What happens if your home does not sell within a few months and you take it off the market? If your property status is changed to a cancelled, expired or withdrawn listing, it may be viewed by real estate agents as their potential business, and you may begin to hear from them – a lot!
What is the difference between expired, cancelled and withdrawn listings?
Let us begin by discussing the difference between cancelled, expired, and withdrawn listings and how each impacts your vulnerability to being swamped with messages from real estate agents.
- A withdrawn listing means that the property is still listed for sale with a real estate agent or broker but is no longer listed on the multiple listing service (MLS). It’s still a valid listing and other agents should not approach you about working with them since you are still in a contract to sell your home with your current agent.
- An expired listing means that the contract for your listing has come to an end and the listing is no longer in place. Other agents may approach you since there is no valid listing in place.
- A cancelled listing is one in which the seller and agent or broker agree to terminate the listing. Since the listing has ended, other agents are free to contact you.
In a nutshell, if your Silicon Valley home’s listing becomes either cancelled or expired, real estate sales people may contact you, but if it is merely withdrawn, they are not supposed to reach out to you because you still have a valid listing in place.
My agent removed my phone number before changing the status, but agents still call. What gives?
If you and your agent terminate the listing on good terms, and perhaps even if that isn’t the case, he or she will likely do you the courtesy of removing your phone number to cut down on the barrage of phone calls you will get from agents “working the expireds“, as it’s called. This helps, but many salespeople routinely download listing information from our MLS so that they have the old info in case anything helpful to them is removed – such as your phone number. Unfortunately, if your number is ever listed, it’s likely that someone may have it and try to contact you later if your home does not sell.
It’s not just phone calls when your property goes off market
Many of the agents who are “working expired listings” won’t just phone you, but will mail you stuff or even drop by in person (dropping by is called a “pop by” in Realtor circles). It is unlikely that any of them will have your email address, though, so there’s a small silver lining!
How long does all of this last?
Usually the worst of it is the first week or two and then it begins to taper. Some sales people, though, only begin at 2 weeks because they want to miss the avalanche of activity (and your likely irritation at it). Of those late bloomers, some will literally mail you or phone you only once. Most realty professionals who regularly list previously expired listings and make that a significant portion of their business plan will attempt to reach you many, many times over a month or two, maybe longer.
Drip campaigns and off market homes
The agents who seriously focus on getting the expired or cancelled listing business will most likely try to connect with you by doing all three: phoning, mailing goods (or drop them off or have them delivered) and also stop by. Real estate trainers teach them that most prospects say “no” four or five times before they say “yes”, so for these highly determined business people, each no means that they should be closer to a yes.
At what point do they quit? Perhaps after 6 – 8 attempts over a 4 – 8 week time frame. They will have a marketing plan that includes drip mailing programs, calls and visits in the hopes that their persistence will indicate to you their overall professional determination. (“If he’s working this hard to list my house, he’ll probably work just as hard to sell it” is the message they hope to convey.)
How can I make the calls, mail and visits from all of these agents stop?
The clearest cut way to make them stop is to list your property for sale (either with your previous agent or a new one of your choosing). Agents absolutely cannot (should not) contact you if your home is listed for sale with another broker or agent. Along these lines, rather than have your listing expire or be cancelled, you can make the status “withdrawn” instead – leaving it listed but currently unavailable and not on the multiple listing.
Short of having it listed, you can simply let all calls roll to voice mail and delete them once you know it’s an agent calling; you can leave a message on your VM that you don’t want any agent contacts also. You can keep a log of everyone who contacts you, and how, and ask each one to not do it again. They are supposed to respect your wishes if you ask them to not call, drop by or mail you things. (You can not answer your door and leave a note up that you do not want to be contacted by any real estate sales people t0o.)
Most of the time, the agents who try to get ahold of you will be polite and well intended. They should not call before 8am or after 9pm.
Best of all, it’s temporary. They’ll stop trying within a few weeks in 99% of the cases.