The Common Causes of Unsold Commercial Property Listings and How to Solve Them

Like it or not some commercial properties will not sell easily.  You could say that ‘everything sells at a price’ and whilst that is a generally true statement, there are usually some common good reasons for a lack of property sale or a slow sale.

What typically happens?

All too often you see a client list their property at ‘their price’ with one agent, only to find that enquiries are low and a sale doesn’t happen.

The weeks and the months pass by and eventually that first agent loses the listing and then in comes another agent from a different brokerage to take over the listing.  A few weeks later, the property sells.  So why is that?  Generally the following are factors in the change:

  • The second agent is better at marketing and promoting the property
  • The property was listed at a lower price
  • The client was more realistic with their price and or negotiation range
  • The marketing of the property was handled differently and more directly

Every agent should expect some degree of difficulty with their client when it comes to positioning the property and taking it to the market.  The best agents and top brokers will help their clients condition their thinking to the real market opportunities and property facts.

Put in the effort

It takes time to win a listing on an exclusive basis, and it takes even more time to move that listing to a positive result.  If you win an exclusive listing then you must work it.  Exclusivity demands a special level of effort from the agent and the broker.

Here are some of the most common causes of lack of sale momentum or conversion, and what you can do about them:

  1. Unrealistic client expectations – Some clients fail to accept the realities of the local property market. You can attempt to condition the client and if they fail to accept market realities then you can drop the listing (whilst explaining to the client why you are doing so).
  2. Lacks local market information – Some clients don’t get all the facts about the current market conditions, or fail to understand the indicators. You may have to apply some special effort here with your property market explanations.  Research all the local information in a comprehensive way.  Choose the right information to show the client.   Relevancy is the key to understanding and acceptance.
  3. Poor broker or agent – Some agents and or brokers are not much ‘chop’ when it comes to marketing and negotiating a listing sale. They may have won the listing on the back of some false indicator or offering such as a low commission or zero marketing $’s.
  4. Poor quality property presentation – If a property presents poorly, then it has to be fixed. If you want a buyer to get enthusiastic about a listing then get the client to spend time on property presentation before the listing is taken to the market.
  5. Lack of advertising spending – Every good quality property should be well promoted. The client should commit to providing some marketing dollars as part of the listing process.  Establish a good quality marketing campaign and have the client fund it.
  6. Low level focus on a target market – Know who you are promoting a property to and then design the marketing material accordingly. When you drill into a target market of buyers, you can send a real message on the property listing.
  7. No direct marketing – A good quality listing should be directly promoted into the targeted buyer groups. That means personal effort on the part of the agent.  Exclusivity should be part of that promotional focus.  Direct marketing doesn’t apply to open type listings.
  8. Open listing and not exclusive listing – Top agents generally won’t take on an open listing. Any client that offers their property on an open basis to many local agents is a problem client, and or the property is a problem property.  Do you really want to waste your time on such a marketing circumstance?

The common message here is that most of the reasons for a commercial property not selling are usually predictable and resolvable.  When you list a property, help the client see the best ways to go about the process and lead them through it in a professional way.  Don’t waste your time on a client that simply won’t listen.  Your time is too valuable to do otherwise.

You can get more commercial real estate marketing strategies and ideas in our eCourse ‘Snapshot’ right here.

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