It is so important to a Seller’s bottom line that they think like a Buyer when putting their home on the market. Ace it … Without a Buyer you still own the house! Setting up a successful plan to get top dollar for their home, they must first think like a Buyer. What drives a Buyer to see a home, make an offer on that home and more importantly make a high offer in fear of losing the opportunity to purchase that home?
I want you to look at preparation, pricing, presentation, and negotiations. These are the four things you and your agent can control. If done right, they are also what will bring you the highest price. Let’s start by looking at buyer tendencies.
Face it, most buyers would like the perfect home, in the perfect place with no needed work or upgrades for a price that is less than they feel it’s worth. That said, there is no perfect home and the perfect place is arguable as well. Almost every home is going to need some work or upgrades to personalize it. So where does this leave us?
The best a Seller can do is to make their home “perfect” for the home that it is in the place it sits. We can’t move it to a different location, and we can’t morph the home to fit the exact needs of each individual buyer. But, in preparation, we can take steps to make your home feel “perfect”! How do we do that?
Preparation starts with a walk through of the home with your real estate agent. Not just any agent. Your agent must have the experience and confidence to be upfront and candid with you. For the sake of this blog and ease in writing, I will take on the role of the Listing Agent.
I will point out any visible issues that will affect the price and salability of the home, then share possible solutions. This may be painting, flooring, kitchen and bath upgrades and the like. It could also be that the home rocks and I simply point out a little clutter and clean-up.
Next, I bring in a structural inspector to find any material, mechanical or structural defects. They will make a list and explain the impact of any items they find.
Finally, my stager will come in to assess how we can make the home more emotionally accessible to the buyer. She will point out things that should be done before we take photos and how proper staging affects the Buyer’s decision to offer on the home.
Together, the Seller and I will look at the items pointed out by the inspector, stager, myself and the Seller themselves to make a “Punch List” of items to be addressed. Then the Seller and their contractors will take care of these items before we list the home. Now that the home is clean, clutter free, in full repair, and beautifully staged, it’s time to look at the price.
Pricing your home “For Sale” is the next step. Your price comes from more than just looking at comparable properties. We will look at how the current market trends affect the price and salability of your home. This takes experience. You will certainly benefit from the agent’s expertise to confidently make adjustments in the values of the comparable properties.
Next, we will review the current inventory of available properties and discuss any strategical positioning for the home that might generate a higher price.
Again, it’s important to have a strong experienced agent. They will do all they can to keep you from making a pricing mistake. Overpricing a home will reduce the number of Buyer visits to the home and potentially bring a low offer or no offers delivered at all. Pricing the home too high will also, in most cases, keep the property on the market longer which has its own set of negative consequences.
Buyers see the market, through filtered Buyer’s eyes. To them, your home is worth what it’s worth based on the other homes they have seen and their expectations. Remember, you will generate the highest price for your home if we can produce the closest thing to the “perfect house” at the “perfect price” for the Buyer. That is best achieved through the agent guidance for proper preparation, careful pricing and mindful presentation.
Presentation is set-up in 2 parts. Online and on-site. Since 92% of Buyers start their search online, we must have an eye-catching online presence. First, what does a Buyer see online that encourages them to visit a home? The things we have control over online are the quality pictures of a beautifully staged home, the descriptive words used to create a positive feeling for the home and the area, and any meaningful effective online tools.
I have a photographer that I completely trust to deliver top quality HD photos. Also, I’ve been doing this long enough to know just what words will draw a Buyer in. The front elevation picture of the home must be dramatic and enticing. From there, the Buyer will read the carefully crafted comments about the home and see the special features of the home in the additional HD photographs. Only if they like what they have seen to this point, will the Buyers go further read the additional information I include to entice them to bring a good offer. If they like it, the Buyer will usually go to the next step, Google!
They will start searching the web. There is so much information on the web which is completely out of our control and at the Buyer’s fingertips that may be used in their decision. This is why I need to know all about your home and the area. Just a few places they may go are; Google earth, city website, community website, county tax records, city planning and permitting, crime maps, and, oh yea, just google the address to see what they find. Any one of these could solidify their interest or detour the Buyer from visiting. It’s for that reason, our use of the internet and the reasons that the Buyer must see your home has to provide a stronger presence than anything else they see.
On-Site presentation is so important once the Buyer gets to the home. They will see a clean, orderly and beautiful front yard. Perfect for this home and no initial landscaping for them to do. Once inside, they will see a beautifully maintained and staged inviting home that purposely causes the Buyer to visualize themselves and their furniture in your home. This is an art and our stager is magic.
Now, we make it easy for the Buyer and their agent to experience your home. We will guide them through the property with handsome feature signs. Pointing out the benefit and advantage of the special features. They will see the completed ”punch-list” from the inspection and any contractor receipts to show the Buyer that the Seller wanted to be sure that they passed on a “perfect home” and that there isn’t any additional work needed to be done on the home.
We will also demonstrate to the Buyer any information such as bus lines, distance to the Seller’s favorite parks, shopping and services. Our intention is to answer any questions or doubts the Buyer may have about the property. Presentation is all about giving the Buyer the feeling that they really don’t want to lose the opportunity to call this home. Offers usually come in quicker and for more money.
The Seller’s negotiation strategies start with our first meeting. We discuss the benefits and advantages of Preparation, pricing and presentation, how they affect negotiations andtheir effect on your bottom line. We also predict potential Buyer behavior if you complete or choose not to do what is needed to generate top dollar. On the same token, we discuss how we start negotiating with the Buyer the first time they see your home online. When you hire a strong experienced agent to get your home SOLD, follow their lead. You can bet, that the agent’s advice will more than earn their commission. It’s their knowledge, experience and confident negotiating skills that generates the higher price.
So, in conclusion, to generate the absolute highest price for your home in the shortest time … Hire and trust a strong experienced agent with a confident presence and a marketing plan focused on Preparation, Pricing, Presentation, and Negotiations.
About the Author: Tom Perry has assisted Sellers with direct, comprehensive and effective marketing ideas and systems, that generate top dollar. He keeps his systems current by surveying Buyers and Sellers and searching the internet for the best technologies and strategies. Tom has taught and mentored agents with Top Dollar Strategy for more than 20 years. Check out his website, REX2020.com, for more ideas and real estate information.