessons from the Great Recession to Sell Listings in a Down Market
  • Second Tip: Over Communicate With Your Sellers Especially in a Down Market
  • Third Tip: Prep Your Home to Sell Before You List It On the Market
  • Fourth Tip: Listing Brokers Need to Spend MORE Money Marketing Homes in a Recession Than in a Hot Market
  • Fifth Tip: Know How to Really Respond When A Seller Asks “Why Isn’t My Home Selling?”
  • Bonus Tip: Be Honest With Sellers if They Should Sell Now or Wait Until Later

We are here to help. Our team understands that this process can take a year or two. And we are more than willing to give you a personalized plan to get the ball rolling. Feel free to contact us directly at thediva@teamedivarealestate.com or call/text 206-271-0264.

Kim Colaprete

Kim Colaprete

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