Churning a listing. Resetting the clock. NEW listing. Really? Churning the listing occurs when a seller takes their home off the market for a few days or weeks and then re-introduces the home as new to the market. Churning a listing is as old as the real estate sales profession. At one time I suppose it was easier to convince a buyer that the home was actually NEW to the market. That was before the age of the Internet and the eternity of web pages. The WEB never forgets when a home first came on the market.
The first question buyers will ask an agent is "how long has that one been on the market?" Buyers make incorrect assumptions about homes that have been for sale for a long time (some in Williamstown for a long as five years or more). The first assumption is that the seller will be willing to entertain any offer out of a desperate need to unload the property. This assumption is more often wrong than right.
When the buyer discovers that the NEW listing has actually been on the market for 5 years the next question is "if they are trying hide the number of days on the market what else are they trying to hide?" Full time agents and serious buyers (with lots of time to browse the NET) know full well how long a house has been for sale. Nobody is being fooled and the agent who "churns a listing" over and over may begin to be perceived as less than honest.
Agents defend "churning a listing" by stating they are honoring their fiduciary duty to the client. However, Article 1 of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics makes it clear that the obligation to the client is primary but where exactly does "resetting the odometer" fall on the ethical spectrum.
Smoke and mirror tactics cannot conceal the fact that most likely the "churned listing" is overpriced. We recommend sharing these three tips with the seller:
1. stage the home so it looks more attractive
2. price it right and sell it
3. move on with your life
Lets face it churning a listing is an attempt to manipulate the facts in an untruthful way. Real Estate Agents would always function with fiduciary responsibility to their clients as a priority in a perfect world. We all live in reality and reality is that wrong facts are worse than no facts at all.