I was just asked to write an article for a national magazine about why homes sit unsold on the market when they are priced fairly.
So in this week’s blog I thought I’d share 8 of my 22 strategies to help you sell faster (and for a higher price) when it’s time to move.
How can you reduce the time homes sit unsold?
Time is acid to the price of a home. In other words, when homes sit unsold, buyers presume they’re overpriced (even when they’re not). The same home will sell for less if it’s been on the market for months instead of days. This is a case where buyer perception becomes a seller’s lower price reality.
Here are 8 ways to increase the probability that your home will sell faster and at a higher price. I call them “probability increasers.” No one is magic, but cumulatively they can make a big difference. I will share the other 14 in an upcoming blog.
Display fewer photos
Realtors often use photos of every room and multiple shots of the yard in brochures and online listings. Consider this instead!
Use only the absolute best photos of a home, the ones most likely to make buyers call. The purpose of photos (and ad copy) is to peek buyer interest to generate a call and a showing, not try to sell your home. Your Realtor is a pro at showing homes, and displaying too many photos could give buyers reasons not to call; reasons your Realtor could overcome during a personal showing.
Time on the market is destructive to the price of a home. When homes sit unsold, buyers presume they are overpriced, even when they’re not. In the traditional home selling model, homes are typically marketed over many months. Consider this instead!
Ask your agent to allocate more of the marketing budget upfront, advertising your home heavily before it’s available to be shown. The goal is to quickly flush out virtually every buyer who might be a fit for the home. Building buyer anticipation and demand before anyone is allowed in the door is a great way to create a competitive, bidding war atmosphere, and sell your home quickly at a higher price.
Realtors often schedule home showings one at a time, with lots of time between. Consider this instead!
Ask your agent to try to schedule at least two showings at a time. When a buyer wants to see your home, your agent should call other Realtors, network in his/her office, put out open signs 30 minutes before, maybe even invite one or more of your neighbors (with your help) to see the home at that time. When buyers see other possible buyers, this creates social proof that your home is desirable and creates a competitive environment likely to generate higher offers for you.
Bottom line: I teach the agents in my firm that when you have one showing, work like crazy to generate at least one more at the same time.
Traditionally, Realtors begin showing homes as soon as they are listed. Consider this instead!
Apple computer is famous for generating lines in front of their stores when they launch a new iPhone. They did this by aggressively marketing the newest iPhone before it was available to buy. This also works selling homes!
When a home is first listed, I believe it should be marketed aggressively upfront, with the first showing date delayed perhaps 10-14 days away. This not only builds buyer anticipation and excitement, it enables Realtors to compress showings (see above). Forbes wrote about my 29 Day, 22-Step Home Launch process (see link below).
When prospective buyers arrive at the door, the traditional procedure is to immediately begin walking them through the home. Consider this instead!
It works better if your agent takes a minute to tell buyers a little about you (humanize the sellers). Studies show that buyers who see sellers as “real people” are less likely to make low offers. Also, your agent should mention that you are serious about selling (and why you’re moving), then comment that this is why you priced your home so aggressively (positioning your asking price as a bargain, exactly what buyers need to believe to get excited).
Your agent should mention that there are three amazing features about your home that he/she absolutely loved when they first walked through for the first time, and tell the buyers how excited they are to point those out as the buyers see the home. This makes buyers more excited to walk through your home.
Contrast price positioning
Traditionally, when Realtors take buyers through homes they don’t mention other homes for sale for fear of informing the buyers about another home they might like better. Consider this instead!
Buyers typically already know about other homes for sale in your price range. So your agent should consider using what I call, “contrast price positioning.” Right after your agent mentions your seller motivation and how aggressively you priced the home, he/she should talk for a moment about 2-3 other area listings that don’t compare to yours for the money. This is usually easy because so many sellers overprice their homes, enabling you to position your home as a great deal.
Advertise to Realtors
Over 80% of homes sell to buyers who are working with their own buyer agent, not your listing agent. Yet sometimes, listing agents allocate almost all of their marketing budget to finding unrepresented buyers. They may not spend a lot of money or time marketing their listed homes to other Realtors. Consider this instead!
Listing agents should consider aggressively marketing their homes to other agents who sell in the area, particularly those with listings similar to yours. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but creative and aggressive marketing to area agents to motivate them to show your home can often pay off better than advertising to find unrepresented buyers.
Talk the peripherals
When walking buyers through your home, listing agents typically point out and talk about your homes features. That’s excellent. Consider this also.
It’s smart to point out key features, but these more obvious benefits of your home should be supplemented with apparent features like upgraded insulation, (higher quality than normal for the price range) plumbing/lighting fixtures, roofing, tile, HVAC, etc.
Also, it is important to point out benefits of living on your street (like a dog walker or babysitter a few doors away) and benefits of living in the general community (proximity of a gym, Starbucks, shopping, etc.). I call this “talking the peripherals.”
Remember, buyers don’t just buy homes, they buy community attributes and lifestyle. It takes time for listing agents to learn about your neighborhood benefits (you should help your agent learn these things), but it’s one of those “probability increasers” that can pay off by selling your home faster, at a higher price. This benefits both you and your Realtor!
The cumulative effect
There is no one magical strategy for selling homes. But, the cumulative effect of these “probability increasers” really can result in a faster sale at a higher price, benefiting both you and your listing agent. Don’t let your home sit unsold!
In real estate, time and hope are not strategies. Selling technique matters.
By the way, if you are interested in how the real estate industry may soon be turned upside down, check out my blog “The End of Real Estate.” It’s about a class-action lawsuit that could decimate the MLS and change the way Realtors across America sell homes.
Read about my 22-Step Home Launch process, featured in Forbes magazine.