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Why a Stale Listing is Better Than a New Listing

Submitted onJuly 28, 2009 One Comment, join the conversation

Stale listing theory

There’s a widely accepted theory in the industry that it’s often better to be the second or even third broker to have a listing.  The reasoning is that generally (and naturally) sellers will initially have a higher value for their boat then what prospective buyers might making it more difficult to sell the boat.  Most brokers will provide the seller with a suggested asking price, but will likely allow the seller to take the lead at the beginning.  He’ll nod and smile so he can secure the listing hoping that as time passes he can revisit the price issue and actually get the boat sold.  This works ok if the seller is emotionally unattached to the boat, has respect for the broker’s insight and/or is forced to listen once the listing goes live and the phones do not ring.

The theory is that after months of little or no activity the seller will become frustrated with the initial listing agent (we’ll call him A1).  A1, not the boat or the price, will be blamed for the lack of sales progress.  Often the seller may not even bring this up with A1 thinking that A1 will just make up excuses.  Surely this amazing yacht is simply not being presented or marketed properly.  The obvious step is to find a more aggressive agent to sell this yacht.  A2 enters the picture finding a seller that is frustrated, disheartened and likely disillusioned with his current agent.  A2 seizes the opportunity to present a more compelling selling strategy that will revive this stale listing by promoting the boat to a new audience through more aggressive marketing mediums.  A2 uses a variety of tools to make the seller aware that the price is biggest deterrent and they both agree to lower it in conjunction with this new sales strategy.  A2 quickly sells the boat and looks like a hero.  Sadly both A1  and the seller will have wasted energy, time and money in lost opportunities.  Prospective buyers will have moved on to purchase something else or will now offer even less.  Then there’s the hard costs absorbed by both sides: maintenance, dockage, insurance, mortgage, advertising fees, travel expenses, signs, etc…


There are many things that can alter this theory, but it usually comes down to why the boat is being sold.  That “why” will determine the “how soon” it must go which in turn defines the sales strategy.  If you’re the seller and you’re not honest with yourself and the broker then you are very likely going to feed the validity of this theory.  As the agent it is your job to get the answers to those two very important questions.  Lack of doing so is a failure to yourself and your client.  Hiding the truth or fearing to ask the obvious, but tough questions are the top reasons why boats stay on the market forever until A2 or A3 enter the picture to save the day.  Save yourselves months (or years) of despair and wasted opportunities by thoroughly discussing those points in your initial meeting.  If you’re the seller and are concerned about the lack of activity do some quick research before calling your agent.  Check the multiple listing sites to see how your pricing and listing appearance compares, read what the forums are saying about your type of boat, etc…then call your broker.  With the right information you’ll be able to properly gauge his response and decide whether to revise your strategy with him or move onto a new agent.  It’s not a definitive prevention, but at least you won’t be playing into the theory.

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One Comment »

  • YHD says:

    This was a bit general- I know. Clearly there are many reasons then price why a listing can become stale. Boat condition, market saturation, location/accessibility, etc… We’ll write about those in a separate post soon. In the meantime we’d love to see your comments.

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