Marketing Your Home Means There is Competition
Sellers, its important to realize that when you sell your home, there are probably several homes on the market that are in the same price range, in comparable neighborhoods, and with similar features. I’ll wager that unless your home is a one-of-a-kind, custom built, million dollar plus property, there are many similar homes that buyers will see. Sellers, you must consider the reality that your home is in competition. What do you do to stand out in your real estate market? What can you do to make sure that you don’t inadvertently sell buyers on your competition?
Price and Condition
When it comes to real estate sales, these two words, price and condition, have become a catch-phrase, along with “location, location, location”. Even with the best in visual marketing, the best hi-definition videos, when a buyer comes to tour your home in person, you want to make sure that they aren’t disappointed. Before you list your home for sale, make sure that the home’s condition is the best it can possibly be comparable to similar homes, and make sure it is priced well in the market…not overpriced.
Regular maintenance and upkeep go a long way in keeping your home in the proper condition. It can be costly to defer that maintenance to a later date. When you decide to sell your home, you either have to spend the necessary amount to address those issues, or take a loss in the sale of your home.
Staging Will Not Cover Up Real Issues
Staging a home when its on the market is a smart and often necessary step, and we often recommend it. As important as it is, however, it will never make up for real issues with the condition of a home. Buyers will often see through those issues when they first tour your home, and if they miss them, they will certainly be uncovered in the home inspection.
Three Pillars of Real Estate Sales – Price, Condition, and the Market
When your home is in the best condition for the market, then you can expect to get the most for the home. Pricing the home for the market includes many variables, and condition is one of them. There are also the facts about the current market you are in. Sadly, some sellers don’t want to hear and understand the facts, especially if they are not easy to hear. Here’s a story that illustrates very well these three points of condition, price and market realities:
In 2007 I had a seller who listed their home with me. According to all my research, the market value should have been $550,000. The seller had staged their home, spent thousands on a professional paint job…nevermind that the colors were red and gold, go Redskins!…and they insisted that staging their home increased it’s value. They insisted on $640,000.
There were several problems with this strategy:
1. The market had turned at the end of 2006. Prices were falling. We had documentation to that fact. In a declining market, the way to sell a home is to price the home right below the falling curve. Pricing the home above the market will only serve to sell buyers on your competition. Market conditions have everything to do with your pricing strategy.
2. There were several issues of deferred maintenance on the home. The jacuzzi tub was broken, the tile floors were cracked, the kitchen counters were painted laminate, the wood floors were scratched, and the carpet was original and looked like it. And that was just the surface.The hard water in the area left rust everywhere and the water purifier was 20 years old, not up to the task. The rust stains on the showers were unsightly. Roof issues, weeds, rotten wood…there were many. And the owners refused to address them. You can’t sell your home for top dollar if it’s not in top condition. You only end up selling buyers on your competition.
3. The sellers had the notion that because they were in a sought-after neighborhood, they would have no problem selling their home. After all, they had fallen in love with it, hadn’t they? You can never stand out from the competition by ignoring it.
The End of the Story
After 45 days of not selling the home, those sellers fired me. They hired another agent, and the home sat on the market for another year and a half, with several price drops, until it sold for much less than the original value I gave them. I don’t know it they ever addressed the deferred maintenance issues.
Again, I come back to the same point: Use your real estate agent as a trusted adviser. Realtors are in the market, day in and day out, 365-7, studying the trends, touring homes, and watching the market. We want for your best and highest. You can make the best use of our experience by asking questions and understanding the best strategies for your home and your market.
If you feel that you are not getting good advice from your agent, you may want to look for someone else. If you feel that you can’t trust your agent as a competent adviser, then you probably should look elsewhere.
Contact the Highland Group about our Comprehensive Seller’s Marketing Plan: 301-401-5119