Dear Zuess:

I have a listing on the market that just won’t sell and the owners are driving me crazy with daily phone calls, emails, and requests for more marketing.  It’s been on the market for 4 weeks.  The average days on market in my area is over 120 and I keep telling them that it will take time to sell, but they just aren’t hearing me.  Can you help?


Dear Josh,

Sounds like a bit of a pressure cooker – for them and for you!  My guess is that there is a misalignment of expectations between you and your sellers. They expect it to sell faster than you do, they expect you to do more marketing than you are doing and they want to be in constant contact with you.  When our expectations are not met, trust is eroded, and damage is done to the relationship.

I would recommend that you set an appointment to sit with them and discuss their expectations and which of those expectations are you prepared to deliver to them.   This is a negotiation and if it’s not collaborative and working towards a win/win outcome, it won’t be successful.  For it to be successful you need to be willing to walk away – that’s your BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement).   This takes courage and clarity on your part but these are critical elements to being excellent at real estate, or anything else for that matter.House falling

You mention that the “average days on market” is 120.  In my experience, when we share this information with our sellers without going deeper, we implant in their minds that they will get their price if they are willing to wait 120 days.  This is not normally the case and it is our job to do the research and present accurate information to our sellers.  In most cases, the price has been reduced over that 120 day period and the property sells when the price is finally at or near market value.   If they had agreed to price it right at the beginning of the listing period, it may have sold in a much shorter period of time.

The most common reason, by far, for properties not selling is that they are overpriced and I’d bet my favourite pair of wool socks that this is really the root of your situation.  We need to learn to have impactful conversations about price and we can’t do that if we’ve damaged the relationship through misaligned expectations.   Getting good at deliberate conversations that influence and persuade is critical to your sales success.  Take a look at Unscripted Sales–it may be just what you need !

Take care.


Columnist for the Nature of Real Estate

Dear Zuess is a column dedicated to offering advice to real estate agents, who want to get the most out of their client relationships and clarify expectations. Do you have any real estate binds you’ve been in lately? Drop Zuess a line at