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05/20 - Selling

From Languishing to Sold: Strategies for a Successful Home Sale in 2024:

Essential Strategies for Selling in an Unpredictable Market

Selling a property in today’s volatile market can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience. With fluctuating interest rates, economic uncertainties, and evolving buyer preferences, it’s no wonder many sellers find their properties languishing without offers. If you’re struggling to attract buyers, you’re not alone—and there are effective strategies you can employ to turn things around (hopefully)! This article presents tactical and practical approaches to revitalize your listing and help seal the deal, regardless of market conditions. From realistic pricing and revamped marketing efforts to maintaining listing “freshness” and addressing buyer feedback, these strategies are designed to boost your property’s appeal and increase its chances of selling. Jump in to discover how you can navigate the complexities of the current real estate market with confidence and success.

Realistic Pricing:

Pricing is the cornerstone of a successful property sale, especially in today’s unpredictable market. If your property isn’t attracting buyers, it’s time to reevaluate your price. Sellers and agents should honestly discuss the listing within the first two weeks. If there’s a lack of showings, low attendance at open houses, and no offers, pricing is likely the easiest and biggest issue to address.
Start by looking at recent listings to understand what’s working and who your competition is. Analyze properties listed in the past two weeks to see what’s attracting buyers. This analysis will provide a clear picture for your discussion with your agent. Consider whether you’re ready to cut the list price significantly. Small reductions, like $5,000, often aren’t enough to spur action. Instead, make a substantial reduction to grab buyers’ and agents’ attention.
Consider how buyers search and their price caps in your area and location. Price your property within these search parameters to increase visibility and interest. For instance, if buyers in your area typically search for properties under $1 million, pricing your home at $1.1 million might limit your audience. Adjust your price to fit within common search ranges to maximize your listing’s exposure.

Allow room for negotiation. If your property doesn’t sell quickly, you’ll likely negotiate with buyers looking for deals. A strategic price reduction can re-trigger MLS alerts, sending your listing to potential buyers searching within those parameters. This is also an opportunity for your listing agent to inform interested parties about the price change. Additionally, revamp your digital marketing assets to reflect the new price. Update the property description, photos, and any online advertisements to emphasize the new, lower price.

See the Tactics in Action – View Our Helfpul Video Podcast:

Understand that market conditions can change rapidly due to interest rate announcements, political agendas and global events. What seemed like a reasonable price two weeks ago might not be now. Be flexible and realistic about pricing. Record-breaking list price sales are unlikely in the current climate, so remember your “why” and be prepared to adjust your expectations. The market will dictate your property’s worth, and if you’re not getting traction, pricing is a major lever you can pull (and fast).

Strategy and timing are also critical when adjusting your price. Framing a price reduction as a “price improvement” sounds more appealing. Hitting the trigger on a Sunday night or Monday can make your listing appear fresh at the top of the week. Be mindful of these details, as they can significantly impact your success.

Lastly, remember that every change to your listing is recorded in the MLS history. Multiple small reductions can make your property appear stigmatized or self-sabotaged. Instead, make a substantial price cut in one go to avoid this issue. Taking a significant chunk off the price is more effective than several minor reductions, which can deter potential buyers.

Revamping Marketing Efforts:

When a property has been on the market for 30 or 40 days, it’s crucial to keep it feeling fresh. First impressions matter, so agents should check their listings every two to three days to maintain that fresh and new feeling! Listing agents should regularly refresh the property’s appearance, including removing tired flowers, watering plants and bringing along basic cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces, which can help maintain a polished look. Ensure the entryway is clean and free of old business cards and any other remnants that might give a sense of neglect. Pillows should be fluffed and positioned correctly, and toilet seats should be down (even details as small as toilet paper folded can contribute to a sense of care and attention).

A healthy stack of updated marketing brochures can significantly affect how the property is perceived. One major oversight is having outdated information, such as an old price, still listed on the MLS after a price improvement. This signals to potential buyers and their agents that there might be a lack of attention or care for the property. All these small details, whether consciously noticed or not, accumulate to form an overall impression. In a competitive market, it’s crucial not to give any potential buyer a reason to think the property isn’t worth their time.

Keeping the property fresh also means ensuring all side lamps are on during showings, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Drapery should be properly hung, and blinds should be adjusted to the right height to let in natural light or create the desired ambiance. Sellers should expect their agents to maintain these standards, as allowing a property to go stale can significantly detract from its appeal.

Buyers often make decisions based on emotional responses and justify them logically after the fact! Avoiding the impression of a stale, deserted property is essential to creating an emotional connection rather than a disconnection. Keeping everything in prime condition fosters a welcoming environment that encourages buyers to envision themselves in the space and motivates them to move forward with an offer.

Regular updates to your online listing can also keep it fresh. Change the order of photos, update the description, and even consider adding new photos if you’ve made any improvements to the property. This can help keep your listing at the top of search results and maintain interest.

Innovative Open Houses:

The open house is not the be-all and end-all for selling properties. Most qualified buyers will likely work with a buyer agent and arrange private showings during the week or weeknights. However, the open house still plays an important role in showcasing the property to the broadest audience possible. Open houses serve several strategic purposes. One key reason is that a buyer’s agent, who might be busy on the weekend, can’t make it for a private showing. Instead, they send their client to the open house.

Another scenario is a buyer who has already seen the property during a private showing but wants to revisit it on a Saturday or Sunday for a second look.

Traditionally, open houses are held on Saturday and Sunday between 2 PM and 4 PM. However, in a market like this, the seller’s agent should go above and beyond to drive traffic to the property. Consider extending the open house hours on Saturday and Sunday, perhaps from 2 PM to 5 PM, to capture those who couldn’t make it by four o’clock. They might pop in at 4:30. Another effective strategy is to hold an open house during the week. An evening open house on a Wednesday or Thursday from 5 PM to 7 PM can be particularly convenient for many families or young professionals after business hours.

Make these events enjoyable—offer wine, bubbly, charcuterie, and music to create a party-like atmosphere. This makes people feel welcome and helps them connect emotionally with the property. Providing information and a warm greeting enhances this experience. Innovative open houses can be beneficial for properties that are either expected to be super busy or those that might be sluggish regardless of price point, location, or asset class.

Additionally, open houses allow buyers to meet the listing agents themselves. Buyers feel more comfortable and confident about the property if the listing agent is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and friendly. This subconscious comfort can be a significant factor in moving forward with an offer. For those experiencing slow sales, exploring innovative open-house strategies is something to consider.
Casting the widest net in a challenging market is important. Sales is often described as a contact sport—the more people you connect with, the better.

Pivot (& Strategically):

If your property has been on the market for a month with no traction, it might be time to pivot. Terminating and relisting the listing with a new strategy can shake things up. For example, if your property was listed at $1.8 million and then reduced to $1.75 million with no interest, consider terminating the listing and relisting it at $1.39 million with an offer date (this lower price can attract new buyers and create urgency with an offer date).

Imagine you’ve been on the market for a month and have done everything right. The property is staged impeccably, the photography is top-notch, and there’s been a significant social media push with great Instagram Reels and long cinematic videos. You’ve held open houses on weekends and weekdays, but still, there’s no interest. Many sellers find themselves in this situation. It’s crucial to have thorough conversations with your agent and be prepared to make dramatic changes.

Another example of a strategic pivot is recognizing when the market is saturated. Suppose your property has been on the market for 45 days, and several similar properties are listed in your area. In that case, it might be time to terminate the listing and wait for a more robust market or a period with less competition. Let other properties sell and clear some inventory, then relist yours later, perhaps in the fall. Alternatively, consider temporarily renting the property and re-entering the market when conditions improve.

Another strategic pivot could involve altering the property’s features or presentation. If feedback consistently highlights certain drawbacks, consider changing to address these issues. Sometimes, a small renovation or update can significantly affect how the property is perceived! Ask us more about this (if you’ve read this far along in the article, BTW)!

Addressing The Feedback:

Lastly, feedback from buyers and their agents will be gathered to understand their experience. Be open-minded to this feedback and willing to make necessary adjustments. For instance, if you receive feedback about the carpet on the second floor being a drawback, consider replacing it with engineered hardwood. If the property needs painting, take it off the market for a few days, repaint it, and update the photos.

For example, a client had a large penthouse condo with three bedrooms. They removed the third bedroom wall to create a larger living space, but potential buyers preferred the original three-bedroom layout. The solution was to provide a diagram showing how easy it would be to reinstall the wall. This reassured buyers that converting it back to a three-bedroom was a simple and cost-effective process, which helped the property sell conditionally.

If a property has Kitec plumbing, which is often a deal-breaker for buyers, get quotes for its replacement and commit to replacing it before closing. Similarly, if there are rental items that buyers are hesitant about, commit to buying out those contracts before closing. Addressing these concerns upfront can make your property more appealing and reduce buyer hesitation.

Consider also addressing any negative feedback about the property’s surroundings or neighbourhood. If noise or traffic is an issue, invest in soundproof windows or additional landscaping to create a more private and quiet environment. If parking is a concern, highlight nearby parking options or explore the possibility of arranging additional parking spaces.

The main point is to be proactive in addressing feedback. If required, take the property off the market to make necessary improvements, re-photograph it, and relaunch it. Work with your agent to assess the costs, time required, and potential return on investment for these changes. It’s essential to solve problems for buyers upfront and provide all necessary information in advance. Proactively addressing potential issues before they arise shows buyers you are committed to providing quality property. This level of care can make a significant difference in a buyer’s decision-making process!


Navigating the complexities of selling a property in today’s volatile market requires a strategic and flexible approach. As we’ve explored in this article, realistic pricing, revamped marketing efforts, maintaining listing freshness, and addressing feedback are all critical components to enhance your property’s appeal and attract potential buyers. By implementing these strategies, you can overcome the challenges of a fluctuating market and increase the likelihood of a successful sale. Embrace the need for continuous evaluation and adjustment, leveraging buyer feedback and market trends to refine your approach. Selling a property is not just about listing it; it’s about presenting it in the best possible light and making it irresistible to potential buyers.

Stay proactive, stay informed, and remain open-minded when pivoting! With the right mindset and tactics, you can turn the challenges of today’s real estate market into opportunities—we have your back!

Contact Fox Marin, Toronto’s downtown luxury real estate brokerage, today to learn more about the advantages of hiring a quality team!

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Kori Marin is a Toronto Broker & Managing Partner at Fox Marin Associates. For high-energy real estate aficionado Kori Marin, a well-lived life is achieved by maintaining an “all-in” attitude that realizes every last ounce of one’s full potential. This mindset has driven successful results in every aspect of her life – from her corporate sales and account management experience to her international travels to her years of fitness training and leadership – and is the hallmark of the exceptional work that she does on behalf of her clients in the residential real estate sector in downtown Toronto.